Can You Use Retinol Indefinitely?
Posted by Ellie Swain on Sep 17th 2022
Retinol is a trending beauty ingredient, and there’s a good reason. It can help with everything from acne to wrinkles to fine lines. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that exfoliates the complexion for smoother skin and triggers your skin to produce more collagen.
Doctors can prescribe retinoic acid, the prescription version of retinol. But over-the-counter retinol can be just as effective, especially if you’re just starting out.
The bad news is that incorporating retinol into your skincare routine can be challenging, especially when you first start using the ingredient. Even over-the-counter retinol can cause redness, peeling, and acne, especially during the first few weeks of use. This is known as ‘purging’ or the ‘retinol uglies’.
Once this phase is over, users can expect smooth sailing from then on, with acne clearing up and fine lines and wrinkles softening.
Sounds quite intense, huh? That brings us to the next question many people have – is it safe to use retinol indefinitely? Keep reading to find out.
Getting Started with Retinol
Once you’ve got your retinol product, apply a pea-sized amount to your face once or twice a week. This sporadic use allows the skin to adjust to the strong ingredient.
Only apply retinol at night, as sunlight will degrade the ingredient and reduce its effects. Plus, retinol makes your skin a lot more sensitive, and we all know how damaging the sun’s rays can be.
Plus, we sweat and touch our skin less when we snooze, so nighttime use allows the retinol to work on your skin uninterrupted.
Over time, your skin will be able to tolerate formulas with a higher amount of retinol. But until then, there are some methods to look after your skin as it gets used to retinol.
Firstly, always use plenty of sunscreen to look after your sensitive skin in the sun. You should also keep your skin moisturized to help offset any redness or peeling.
Can Retinol Cause Skin Thinning?
Some people worry that retinol can cause skin thinning with consistent use.
Retinol exfoliates and removes dead skin cells, causing the basal layer of the skin to create newer and more healthy cells.
But if your skin is peeling, irritated, or excessively dry, even after the initial purging phase of retinol, this may suggest skin thinning from the ingredient. Skin thinning will age your skin and accentuate wrinkles – which is certainly not what retinol users want.
Likewise, as mentioned, retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. This can be the main culprit of skin thinning.
The answer? As long as you take care of your skin and use plenty of sunscreen and moisturizer, you shouldn’t have to worry about skin thinning. If your skin is still irritated or peeling after the purging phase, speak to your dermatologist about using a different retinol product or lowering your dosage of the ingredient.
Yes, It’s Safe to Use Retinol Every Day
Once your skin has built up a tolerance to retinol, the good news is that it’s perfectly safe to use the ingredient every day.
Most people can see the benefits of retinol, even younger users in their 20s.
However, you might consider reducing how often you use retinol in the colder winter months. Cold weather dries the skin, so frequent retinol use may contribute to flaky skin.
Once you start using retinol, you’ll notice your skin looking smoother with fewer breakouts and clogged pores. It will take longer to see skin tone improvements, smaller pores, and softened fine lines. For improvements to wrinkles, it could take at least three to six months of use – but we promise it’s worth the wait.
As a trending beauty ingredient, the shelves of beauty stores are full of retinol products. Here are some of our best-recommended retinol formulas.
Revision Retinol Complete
The award-winning, revolutionary Revision Retinol Complete brightens and smooths the skin’s texture with the help of five antioxidants and a powerful blend of botanical extracts. These extracts enhance the effectiveness of retinol while delivering plenty of hydration.
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
The fast-acting Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum combines three retinol technologies and hyaluronic acid to treat the appearance of wrinkles. The innovative formula uses a powerful, fast-acting time-released retinol that functions like a slow drip, delivering the ingredient gradually to reduce irritation and maximize results.
Likewise, a booster enhances retinol’s ability to increase cell turnover for youthful-looking skin with fewer wrinkles and lines and that illusive glow.
Do you want more skincare advice? Discover Korean skincare secrets for glowing skin .