Retinol Mistakes You Need to Stop Doing Right Now!

a woman applying retinol serum on her face


Vitamin A has many derivatives of which one group is called Retinoid. However, the one that is most suitable for skin is Retinol which falls under the category of Retinoid. There are many types of Retinoids available in the market and they all offer the same result in the end. The difference is in the strength and potency of each type. Retinol is considered one of the most bearable forms of Retinoid and hence it is commonly spotted in over the counter products.

What Are The Skin Concerns It Could Address?

Here are some skin problems that Retinol could help with:

1. Whiteheads And Blackheads

Retinol has the ability to dissolve dead skin and remove extra oil and eliminate acne-causing bacteria from your skin. It does this by rising the cell turnover that helps unclog your pores and decrease blackheads and whiteheads on your skin. 

2. Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Retinol does rise the cell turnover that stops dead skin from gathering. This drastically gives younger and smoother looking skin which we all crave for!

3. Sun Damage And Hyperpigmentation

Sun damage results in impairing and inflaming your skin, which is why you get dark spots due to sun damage. This is because the skin has accumulated a pigmented protein called melanin where your skin is damaged. Retinol for skin helps you save the skin cells that will help you lighten the dark spots with regular usage over time.

4. Retinol for Acne Scars

Your skin is left with a wound when acne is gone. To protect that, your skin will collect melanin in that area, which gives you that irritating brown spot. With the help of Retinol, your skin will start to regenerate to fade that spot soon.

Different Forms of Retinoids

1. Retinyl Esters

These molecules take about 3 steps to convert into the final form - Retinoic Acid when it is absorbed by your skin. This is why it has less strength. The most common form of Retinyl Ester that you may find on the ingredient list is Retinyl Palmitate. 

2. Retinol

It takes only two steps to turn into Retinoic Acid. This one is widely used in over the counter products like retinol cream or retinol serum since it shows effects in a very reasonable period and is evenly safe to use. Retinol is available in different strengths of - 0.025, 0.25, 0.5 and 1%. 

3. Retinaldehyde Or Retinal

This is a very strong form of Retinoid as it is converted to Retinoic Acid in just one step. This is used only after a certain prescription. 

4. Retinoic Acid

This is the active form of Vitamin A which should not be put on the skin directly. 

Some of the available synthetic forms of retinoids are Adapalene, Tazarotene, Tretinoin, and Isotretinoin which are only to be used after consulting a doctor.

What Are The Retinol Mistakes You Must Avoid?

1. Using it in the morning

Light can interfere with the Retinol make it worse for your skin by causing irritation and peeling, so it is suggested to include it in just your night routine.

2. Not Using Sunblock

Your skin heals due to your skincare routine, so make sure you’re protecting it using sunblock in your morning routine.

3. Using Harsh Cleanser

A cleanser that has grainy particles or high chemical exfoliators like AHA, BHA will not be good if you’re using Retinol at night. The reason being is they may disturb your skin’s pH which will further dry your skin if you’re using Retinol later.

4. Using It On Damp Skin

Retinol works best without water so make it a point to pat dry your skin, hold on for a few moments, and then when you feel it's fully dry, apply a little amount of Retinol.

5. Applying Too Much

There’s a saying that Retinol is like a relish to your skin. You don’t require too much of it. A little is good to witness effects on your skin. Using it as a moisturiser can overwhelm your skin so you use it in little blotches.

6. Using It Every Night From The Very Beginning

Your skin needs to get used to your skincare regime. So start with Retinol precisely twice a week and then make it to thrice a week and slowly towards applying it on alternate nights. Using it every day will damage your skin because it'll bring newness to your skin and won't indeed give it space to adapt to this newness.

7. Not Being Consistent

Using an active component like Retinol may show you a bit of tightness, peeling, and redness but that will pass by once the skin builds tolerance for it. Many of us stop using Retinol at this point after seeing the redness and peeling. Still, we need to understand that our skin is just adapting to a new component and once it's familiar with Retinol, it'll stop showing redness and peeling. It takes at least a year to see the effects.

Using it during pregnancy: All forms of Retinoid, including Retinol, have shown bad effects on the child if used by the mother during pregnancy. It isn't recommended to use it during pregnancy.

8. Applying It Too Often On Your Neck

The skin on your neck and near your eyes is much thinner than the rest of the face and body. That is why the first signs of ageing are visible around your eyes and neck. So make sure it does not roam near your under eyes and use it very less often on your neck.

9. Not Using Moisturiser Right After

Retinol can make your skin dry and so you always need a good moisturiser on top of it. This step cannot be eliminated since dry skin means an invite to infection, redness, and inflammation. 

10. Not Patch Testing

Every one of us has different skin. What suits our skin may not suit the other. So make sure to do a patch test before using an active ingredient like Retinol and for everything that you use on your face. 

Take Away

Retinol is a promising component to heal, repair and clears your skin. But this component needs to be used in the best way and one must know about all the pros and cons before including it in your skincare routine. If you’re not sure about how to make use of it and which one is the right product for you, see a dermatologist.