How To Use Retinol For Acne According To Experts


Retinol is a skincare ingredient that’s been quite popular among beauty enthusiasts. Owing to its anti-aging properties, it is most likely a common product on every woman’s beauty shelf. 
Based on recent discoveries, we now know that this anti-aging ingredient is also effective in treating acne. However, just like every other medication — topical or otherwise — you need the right dosage to get good results. 
On this note, we'll show you how you can use retinol to effectively treat acne. 
But before we get into key details, let's talk a little about retinol. Sure, it's been a buzzword in the beauty industry, but many people still don't know what exactly it is and why it has gained so much popularity. 

What is Retinol and is it Good for Acne? 

Retinol is a natural Vitamin A derivative, found mostly in anti-aging products. It’s also very effective for treating blackheads, acne, and clogged pores. 
Retinol is available in a variety of forms viz liquid serum gels, creams, and emollients. You can apply it topically to enjoy the benefits it can give to your skin. Retinol works by exfoliating the skin's outermost layer (to remove dirt, dead cells, and oil). This ultimately helps to prevent acne. 
Retinol also stimulates certain compounds, collagen, and elastin, which help the appearance of pores. It does this from the middle layer of your skin. 
Knowing this, it’s obvious that retinol is effective for acne. Now, let's look at expert advice on how to use it for maximum results. 

How To Use Retinol For Acne

Before we move on to instructions of use, there are a few things you should know.
Retinol products have so many benefits, but they tend to cause skin irritation. First-time use of retinol may also cause some irritation and redness. However, following the steps below, will help your skin adjust to the product to work effectively.
  • Begin with a small quantity

You should start small. Usually, a pea-sized amount of retinol is sufficient for beginners. Due to the way retinol works in the skin (production of collagen and elastin), it is better to use it all over your face rather than as a spot treatment. 
  • Slow down

It's normal to want your acne to disappear quickly. It can be frustrating to keep seeing those bumps on your face. However, using more retinol per dose, or applying it more frequently than usual won't help you much. Doing it in this manner will simply irritate your skin. 
  • Moisturize frequently 

Retinol might dry out your skin because it works to prevent acne by regulating the production of sebum (one of the ways retinol works in the skin). So, using a lightweight, non-comedogenic gel-based moisturizer such as Perfec-Tone miracle moisturizer is an excellent approach to both prevent and eliminate dry skin.
  •  Remember to use sunscreen

Retinol can make your skin vulnerable to damage from ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is because retinol tends to increase skin sensitivity. So it’s important that you use sunscreen; a sunscreen with an SPF level of at least 30 (SPF 30) is recommended. 
  • For retinol beginners, do not use harsh chemical peels and lasers 

Retinol must be introduced to the skin gradually. Start using the retinol product on alternate nights and gradually increase the frequency of application as your skin becomes accustomed to it. 
Some side effects of using retinol include dryness, photosensitivity, redness of the skin, irritation, and a sunburnt appearance. However, if you follow the instructions in this guide, you are safe.

Difference Between Retinol and Retinoid

Although you now know how to use retinol for effective results, there's something that still gets a lot of Retinol users confused —the difference between retinol and retinoid. 
Retinoid and retinol are often used frequently in the beauty industry. What's the difference between these two? They sure do sound alike, are they the same? Which is better? Let’s dive into the answers.
Retinoids and retinol are derivatives of Vitamin A. They give anti-aging benefits in different timeframes. Retinoids are approved by the food and drug administration (FDA) and often require a prescription, whereas retinol can be purchased over-the-counter.
"OTC [products] are still effective, but they take more time and constant use to work," says Dr. Ramya Kollipara, a board-certified dermatologist of Westlake Dermatology in Dallas, TX. So, using retinol is fine if you’re willing to wait a while. Retinoids are usually prescribed to treat more severe acne, in a shorter time frame. 

How Long Does it Take for Retinol to Work for Acne?

Don't expect immediate results. Significant improvement can take several months. While prescription-strength retinoids can show benefits in a matter of weeks, OTC retinol can take up to 6 months to produce the same results.


Retinol can work wonders when used right. Although it works slowly relative to retinoids, it works. When your skin becomes used to retinol, remember to use moisturizers regularly to keep your skin hydrated. A very effective moisturizer you can use is the Perfec-Tone miracle moisturizer, for perfectly hydrated and healthy skin.

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