Retinol FAQ and 5 OTC Recommendations

press sample, affiliate links

Retinol is tricky in skin care.

I have long considered retinol my frenemy and that’s because I went directly for the big guys. Instead of starting low and slow, I and went right to prescription retinol products. and I irritated my sensitive skin.

As I have gotten older and noticed more lines on my face and neck and unevenness overall, I knew that I needed to add retinol into my skin care regimen again; I started low and slow and have has some really good results. I wanted to share the OTC (over the counter) retinol products that I have tried that have given me really good results . I also wanted to give you some answers to commonly asked retinol FAQ. There are some things you need to know when using retinol.

Retinol FAQ and 5 OTC Recommendations
  1. Origins Plantscription Retinol Night Moisturizer - This overnight moisturizer is packed with pure, high grade retinol that is gentle, yet effective. Not only does it contain retinol, but it has added in some of nature’s effective age eraser ingredients into the mix. Overtime, this powerhouse product visibly diminishes lines, pores and uneven skin tone.

  2. Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinol Serum - I went into a detailed review of this high dose retinoid product here. I really like this product, but as I stated in that post, I started slowly when incorporating it into my regimen. Basically, this serum contains an advanced-strength 6.5% retinoid that is stabilized to deliver results. It also blends in botanical retinol-alternative extracts into the formula. 

  3. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream - This retinol cream is effective! Not only does it contain 1% vegan retinol, it also includes a triple peptide blend into the formula which is so important to aging skin. This mix helps to visibly firm and strengthen the skin while boosting the visible results of retinol. Vitamin F is also in the formula to not only help improve texture, but this helps to calm any sensitivity.

  4. Peter Thomas Roth Professional 3% Retinoid Plus - This is another powerful overnight treatment which contains a high-potency, advanced retinol derivate to do all the great things that a retinol product is designed to do. It also contains caffeine to not only “wake up” the skin, but to help deliver this treatment more effectively into the skin. There is a blend of ingredients that is made to calm all the effects of retinol and it really helped me to incorporate it easily into my regimen.

  5. FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate - For new retinol users, this serum is the perfect product to start with. It was actually designed with sensitive skin and first-time retinol users in mind. The formula is effective yet extremely gentle. It has a lower concentrate of retinol in it, but that does not mean that it is not effective. It simply means that it is more gentle and it will take a longer amount of time to see results. It is really good for those of us who are sensitive, especially to retinol products. The formula combines retinol and the ever so important peptides that work together to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles, firm and smooth the skin. The formula is balanced with First Aid Beauty’s proprietary Skin Saver Complex to deliver the benefits of retinol with minimal irritation and as I said, it is best for sensitive skin.

4 Powerful Products for Rosacea

Retinol FAQ

When should you apply retinol?

Apply retinol at night!

Should you apply retinol every night?

Retinol is potent. When starting out, go low and slow. Start with a lower concentration of retinol, and use a retinol every other night for the first two weeks. If you experience any skin sensitivity, decrease that amount to only twice per week, then slowly increase to every other night then eventually to nightly usage.

What should you expect?

You should expect a bit of irritation; retinol is a strong ingredient. While it shouldn’t cause your skin to become overly irritated, a mild amount of redness, a warm tingling sensation and a bit of flaking is normal when first using retinol. It can take four weeks or longer for your skin to adjust. As I said above, go low and slow and decrease retinol usage if your skin is overly irritated.

How many times a day should you use retinol?

You should only use retinol once per day and apply it at night.

How much product should you use?

This is more product dependent, but less is more. You will typically use less product than you think you will need. Start with a pea sized amount.

When in my routine do I use the retinol?

You would use the retinol product where you use a serum. After cleansing and making sure you skin is nice and dry, you will add your retinol serum, cream or oil. Before using any other product, let the retinol product sink into skin for four to five minutes. Next add eye cream and moisturizer.

IMPORTANT - Sunscreen

It is important to use sunscreen, with AT LEAST SPF 25 during the day while using retinol. If for any reason you stop using retinol, you should continue to use SPF wherever you have been treating for at least two more weeks. I suggest using sunscreen everyday to protect your skin from aging regardless, but it is even more important than ever to use it while using any retinol based skincare product.