You do not have to be familiar with the world of skincare to know that retinol is a big deal. It is common knowledge that the product has many advantages, especially the anti-aging powers . "Retinol is a topical form of vitamin A," explains board-certified dermatologist Roberta Del Campo, MD . "This is a technical method of a retinoid, which helps to promote the production of collagen, which improves the firmness of the skin. It also brightens the skin by accelerating cell migration and is also used to treat acne. and minimize pores. "  Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip MD, FAAD, owner of Vibrant Dermatology and SkinBar MD states that there are different types of vitamin A derivatives: retinyl palmitate (weakest) ), retinol (strong), retinaldehyde (even stronger), and finally retinoid (strongest). "In our 20s and early 30s, our skin cells move every 28-30 days. This explains the earnest, unlikely appearance of skin in these age groups," he said. "However, as early as our mid-30s, this cell migration slows down, and the skin can have a dull appearance." Retinol can help with skin problems, and prescription strengths can even treat comedonal acne .
So you can & # 39; t see why retinols and retinoids have become the holy grains of many people. Board-Certified dermatologist Flora Kim MD, FAAD, adds, "There is no dermatologist who does not personally use certain types of vitamin A on their skin – it is good and important."  While all of this is very promising, you just don’t want to blindly reach the first retinol product you see. It helps to do a little research first so that you can choose the one that best suits your personal needs and skin preferences. There may be a lot of misconceptions about retinol there, so we didn & # 39; t look at common myths and pros and cons to help you decide if you want to include the product in your routine.
Myth 1: It is not for everyone. "It's a legend that retinols are not for everyone," Kim said. "Everyone can and should include this vitamin A powerhouse in their work at night, even if your skin is extremely sensitive! It is just a matter of proper product selection, quantity used, and frequency of application . "
Myth 2: Skin type does not matter. While Impression-Ip agrees that this is a great addition to your skincare routine, those with sensitive skin and a history of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema should to be more careful and discuss their options with a dermatologist. In some cases, you can avoid the product.
Del Campo says you should choose a retinol product based on your skin type . "For example, more dry skin types should look for low-dose versions of creams or serums. Those with more oily skin should choose a higher-strength, gel-based version. , "he recommended.
Myth 3: They are too irritating to use. Again, everything depends on the formula. "Sometimes, you have to try some formulations to find one that works for you," explains Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a board-Certified dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology . "So don & # 39; t judge this great skincare ingredient in just one test. Also, follow the application tips – this may be the way you use the problem product."
Myth 4: Retinol is harmful to the skin. "As they exfoliate and remove it, causing the skin to & # 39; thin & # 39; thin, after eight to 12 weeks of use, studies have shown that it actually thickens they skin it by making new collagen, "Gmyrek says. 
While there are many benefits to using retinol, such as collagen production, exfoliation, and increased cell turnover, There are a couple of things you should consider when using the product.
It can cause irritation after use. It can cause peeling, burning, stinging, and even a rash in severe cases. You just want to be careful about the formula you choose and how you apply the product. "The risk of irritation from a retinol is increased if you use too many exfoliating products in your skincare routine," Imahiyerobo-Ip explains. "Retinol is a chemical exfoliation that does not match well with other harsh chemical exfoliants (think acids like salicylic acid or citric acid) or mechanical exfoliants such as harsh scrubs."
Stop using if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Gmyrek says too much vitamin A can cause birth defects.
It can increase the sensitivity of the sun. "Like retinoic acids and alpha hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, they irritate the dead skin layer and can make you more sensitive to the sun," Gmyrek says.
Stop using if you are planning to wax. Due to exfoliation, Gmyrek says you should stop using your retinol one week before waxing.
Again, you will want to consider your skin type. "Those with sensitive or dry skin may want to start with the weakest retinol formulation, which is retinyl palmitate," Imahiyerobo-Ip recommends. "If you have dry skin, choose retinols that are in a cream formulation rather than a lotion or gel. If you have normal skin, you can start with a retinol. Those with fair skin or more Adult skin may want to consider asking their dermatologist to prescribe them a retinoid prescription. "
To reduce your chance of irritation, there are a couple of ingredients you will want to look for in your retinol product. For sensitive skin Gmyrek recommends formulas containing niacinamide, which is soothing and anti-inflammatory. Gmyrek says those with dry skin should look for moisturizing agents such as glycerin, dimethicone, and hyaluronic acid.
How important is the formula package, so you will want to pay attention to that. Look for a retinol container that is opaque and does not absorb sunlight. “Ultraviolet light does not activate retinol,” Gmyrek said. "It is also inactive when exposed to air, so look for an upper dispenser if possible."
If this is your first time using retinol, take it easy. You may want to start with a mild concentration, a small amount of product, and apply only a few times a week at first. But keep in mind that you will not see results overnight. “It takes a minimum of eight to 12 weeks to see your skin start to improve,” Gmyrek says. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. Many are no better, and it will increase your chances of getting irritated, causing you to stop using it. Start using a new product every third night for a week or so. two, then increase each other night before use every night. This will allow your skin to receive the product, which increases your chances of successful use. "
Here are a couple of other steps and recommendations:
1. Clean and dry your skin completely. "If you apply it to damp skin, it can change the absorption and lead to more irritation," says Gmyrek. It can make a thin layer, so you don & # 39; t have to apply it.
2. Stay away from some places. You will also want to avoid areas that are most vulnerable to dryness, such as around the nose, mouth, and eyes. Avoid using it on broken or irritated skin or if you have a rash, dermatitis, eczema, or a rosacea flare-up . “When the barrier on the skin or outer surface of the skin is not intact, the product is allowed to penetrate the cracked skin and, almost certainly, will cause irritation,” Gmyrek says.
3. Be careful about laying products. Do not layer too much. “Products are analyzed by themselves unless the company is marketing a product line with a few steps meant to be used together,” Gmyrek said. "Therefore, if you want the results claimed by the company, use as directed! If you want to use moisturizer after applying retinol, wait 10 minutes before applying. I do not recommend mixing retinol with your moisturizer. I also do not recommend applying moisturizer first. "
4. Only used at night. Retinol is not activated by sunlight, so using it during the day will not benefit you.
5. Do not forget the sunscreen. "Always use sunscreen (even if you do not use retinoids!) Because the exfoliating effect of retinols will make you more sensitive to the sun," Gmyrek says.