5 quick Retinol facts you need to know

Hint: Works well with sunscreen.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 24, 2022

Retinol is one of the most important and effective ingredients in skincare, yet, the most misunderstood. The Vitamin A derivative is in almost all skincare products, and thanks to over-the-counter formulas, has only grown in popularity during the pandemic.


However, with that comes an onslaught of myths: Sensitive skin types should avoid retinol. Retinol should not be mixed with active hyaluronic acids! Retinol thins out your skin and will cause more harm than good. To separate the rumors from the truth, here’s the retinol facts that you may have bypassed.


To start, retinol can be beneficial for inflammatory conditions, such as acne and redness, or for signs of mature skin, like lines and wrinkles. It’s also useful for preventing the signs of aging by encouraging the production of collagen. That said, retinol has a reputation of causing irritation for many who use it. And it’s no surprise, since essentially it is re-training your skin cells to turnover at a faster rate—typically producing dry skin, redness, peeling, and overall inflammation.


Despite the annoying side effects, dermatologists still believe that all skin types can benefit from a dose of retinol. Read on to discover the 5 retinol facts you need to know.


Retinol can decrease the appearance of wrinkles

Study after study, dermatologists have proved that retinol is by far the highest effective ingredient for chronological aging (fine lines and wrinkles). It alters the behavior of dermal cells and makes them act in a youthful way, while preserving and enhancing the skin’s supportive blood vessel network.


Retinol, antioxidants, and sunscreen go hand in hand

Retinoids will perform in their optimal state when you pair it with a highly-suited broad-spectrum (at least 30) SPF or sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin. Think of it this way, retinol makes skin more sensitive to pollution-induced irritation, and by protecting it with an additional layer, it will be able to work its magic.


Minimize retinol use in the winter

In the winter, our skin becomes drier and more sensitive. In the summer, when you might use retinol every night, it’s important to decrease the amounts in the winter.


Prescription-strength retinol is better for acne-prone skin

If you are looking to eliminate acne, you might want to try a prescription dose of retinol instead of the over-the-counter products. Although they are good, they are mainly used for anti-aging benefits, whereas prescription-strength retinods have been used for decades to treat skin.


No, retinol doesn’t thin your skin

Many people believe retinol skincare products will thin out skin over time. But the exact opposite is true. Retinol has a tendency to slightly thicken skin, by boosting your natural production of collagen, leading to fewer fine lines and wrinkles and plumper, bouncier skin.


Need more seasonal retinol facts? Here’s what you need to know about retinol in the spring.


Photo via Grusho Anna