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10 Retinol Myths That You Should Know About

So you are looking for a skincare product that clears up the blemishes, brightens the complexion and diminishes the wrinkles and fine lines? Well, retinol is the miracle product that answers all your needs.

Dermatologists love the product as much as common people do. Yet some misconceptions send across a wrong impression about retinol. Some say that it can peel your skin while others vouch that sun can cause extensive damage if you are on a retinol regimen. However, there is not much truth to these misconceptions.

Even though this product might not work for all, there is a need to know about all the associated myths. Let’s understand the common retinol myths and debunk them too.


Retinol, Retinoic Acid, and all other Retin ingredients are the same

This one is confusing because it says yes and no at the same time. The common thing in these retin ingredients are they are all forms of Vitamin A. on the other hand; they differ in potency even if they have the same properties. Prescription formulas contain retinoic acid, which is the pure and most powerful form of vitamin A. This makes them capable of fighting skin aging signs effectively. Conversely, in non-prescription alternatives, the skin converts them into retinoic acid at the cellular level. In such formulas, retinol is the derivative of vitamin A that acts on the skin to bring visible results without causing skin irritation that retinoic acid is known to cause. Evidence confirms that even though retinol is gentler as compared to retinoic acid, it does the same thing but the results may take longer to come.

Retinol acts by exfoliating the skin

Another impression that most women carry about retinol is that its action is exfoliating because it generally causes flakiness, redness, and peeling. But the fact is that these are just the side-effects of the product and not its main action. The initial flakiness can be reduced by using the product only 2-3 times a week and moisturizing the skin afterward. In general, it gets resolved gradually as the skin adapts to the product. Retinol smartens up the skin cells by affecting the gene expression to boost their cellular turnover, which is the natural exfoliating process. However, it is very different from chemical exfoliation and exfoliation by scrubbing the skin, according to Refinery29.

They thin down the skin

The peeling action of retinol makes it a culprit as women tend to believe that it can thin down the skin. This again is a myth that needs to be debunked. The reason is that retinol does not exfoliate but rather boosts collagen production, which renders the skin firmer and thicker over time.

It should not be used during the day as it increases the risk of sunburn:

Retinol is often recommended as a nighttime product but this does not mean that it is not safe enough to apply during the day. Retinoids indeed degrade by direct exposure to sunlight, but this is not a reason good enough to say that they cause sunburns. The redness that is experienced by using the product during the day is caused by heat exposure and not because of the product itself. The best thing to do is to use it with sunscreen if you apply it during the day.

It should not be applied around the eyes:

The area around the eyes is perhaps the most delicate and should be treated with extra care. This gives an impression that retinol application in this area is not safe enough. But at the same time, the skin around the eyes is most wrinkle-prone. So the best way is to go moderate with retinol in this region if you experience irritation and flakiness. Use a product that has a lower concentration or, alternatively, applies it only once or twice a week. This way, you can avail the efficacy of retinol for wrinkles without experiencing its ill effects, says

It should be discontinued if it causes irritation:

A majority of women discontinue the use of retinol if it causes skin irritation. However, flare-ups are a part and parcel of a vitamin A skincare regimen and should be tolerated considering the benefits the product can bring in the long run. Most people adapt to the side effect after 2-3 weeks of using the product, and the irritation subsides gradually on its own. However, if they experience it for a prolonged interval, they can switch to a weaker formula or reduce the application of the product to only once or twice a week.

It takes about 4-6 weeks for retinol to work:

Retinol does a great job, but it will not bring results overnight. They can start working within a few weeks and may take about six months to start showing visible results. So if you are planning to use this product, do not expect a miracle to happen; rather, be patient because benefits will come after some time, but they will be substantial and lasting enough.

It should be applied only on dry skin:

The instruction guidelines on most retinol products say that they should be applied to dry skin. However, if you are in the habit of following your skincare regime right after you step out of the bath, you can continue doing so with the product. In other words, it is absolutely safe to apply on wet skin too. However, those with sensitive skin should stick to the instructions as the potential of retinol to cause irritation is reduced on application to dry skin.

It is not safe to use the product while on vacation:

Another myth about retinol is that it can bring adverse reactions when there is a change in the climate. Several women prefer to ditch the product while on vacation, fearing its impact on the skin. But again, this is a myth that has to be debunked. Once the skin has adapted to retinol, it will not be affected by a climatic change. However, the dermatologist can recommend increased moisturizing for the skin to keep it hydrated in cold, dry weather. On the other hand, the liberal use of sunscreen will do you good if you are taking a sunny holiday.

Retinol is essentially for older women:

If you think that retinol products are meant only for those in their late thirties and forties, then you have got your facts completely wrong. Even the younger women in their twenties can opt to take a head start with the product, particularly those who have taken plenty of sunbaths during their teens. According to, Skin aging does not show during the twenties, but the impact of UV exposure and oxidative damage lies lurking behind. A retinol product makes great protection against dark spots and wrinkles if a woman starts at a young age. Moreover, it resolves clogged pores and acne problems because of its exfoliating action.

Retinol cream is a small investment that can make your skin look younger and healthier despite your age. Knowing about these myths and facts helps you make a choice of using a retinol product at the right age. Taking a few precautions can increase its efficacy and ensure that it keeps your skin safe from any side effects. Therefore, being armed with adequate information is the best way to derive the maximum benefits of this amazing anti-aging product.

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