Getting Started with Retinol

Published: June 22 2022 & Updated: October 20 2023
Retinol for beginners

A Beginners Guide to Retinol Skincare

If you’re new to retinol you’re probably do I fit this into my skincare routine? What can I layer it with? Is this going to burn my face off? Trust us, we get it––you’ve got some questions and we've got answers. Worry no more, we’re spilling the tea and debunking myths on all things retinol. Let’s start with the basics:


What is Retinol?


Retinol is a retinoid (a derivative of vitamin A) that converts to retinoic acid, which research shows helps stimulate skin cell growth and turnover. It helps exfoliate your skin while promoting skin cell and collagen production, leaving you with a smoother, plumper, more youthful-looking complexion. Bye wrinkles, see ya fine lines!


What are the benefits of retinol? 

There are SO many benefits from using a retinol––from anti-aging to acne. Below are a few reasons we can’t live without retinol:

  • If you’re concerned with aging, retinol helps improve fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production and skin turnover.
  • If you struggle with acne, retinol can help unclog pores, improve skin texture and deliver smoother, more even-looking skin.
  • If you suffer from dark circles, a gentle retinol (like our Retinol Eye Stick) can help with skin turnover specifically underneath the eyes––revealing a brighter, more rejuvenated appearance. 


Does Using Retinol Cause side effects?

We all know retinol has a bad rap for, at times, being harsh on the skin––think drying, peeling, redness, etc. If you have super sensitive skin, it’s important to be careful when first using a retinol product. Start slowly (think 1x/week) until your skin adjusts and work your way up to more frequent use.


When should I start using retinol?

According to experts, mid-twenties to early thirties is a great time to begin incorporating a topical retinol in your skincare routine. Since this is the time that cell turnover starts to slow down, it'll help boost any collagen production that’s been lost. Prevention is key!

Pro tip: Stick it to fine lines and wrinkles on your face, neck and décolleté with our Retinol Face Stick. Pair that with our power-packed Retinol Eye Stick or Retinol Eye Lift Patches to help kick fine lines, discoloration & texture around your eyes to the curb. 


Common Myths About Retinol

Retinol is the holy grail ingredient for your skin. But with any popular subject, you have the lovers who hail it and the haters who spew it. So how do you separate fact from fiction? We’re busting 5 common myths about retinol:

  • MYTH 1: Retinol makes your skin thinner.

Nope! Can confirm it does not make your skin thinner at all. This is commonly assumed because one of the side effects is peeling. But actually, the opposite is true - research studies show that retinol helps stimulate collagen production which in turn pushes out weaker or dying cells to help stronger ones to form and thicken the skin. This is a huge plus considering as we get older, our skin starts to thin out on its own.

  • MYTH 2: Retinol exfoliates like an AHA.

This is a common myth about retinol but the truth is that it isn’t an exfoliant in the way that AHAs are. Since retinoids are derived from Vitamin A, retinol is actually an antioxidant that happens to have some accelerating benefits. Retinol’s main job is to promote cell turnover by encouraging healthier, younger skin cells to make their way to the surface of your skin.

  • MYTH 3: Only prescription-strength Retinol can product results.

While OTC retinol prescriptions (which is actually all-trans-retinoic acid) can work wonders, it’s not the only way to get great results. You can still see the effects of using a retinol with lower, non-prescribed percentages. It just takes a little bit longer to get there since a conversion process (into that all-trans-retinoic acid) is involved. But keep in mind that, when it comes to retinoids, starting off slow and building a tolerance first usually creates better results (with gentler side effects) in the long run. 

  • MYTH 4: Retinol shouldn’t be used on sensitive skin.

Retinol is one of those “scary to use for the first time” ingredients because of its harsh reputation for being, well, harsh on skin. Yes, it can definitely be aggressive but just like any ingredient, it’s important to remember that your skin needs time to adjust. People with sensitive skin can still reap retinol’s benefits but just need to modify slightly. The best way is to introduce it slowly into your routine once a week and mix it with a moisturizer to dilute it or to find a product with encapsulated retinol, which is known to be more gentle. Ps. We know a great product that uses encapsulated retinol...wink-wink.  And no matter your skin sensitivity, it’s always important to wear SPF daily when using retinol.

  • MYTH 5: Nobody needs to start using Retinol until their thirties or forties.

Hold up, y’all. This is the most commonly believed myth about retinol (um, excuse me? anti-aging ingredients? In my twenty-something skincare routine? Pfftttt!) that we hear often. But the truth is that behind sunscreen, retinol is the best preventative ingredient you can start incorporating into your routine whenever you choose. The earlier the better. Age may have a number but preventative anti-aging measures are *priceless*.


Ready to jump into the world of retinol? Shop our Retinol Eye Stick, Retinol Face Stick and Retinol Eye Lift Patches Now!


Got a skin concern? We’ve got a solution. Just text us & we’ll walk you through your personalized step-by-step solution. Your skincare coach will ask for a quick selfie to ensure we find the perfect regimen for your skin concerns! Let’s Chat >

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