Successful Use of Retinols

Not to be confused with Retinyl Palmitate, which dermatologists prescribe for severe acne, Retinol is the safe vitamin A derivative known for boosting the hydration of skin, and visibly improving wrinkles, pores and uneven texture. 

When looking for a retinol, Boketto favorite, Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum does wonders for many skin conditions including acne— without the irritation and negative effects Retin-A provides.

Below is an abbreviated article from Marie Veronique’s blog on retinol and how to successfully use it. Let’s get smarter.


When the goal is to prevent aging and correct existing damage, virtually all dermatologists will agree that daily retinoid use is the answer. The term “retinoid” refers to vitamin A and the various molecules derived from vitamin A—which itself is also known as retinol. This can lead to great confusion because while the official name of Vitamin A is retinol, the derivatives, called retinoids, belong to different categories.

Why people fear retinoids

Some believe their skin is too sensitive for retinoids, some have tried them and discontinued them due to a reaction, and others fear that retinoids are not natural and should be avoided. The truth is that retinoids are the common denominator of skin care— although everyone’s skin is different, almost every skin can benefit from them. Of course, a crucial exception applies to those who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or nursing.

A few symptoms common to the beginning stages of retinoid use might explain why many people either fear to try them or discontinue their use before they’ve had the opportunity to revel in the improvements. Retinoids initially can cause peeling and some redness, a process called facial retinization. Users should be aware that this is normal and even to be expected— peeling and redness are side effects of retinoids working at a profound level to influence gene expression, resulting eventually in enhanced collagen production, skin smoothing and the evening out of pigmentation.

When people experience such symptoms they often make the mistake of stopping their treatment program, then waiting until the skin gets “better” before beginning again. Giving the top layer of skin time to rebuild can unfortunately initiate another round of redness and peeling which ultimately delays the anticipated therapeutic benefits.

Tips for Successful Use

While every skin has its own idiosyncrasies, almost every skin can benefit from retinoids. Here are some tips to make your retinoid journey successful, even if you’ve had trouble in the past.

  1. Choose the right form. Retinoids that are effective come in over-the-counter and prescription form. If you have sensitive skin or you have experienced problems with prescription retinoids, you might want to start with an over-the-counter retinol serum, which is less irritating than prescription retinoic acid. (Note: Like Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum.)
  2. Set up a routine. Begin by using your retinoid every other or every third night and work up to every night but be consistent.
  3. Retinoids during the day? Contrary to popular belief, retinoids do not contribute to photosensitivity, but retinoic acid can thin the outer layers of the skin by about a third, making the skin more susceptible to sunburn. However, we suggest confining your usage to night time. Retinoids degrade in the light, so you’re not getting your money’s worth if you use them during the day, and heat from the sun can also contribute to erythema, or redness, so if you’re already experiencing redness on account of facial retinization, heat might exacerbate your discomfort. In short: use retinoids at night only, use sunscreen daily, and try to avoid excessive heat, from either the sun or sauna.
  4. Be patient. This is not an overnight process for anyone, and depending on the type of retinoid you use, the condition you are treating and the condition of your skin, it could take six to eight weeks before you start to see significant changes.
  5. Order of application. The dermatologists answer is: nothing having to do with application decides how much of the retinol is converted into retinoic acid, the form of vitamin A that actually repairs skin. That’s solely related to your skin’s chemistry and retinoid receptors. So the order of application is not important— what matters is that you find the type of retinoid that best suits you, make it a part of your skin care routine, and be consistent in its use. You’ll be very happy you made the effort.


The original article can be read here.