Is Retin-A Safe For Everyday Use?

Is Retin-A Safe For Everyday Use?


Khadija B.
November 4, 2021

Retin-A could easily be labeled as one of the biggest advancements in skincare in the last few decades, but you might know it better as its more commonly used name of retinol.

The derivative of vitamin A can be found in most skincare products today, and although helpful, there are certain things you need to know before using it.

Is Retin-A safe for everyday use?

Retin-A is a synthetic form of vitamin A also known in the medical industry as tretinoin and by its weaker form, retinol, which is found in skincare products and recommended for everyday use.

Although safe, there may be a period where your skin gets used to Retin-A, so you’ll want to build up to this type of regular application at first.

If you’re shopping around for a retinol-based skincare product but want to know the ins and outs first, this guide can show the way.

We’ll explore the effect that retinol has on the skin and how frequently you should be using it for the best and safest results.

What Is Retin-A?

What Is Retin-A?

Retin-A is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, and is also referred to as tretinoin.

When it comes to skincare, you’ll find many products that also contain this anti-acne and anti-aging ingredient, but it’s usually listed as its more friendly name of ‘retinol‘.

Although retinol and Retin-A are effectively the same things, their strength is the main difference.

Retin-A is used as a form of medicine that can be applied topically, and there’s also an oral form that can be used for treating leukemia, so it’s extremely versatile.

To get your hands on this version, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor, because it can be aggressive on the skin.

Retinol is the weaker version that you’ll find in most skincare products, and it holds many of the same benefits as its stronger counterpart.

With the ability to heal and repair skin, it’s no wonder that you’ll find this ingredient in just about every form of skincare, whether it’s a daily moisturizer or a hydrating mask.

The Effects of Retinol on the Skin

The Effects of Retinol on the Skin

If you’ve never heard of retinol before, there’s a good chance you’ve been living under a rock, as the super ingredient has become a staple in modern skincare.

Whether you use the stronger form of Retin-A or apply the gentler retinol onto your face each night, these are some of the benefits that the synthetic vitamin A derivative offers.

Wrinkle prevention

The biggest issue with aging skin is the appearance of wrinkles and if you want to minimize their appearance on your face, reach for the retin-A.

This ingredient has a minimizing effect that works a treat on fine lines and wrinkles and can protect skin from them forming in the future.

Skin brightening

If you’re having issues with your skin tone looking a little dull, using retinol can be an easy fix.

As it exfoliates and peels away the top layers of skin, you’re only left with the fresh, new ones underneath. This gives you an instantly bright, smooth, and youthful appearance after applying retinol.

Reduces oil

Women with oily skin will rejoice when they see the difference that retinol can make for their sebum production.

Retinol is effective in reducing oil production and removing it from the top layers of the skin, and can even dry out your complexion to a normal level.

Stops acne

Used as an anti-acne treatment in its retin-A form, this ingredient is ideal for preventing breakouts and reducing acne.

The way it strips oil from the pores is the most effective thing you can do for stopping breakouts in the future and keeping your face clean.

Treats skin spots

Nothing ages and dulls your complexion faster than sunspots, age spots, discoloration, and hyperpigmentation.

If you suffer from any of these, regular application of retinol or Retin-A can be effective at reducing their intensity and smoothing out your skin tone.

How Often To Use It

How Often To Use It

Tretinoin is part of many popular skincare products today including exfoliants and serums, and many of them recommend daily use.

However, you’ll note that most of these products recommend building up the application of them to avoid any nasty side effects, which are common when you’re new to Retin-A.

Consider the role that these products play in your skincare regime and how often they might need to be applied to allow you to get the results you’re after.

Some people might only apply these products once a week or once a month, and for others, it will be part of their nighttime routine to treat issues like acne and signs of aging.

To determine how often you should be using skincare products that contain tretinoin, you should seek expert advice from a doctor or dermatologist.

You’ll be able to create a detailed plan that lets you slowly build up the application of it to your face so that you get all of the results without any backlash.

If you’re not planning on using it every day, Retin-A can still be part of an effective pre-treatment leading up to other procedures.

It’s common to have this ingredient applied before chemical peels, dermabrasion, laser treatments, and even facelifts because of its superior ability to heal the skin and even out the surface.

Can You Apply Retinol Every Day?

Can You Apply Retinol Every Day?

Retinol is a unique component as it’s extremely effective on the skin almost immediately, so if you’ve never used it before, it can take some getting used to.

Many people find that if they experience irritation or soreness after applying skincare that contains retinol, but having a break for a few days before applying the product again is all they need to do to resolve it.

When you’re new to any skincare that features retinol or any other ingredient that you’re unsure of, taking it slowly and building up to everyday use with a few days in between application is the safest approach.

Monitor your face for symptoms of irritation or discomfort and let that guide you towards how often you should be using it and when it’s time to ramp up the frequency.

Potential Drawbacks of Regular Use

Potential Drawbacks of Regular Use

Although helpful, retinol still has side effects to be mindful of, especially if you’ve never used these types of products before.

The most common side effects are itchy and burning skin, peeling, and sometimes a feeling of rawness on the skin if the product has been too aggressive, as is to be expected when you’re new to this ingredient.

To avoid any irritation, you should avoid applying products that contain Retin-A on sensitive areas like the corners of the nose, on your lips, and around the eyes and on eyelids.

You’ll also want to avoid exposure to the sun in the week following the application, otherwise, it can do more damage than good, and pregnant women shouldn’t use it.

The Wonders of Vitamin A

Vitamin A has done a lot for the world of skincare, and whether you’re using the stronger Retin-A version to treat acne or applying a softer retinol infused moisturizer each night, you’ll reap its benefits.

As with any new beauty product though, take the time to let your skin get adjusted so that you can be sure you’re using it safely and effectively.

Related Questions

Skincare ingredients have never been more effective at targeting our concerns, and retinol has become one of the most coveted of all.

If you want to learn more about some of the most prominent skincare products of 2021, we’ve answered a few questions to get you started.

Can I Use a Face Mask After Exfoliating?

For the best results out of a face mask, you should gently exfoliate the skin first.

This allows the layer of dead skin cells and whatever else is sitting on top of the skin to be removed so the mask can get underneath and work its magic.

Is Retinol Better Than Vitamin C?

Is Retinol Better Than Vitamin C?

Retinol is a diluted form of vitamin A and is commonly compared to vitamin C-infused skincare products, but they each do something unique.

Retinol is the best pick for anti-aging and acne prevention whereas vitamin C is ideal for brightening the skin tone and improving hyperpigmentation.

What Does a Serum Do For Your Face?

The purpose of a serum is to apply a highly concentrated formula of ingredients to the face, usually consisting of various antioxidants.

Serums come in all types including anti-aging and skin repair, so whatever your skincare concerns are, there’s usually one out there to suit.


Khadija B.