There’s one question I see and hear women asking beauty bloggers, estheticians, dermatologists and the like over and over again: should I be using retinol? I honestly get this question so frequently that I thought I’d finally put down some thoughts about it because, in my experience, the answer usually isn’t one size fits all.
First off, what is retinol and what are the potential benefits?
Simply put, and from my understanding, retinol is a powerful dose of vitamin A coupled with other supplemental ingredients that work deep within your skin to increase collagen production and therefore help to reduce wrinkles, smooth out your skin and decrease texture and pigmentation. You typically have to use it for around least 6-12 weeks to start to see results and like most products, have to use it continuously to maintain the benefits.
Sounds pretty great, right? Well, the reason people tend to get hesitant about using it is because of how potent and highly concentrated most retinols are. They can have harsh side effects like redness and peeling, especially if you have sensitive skin. And if you stop using it and then start up again, your skin will likely have to go through the redness and peeling phase again. However a lot of women have found great success with retinol serums or creams, but it still begs the question: are the potential side effects worth it?
What’s my retinol experience?
I’ve used a retinol off and on for the past 5 years. I took a break when we were TTS and I was breastfeeding, but when I did use it constantly, it worked.
My skin is really sensitive and irritates easily and retinol can be very harsh, so it’s a product I am very cautious with. If you follow along on Instagram, you might have seen I recently opened up about my skin a bit more and the breaking point I reached with it at the end of 2019. I have acne-prone skin and have spent years struggling to keep it under control. I finally decided enough was enough and tried my friend’s new skincare line U Beauty. I actually was on the waitlist for a few months before I was able to buy the product. I now see why everyone was so excited to try it!
If you’re not familiar with U Beauty, it’s a brand founded on science-backed skincare and the idea that you can do more good for your skin with fewer products, which is why they have a very limited product offering. I started using their resurfacing compound (their only product) back in December and have seen a complete turnaround in my skin. My acne is under control, my skin is smoother and brighter, any wrinkles and dark spots keep becoming less and less noticeable — it really has been a gamechanger for my skin.
Over the years I tried SkinCeuticals Retinol (I started with .05 per derm recommendation, then moved up to 1.0) and also used the Colleen Rothschild Retinol Eye Serum. I’ve heard amazing things about Shani Darden Retinol Reform, but haven’t tried it yet.
With all of that said, if you’re considering retinol, I’d suggest trying U Beauty’s resurfacing compound first. The results are what I feel a lot of women look for when wanting to add retinol to their routine and the price point is very comparable to high-end retinol products. The resurfacing compound is also much less abrasive on your skin than traditional retinol with its clean, cruelty-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan formula.
And because I’m sure a lot of you are wondering, no, this isn’t a sponsored post. I did partner with U Beauty previously for an instagram post, but this post isn’t part of it, I’m just that blown away with my results and the new confidence I’ve found in my skin. I actually purchased the product and was a happy customer before they even approached me to work with them. Seriously, check out my before and after photos if you’re feeling skeptical. It’s such a good product. They gave me a discount code if you are interested in trying it too — AshleyRobertson15
Still thinking you want to try retinol? Here are my thoughts:
Retinol works great for some people. A lot of brands have also come out with clean and non-toxic retinol alternatives that are derived from plants, so maybe that’s something that could work for you if you also have sensitive skin. Or try an option with a lower concentration of active ingredients. Like I said above, there’s usually not a one size fits all solution.
The biggest thing I can recommend is to do your research. Search for a product that has data and science to back up their claims of rewinding the clock on your skin. If you have a trusted esthetician or dermatologist, they can also be a good resource.
Like I said, a lot of it is personal preference, but I am really happy with the results from the Resurfacing Compound.
Also, if you are using a retinol at night, it’s important you wear sunscreen in the morning.
If you do have retinol you’ve tried, I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments so everyone else can read it as well!