The Best Retinol Creams for Beginners, According to the Experts

Before the pandemic, my nightly skincare routine was pretty basic. Cleanse, moisturize, and try to sleep supine—aka, not with your face buried in a pillow. That was until Covid anxiety put me in serious condition wrinkles. I’m talking about fine lines and wrinkles, tricked, and dullness of skin color. That the pandemic just happened to line me up Entering my forties It certainly didn’t help. When time runs on your face, it doesn’t walk with a light stride. In fact, I’d say it’s more like an Irish dance. Today, I’m diving deep into the most effective anti-aging secrets I know of, (Well, seven to be exact): The best retinol creams for beginners.

Featured image from Our interview with Papa Rivera by Bellathe Photography.

photo by Soroshi Avasti

Experts share the best retinol creams for beginners

With my forehead giving me a peek at my future face and the bags under my eyes packed in for what seemed like an extended stay, I decided to ramp up my skincare approach and sport an ounce of prevention, powder room style.

Now, my nightly routine goes something like this:

In a couple of years, i went from knowing almost nothing about skincare to considering myself a skincare and product obsessed. But in the end, after all the new steps, I will say the most impactful addition to my routine is retinol. Incorporating this magic into the mix 2-3 times a week has smoothed out some unwanted wrinkles and creases and greatly improved my coloring.

Eager to learn more, I reached out to two experts in the skincare world to help out for beginners (as I admit, I still am). They share everything from what retinol actually is to why we should make it an (almost) daily practice to the best retinol creams for beginners. The experts in question? Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at UT Dell and Ascension Texas, Tyler Holmig, MDAustin-based esthetician. Rachel Spellman. They give us the retinol-infused scoop below—plus keep scrolling for their favorite retinol Reccos.

photo by Till Thompson

What exactly is retinol?

Dr. Holmegg explains that retinol is a type of retinoid, which is a class of medications that are essentially forms, or “derivatives,” of vitamin A. There are many types of retinoids that can be beneficial for the skin. All retinoids are related to one another, but they have different strengths and different purposes.

He continues, noting that isotretinoin (Accutane), for example, can be incredibly helpful in pill form for severe acne. There are also other “systemic” retinoids (oral medications) that help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and other inflammatory skin disorders, along with preventing skin cancers.

“Other retinoids are used topically but require a prescription,” Dr. Holmg notes, such as tretinoin (Retin-A), which is often used to treat acne and helps with aging skin, too. Adapalene (Differin) recently switched from a prescription medication for acne and aging skin to a prescription medication.”

Retinol is a milder form of vitamin A derivative and works as an active ingredient in many skin care products. It may offer some of the benefits of retinoids but with fewer side effects.

Key point: Many skincare companies market the idea that all retinoids are the same (thus implying that their retinol cream will have the same effects as tretinoin, for example). But this isn’t just the same Moira Rose wearing a different wig—the specific type of retinoid actually matters to an extent.

photo by Bellathe Photography

The benefits of retinol

“There are many potential benefits of using retinol,” he says.Dr.. “At the same time, I always caution patients to start slow with these and make sure they know exactly what they are using. Due to the very light regulation on cosmetic products, many skin care products are almost like snake oil driven by what I refer to as a cosmetic complex.” .

But back to the benefits – you can bet there are a lot. According to Dr. Holmig, potential benefits include:

  • Improved acne – specifically “comedogenic” acne, which is both blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Reducing excess secretions from the sebaceous glands (sebum secretion), which can play a role in acne as well.
  • Relieve skin aging. Retinoids may reduce skin aging by changing how skin cells function at the molecular level.

Dr. Holmig digs into this further, noting that retinoids “stimulate collagen production, prevent the breakdown of collagen that’s already there, and thicken skin by increasing cellular proliferation. These processes can help reduce fine lines and even skin tone.”

photo by Till Thompson

What are the most important steps in any skin care routine?

“The most important skin care product to start with is sunscreen,” Dr.Holmes confirms. This helps reduce skin cancer and skin aging by reducing external aging from UV rays. As certain wavelengths of light age, penetrate skin, window glass and can even be emitted from cell phones and computer screens, a broad-spectrum UV blocker is critical, even for children.”

The second most important skin care product? Dr. Holmig recommends looking for an active ingredient that targets your specific skin concerns. “For patients who are trying to even out skin tone, for example, something with vitamin C or another type of skin lightener might be helpful.”

When should someone specifically start using a retinol cream?

“Retinol products are very helpful for patients who have some mild and superficial acne, or who are trying to reduce the appearance of fine lines,” says Dr. Holmig. He also notes that many of his patients notice a dull complexion, enlarged pores, and early fine lines in their late 20s or mid 30s. “This is largely due to the natural decrease in the amount of collagen that the skin produces along with other aging factors.”

Solution? “Using topical retinol to start depositing collagen in the bank, can be a really useful preventative strategy for reducing skin aging.”

photo by Bellathe Photography

Where should it be included in our skincare routine?

Dr. Holmg warns that retinol isn’t for everyone, and you should be aware of its well-known side effect of drying out the skin. “Patients with really dry, sensitive skin may not tolerate it. However, most of my patients can tolerate a mild retinol, especially when combined with a good moisturizer.”

Believe what you’ve heard about using retinol only as a nighttime product. “I advise patients to apply a moisturizer on top. There are certain areas that are more sensitive to skin irritation, like the corners of the nose, for example, so some of my patients will use Vaseline or Aquaphor as a spot treatment to protect these areas before applying retinol elsewhere on the face,” notes Dr. Holmig.

What are the most important things to avoid when it comes to retinol?

“The main risk of using retinol is causing skin irritation and dryness,” warns Dr. Holmg. “If this was a new active ingredient for a patient, I would start slowly — using it every two or three nights for a few months before gradually increasing to daily use.”

Likening an effective retinol routine to a marathon, Dr. Holmage explains. “You have to build endurance over time. Plus, I recommend offering only one activity at a time. If retinol is combined with other ingredients that might irritate the skin, like hydroxy acids for example, the combined effect could cause skin irritation and flaking.”

The good news? “We live in the golden age of skin care.” There are so many amazing products out there, and there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. A personalized approach to skin care is the way to go, and patients should not hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist for help,” advises Dr. Holmig.

What are your favorite retinol creams for beginners?

While retinol is more widely known, Retina It is still gaining traction in the world of skin care. Spillman shares her thoughts on why: “Retinal is difficult to keep stable in product containers and may be more expensive for companies to purchase. I call retinal the ‘cute cousin of retinol.'” The esthetician notes that it has the same benefits as retinol but with little to no irritation.

As for usage, Spellman says, “Most beginners can start by using retinoid products every day versus spacing out a retinoid product 1-3 times a week. Retinaldehyde, also known as retinaldehyde, is still vitamin A but isn’t as irritating and peeling as anything else.” under the retinoid umbrella of products like tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, and retinol.”

Personally, Spillman carries most of the above list in her store And she tried them all on her rosy skin. Personally, I only use retinol 2x a week and retinal 4x a week, but I never use both at the same time. It is important to add that when someone starts with either of these two products, they should not be using any other exfoliating products in their routine. They should also stop using these products completely 2-4 days before and after a facial.”

Michelle Nash’s photo

Best retinol creams for beginners

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This post was originally published on TK DATE, TK YEAR, and has since been updated.

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