You’ve heard about retinol, and you know that it’s a powerful anti-aging ingredient.
You’ve probably also heard that exfoliation is another great way to get younger-looking skin.
So what are you supposed to do?
The truth is that these two skin care products can be used together—but only if your skin is ready for them!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how often you should exfoliate with retinol, let’s explore the basics:
How Often Should You Exfoliate and Use Retinol?
Exfoliation and retinoids are two of the most important products in your anti-aging arsenal. The two work together to increase skin cell turnover, and they should be used in conjunction with one another for optimal results.
However, how often you exfoliate and use retinoids depends on your skin type.
The frequency at which you should exfoliate depends on your skin type:
Exfoliate daily (if using a physical exfoliant) or every other day (if using a chemical exfoliant).
Once or twice a week (however, if you have acne-prone skin, use a prescription gel instead).
3. Dry or sensitive
Once every few weeks or once a month.
Does Exfoliation and Retinol Work Together?
Retinoids, including Retinol and Tretinoin, are a class of chemicals that have been shown to reduce acne and improve the appearance of wrinkles by promoting cell turnover.
They do this by gently exfoliating the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and increasing collagen production.
However, you don’t need to use an exfoliant all over your face if you use Retinol.
Instead, apply only where needed—around your nose, for example—to avoid irritation.
What is the Difference Between Exfoliation and Retinol?
In case you’re not sure what the difference is between exfoliation and retinol, let’s take a look.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells so that new ones can grow.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that helps with collagen production, which keeps your skin smooth and young looking.
While these two things do have some overlapping properties, they differ in their method of action:
Exfoliators like scrubs and masks physically remove old cells from your face while retinols jump-start cell production at the lower levels in order to generate fresh glowing skin on top.
If you’ve ever seen how your face looks after using an exfoliating scrub or mask—smooth, plump and soft—you know why this works!
Some people don’t want their skin to go through such intense treatment though (including myself), so if it seems too harsh for you then keep reading because there’s another option available.
What Are the Benefits of Exfoliating With Retinol?
Exfoliation with retinol is a great way to remove dead skin cells and other debris that can clog pores, leading to acne.
If you have acne-prone skin, exfoliation will help even out your complexion by reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentation.
It also helps to prevent wrinkles by increasing cell turnover and collagen production.
In addition, retinol helps to smooth the texture of your skin so that it looks more youthful and radiant.
- Note: Retinoids have been shown not only to reduce fine lines but also to help with deeper wrinkles such as forehead creases. With continued use of these retinoids, some users may notice their crow’s feet reduced or even gone!
Does Age or Skin Type Matter When It Comes to Using Retinol?
If you have sensitive or dry skin, start with a lower concentration of retinol.
This is because retinol can cause irritation, redness, and peeling in some people.
If your skin is already in good shape, then there’s no need to worry about this—but if not and it doesn’t react well to retinol use, dilute the concentration by using a moisturizer or serum before applying the product (or vice versa).
For oily skin types: A lower concentration of retinol may work better for you than higher concentrations.
But like above as long as your skin isn’t irritated by its use then go ahead!
Do You Have to Wear Sunscreen When Using Retinol Products?
It is important to use sunscreen when using retinol products.
Sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher are best.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that has at least one of the following four ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789), or Mexoryl SX/XL in it.
If you have sensitive skin and can’t tolerate these chemicals on their own, then look for a “chemical-free” formula that contains only physical sunscreens like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply it every two hours (more often if you’re swimming).
Also, apply some lip balm with SPF to keep your lips safe from damage caused by UV exposure as well!
How to Know if a Product Contains Retinol or Not
When you’re shopping for serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products, it’s important to know what ingredients they contain.
Here are some ways you can use your powers of observation to determine if a product contains retinol:
- Look for the word retinol on the label.
If this is all you know about the product and want to confirm that it does indeed contain retinol, this is what I would recommend doing.
There are also two other names associated with Vitamin A (retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate) that we’ll discuss in more detail later in this article!
- Look for “Retinyl palmitate” or “Retinoic acid” on the label as well
These are both names for Vitamin A derivatives that could be present in skincare products as well.
How to Know if Your Skin Can Handle Exfoliation and Retinol
You can tell if your skin can handle exfoliation and retinol by first assessing its condition.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to start with a lower concentration of retinol and gradually increase it over time.
If you have acne-prone skin, exfoliating will help reduce the appearance of breakouts.
You might also consider adding in a product that contains antioxidants—these help protect against free radicals (which cause damage from sun exposure) and counteract any redness from the irritation caused by exfoliating and/or retinol use.
We hope this article has helped you understand how exfoliating and retinol work on your skin.
The truth is, there’s no way to know for sure if your skin can handle exfoliation with retinol until you try it.
But by following some general guidelines and keeping an eye on any adverse reactions, you can likely avoid problems that may come from using these two ingredients together.