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How Fast Does Retinol Work Its Magic?

October 14, 2018

Every day, it seems like the list of facial creams and toners that swear they will shave years off of your face with just one dab grows larger and larger. You can find sponsored beauty products with the tagline “Get clear skin in minutes!” all over Instagram.

Weeding out the trendy products and ingredients from the ones that actually work can be hard. But there is one ingredient that dermatologists recommend across the board. Retinol is the latest beauty trend, but this time, it’s the real deal.

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that can be applied to your skin for various skin care reasons. Recent studies have shown that retinol and retinoic acid make your skin thicker, encourage new cell growth, and reduce wrinkles. Basically, retinol is the anti-aging miracle you’ve been searching for your whole life.

But just how fast does retinol work?

In the same way that getting clear, tight skin takes time and following a consistent skin care routine, retinol doesn’t start dishing out results immediately after you apply it. There are a lot of factors at play: Your skin type (is your skin very dry or oily?), any pre-existing skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, acne breakouts, etc.

Retinol’s magic varies person by person. Depending on your consistency, it can take as little as a few days to months to fully kick in. Because it works from the inside out by telling your skin cells to keep renewing themselves, the process may take a while before you see major results.

Find our favorite daily anti-aging routine here.

Which retinoid is the right one for you?

Retinol comes in different shapes and sizes. You can find acne-creams that contain a smaller dose of the ingredient or prescription facial creams that are stronger and work harder to give your skin a lift.

I recently started incorporating Differen’s acne treatment gel into my morning skincare routine. It contains adapalene, a retinoid that evens out your skin tone and helps restore your skin’s natural texture. My skin is sensitive, acne-prone and often breaks out at the slightest hint of a new beauty product. Paired with my facial cleanser, it has really gone a long way to making my skin glow.

How fast retinol works depends on which form you use. Prescribed retinoids tend to kick in faster and show more drastic results. However, if you’re a newbie, going this route may end up doing more harm than good to your skin. You have to start off slow and see what works for your skin type and texture.

If you have super sensitive skin, read here about how you can still use a retinol product.

If you end up getting a prescription, use it in moderation. Incorporate it into your skin care routine no more than twice a week and stick with drugstore products in between.

Cassandra is a beauty and lifestyle writer. She spends most of her time treating herself to dinner and movie dates, pretending her life is a Marvel comic and figuring out how to keep her makeup on her face. Not necessarily in that order. She blogs about affordable outfits from her favorite movies and TV shows at Onscreencloset.com.

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