Should Men use Retinol? 6 Key Things to Know Before Using

There has been a lot of buzz about Retinol being the de facto anti-aging ingredient for reducing fine lines and wrinkles. With all the hype around the ingredient, there does seem to be a question we hear time and time again: should men use retinol?

Many articles today list the benefits of Retinol without fully painting a picture of what to look for when applying it on our skin.

In this article, we’ll go over the ins and outs of Retinol so that you can gain insight on whether or not this powerful ingredient is something that will benefit you.

So, what is Retinol? 

It can be easy to confuse retinol with retinoid. Vitamin A is composed of two parts: retinoids and carotenoids. Retinoids stimulate the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin, all of which are shown/proven to visibly reduce wrinkles and large pores, heal acne, and fade hyperpigmentation. Retinol (along with Retinyl, Palmitate, and Retin-A) is one form of a retinoid.

Retinol was originally known to treat acne (in higher concentrations) before becoming the anti-aging ingredient it’s known for today.

As mentioned above, Retinol has been clinically proven to reduce fine wrinkles (Pierard-Franchimont and colleagues 1998), as well as increase fibroblast growth and collagen synthesis (Varani and colleagues 2000).

How it works

Once a topical retinol cream is applied and absorbed onto the skin, specialized enzymes within the skin work slowly to convert retinol into retinoic acid, which helps to accelerate skin renewal, enhance collagen production, and reduce the appearance of aging, uneven texture and age spots -- AKA, the fountain of youth.

6 key things to know before using retinol

As great as this sounds, I wanted to lay out 6 key things to consider before incorporating this powerful ingredient into your skincare routine.

  1. Retinol is known to increase skin sensitivity in the sun or heat. It is recommended to throw on some SPF when using retinol in the morning to help protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  2. Retinol is known to dry out the skin, causing peeling, itching, dryness, and flaking. Make sure to moisturize after applying.
  3. It is recommended to start small (applying 1-2 times a week) to test out how your skin reacts before deciding to up the dosage. If there is visible redness or peeling, use it once per week for a month, then increase the usage to twice per week. From here, monitor the skin for irritation before increasing usage.
  4. Over-the-counter topical retinol treatments typically range from 0.1% to 1.0% in concentration. The most common are 1%, 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.25%. If your product doesn’t specify the percentage of retinol on the label, it usually means the concentration is weaker than 0.25%. Beware--a lower concentration may not give you the full benefits of retinol. 
  5. It is not recommended to use cleansers or exfoliators containing glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide as these ingredients are also prone to dry out your skin.
  6. The vehicle used for retinol delivery plays a crucial role in eliciting its efficacy, as retinol is extremely unstable and easily degrades to biologically inactive forms upon exposure to light and air. This means you have to make sure to properly store your retinol cream, or it ain’t doing jack sh*t.

There’s no denying that retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient. My hope is that after having read this article, you’ll have a better sense if and how retinol can work for you.

1 comment

Retinol is very popular in skin care industry but I try it only once, The Ordinary Retinoid and my skin was so dry after so I stop use it and I’m scare to start use any product with retinol again.

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