10 Facts to Know Before Adding Retinoids to Your Skin Care Routine

Signs of skin aging are inevitable. 

Premature aging, a term that refers to wrinkles and other facial changes generally associated with older age, is a common concern. One study reveals that up to 72% of men may experience textural changes associated with aging prior to reaching the age of 30. Among women, the same study showed a prevalence of 47%.

Several skincare products are formulated to assist in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, visible pores, and similar problems that people experience. Retinol-containing products are a very popular option. Understanding how to use retinol and what retinol can do – these are factors that you need to consider before buying one of these products.

We look at ten important facts about retinol creams and lotions that you should know before making a purchase.

We look at ten important facts about retinol creams and lotions that you should know before making a purchase.


1. Retinoids can be used for prevention

A common misconception is that retinoids are most often only used by older people who have already developed signs of aging. When considering the addition of retinol to a skin care regimen, it is important to realize that it is not only meant to reduce the visibility of existing fine lines or wrinkles. It is both a treatment and prevention option, according to clinical studies.

You may not realize it, but with a good skincare regimen that includes retinoids, you could actually prevent premature aging and even delay the onset of wrinkles, fine lines, textural changes, and the common "crow's feet."

Understanding how to apply a retinol product on the face is important, however.

Using just the right amount gives you the ability to maximize your benefits without causing side-effects.

2. Retinol products can lead to skin irritation

While some people ask whether retinols are effective, others are more concerned about the negative effects of products that contain retinols. It is always better to be on the safer side. Understanding how retinol benefits the face and skin is important, but one thing to be aware of is that redness and irritation can occur.

Knowing how to apply retinols is important in managing the risk of skin irritation. Too much of a  good thing can be irritating when it comes to retinol products. Using too much too quickly can lead to adverse effects such as dryness, peeling or other irritation. Dermatologists recommend starting slowly, with no more than a pea-sized amount, a few nights per week to allow the skin to acclimate to this powerful ingredient.

3. Retinoids should not be used alone

While on the subject of adverse effects, it is important to note that retinols are better tolerated and more effective when used in a regimen with other products that include hydration, moisturization, exfoliation and protection from environmental damage.

SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream is ideal for providing hydration to both control any dryness that results from adding retinol to a regimen while also adding other anti-aging benefits that enhance a complete skin care regimen.

4. Retinoids should always be used with Sunscreen and antioxidants

It is important to realize that retinoids can cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun. Another reason that a complete skin care regimen is necessary for reaching your skin care goals.

If you are using a retinol to prevent or improve the signs of aging, your regimen should also include environmental protection from antioxidants and sunscreen that provides a high level of environmental protection. SENTÉ Invisible Shield SPF 49/52 contain antioxidants that protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors including UVA, UVB, pollution, Infrared Light and Blue Light, along with broad-spectrum SPF protection. 

Exposure to smoke, including in the form of secondhand smoke, can cause more severe damage to the skin in people who use retinol face creams. Thus, when considering the use of retinoids, it is a good idea to limit the use of cigarettes.

5. Perfect timing makes a difference

Apart from understanding how these products should be used, it is important to know when you should use retinol products, as the timing of the application can make a difference in how it works.

It is most safe and effective to use a retinol cream at night. During the day, retinoids can increase the sensitivity of your skin to UV exposure and can also be neutralized by sunlight. This can result in damaging effects on your skin. As the skin recovers during the night, this makes for the ideal time to apply retinoids – not only is your exposure to environmental factors and UV rays eliminated, but you also get to use the retinoids during a phase where the skin repairs and heals.

6. It’s not ideal for use with some skincare products

We’ve noted that retinoids are not intended to be used alone. Combining retinols with products that protect against UV exposure and other environmental damage would be considered ideal, along with a hydrating cream to offset dryness and redness that can be caused by retinols.

At the same time, note that certain skincare product combinations do not work well together, as doing so can cause more irritation than you desire.

There are a few ingredients that should not be combined with retinoids. In particular, these include:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic acid)
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (Lactic acid, glycolic acid)

The combination of these ingredients with retinoids may not be dangerous. You may, however, find that the effects of these ingredients are canceled out by each other. Thus, neither the retinoids nor a chemical like Benzoyl Peroxide would produce visible effects on the skin when used together.

7. Don’t start with a high strength

Some people may think that a stronger dose of retinoids may offer them more benefits, but the opposite is often true. Starting with a high dose of retinoids on your skin might cause more dryness or irritation than expected. Consider starting out with a lower dose option that you can buy over the counter.

When asking how much retinol should be in a cream, start out with a 0.5% 0.25% option. This lower dose will help your skin get used to the ingredient and reduce the risk of irritation and other potential side effects. You can then start to gradually increase the strength of the retinol you use in order to see more effective results. SENTÉ Bio Complete Serum is an ideal product for adding retinol to your skin care regimen. With a time-released retinol, HSA and hyaluronic acid, it delivers the benefits of retinol along with deep hydration to minimize the likelihood of irritation.

8. Retinoids may not be a daily essential

Some people use retinol products every single day. While a product with a very low percentage of retinol might be useful in a daily skincare regimen, it is generally not necessary to use these products each day.

It is important to understand your own skin when using retinols. When you apply retinol daily, you may find that it causes irritation. In this case, only apply the product a few times every week. There are people who continue to benefit from the effects of retinol while only applying it two or three times every week once they have reached a level of improvement they are happy with.

9. Avoid believing all of the myths

If you have been researching retinol products, then you might have seen a few adverse effects listed that may seem a bit extreme. It is important to consider scientific evidence behind those claims.

A common myth is that retinoids cause the skin to become thin. The opposite is actually true. Products containing retinoids may rather cause a very slight increase in the thickness of your skin. Some publications have also associated retinoids with a greater risk of skin cancer, while studies show it may actually possess the ability to reduce these risks.

10. There are soothing formulas

Some people find that applying retinoids to their face causes too much irritation. In these cases, you may feel discouraged, but there are still options that you can try.

A few products, such as Bio Complete Serum from SENTÉ uses retinoids in a more sophisticated way. Instead of just introducing retinoids to your face, additional ingredients are added to produce a soothing effect. This can help to eliminate the irritation that you experienced with a previous product.

What does this all mean?

Knowing how to use retinol products for wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging will add to your skin care regimen and results.  Understanding how retinol works and what the benefits are and asking questions to understand if retinols are safe should be a priority in order to make the decisions that are best for your skin care concerns. These ten facts about retinoids should be considered in helping you make an informed decision.