Three Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Retinol Creams

Retinol creams are helpful for a wide array of skin conditions, from acne to wrinkles. There are prescription and over-the-counter options. No matter what type of retinol you're using and what you're using it for, you need to make sure you're using it properly. Otherwise, you may end up with more side effects and less impressive results. Here are some specific mistakes to avoid when using retinols.

Mistake: Not wearing sunscreen

When you're using a retinol, your skin becomes overly sensitive to sunlight. A few minutes in the sun may not be a big deal for someone else, but it can leave you with sunspots and excessive dryness. Even if you only use your retinol cream at night, your skin will still be reacting to it during the daytime, so get into the habit of applying a good quality sunscreen to your face every morning. If you wear makeup, choosing makeup with SPF 15 or SPF 30 will suffice.

Mistake: Giving up too soon

Retinol works by increasing the rate that your skin cells turn over. It can take your skin some time to get used to the medication, so for the first few weeks, you might have some redness and peeling. This does not mean you should stop using the retinol product. These symptoms will go away in time if you just keep on using your product. In the meantime, you can use a light moisturizer to keep dryness under control. If it's really pronounced, you can reduce your retinol use to once every other day, and then build to using it every day once the peeling subsides.

Mistake: Using other harsh skincare products at the same time

You don't want to use other harsh products like benzoyl peroxide washes and salicylic acid masks when you're using a retinol product. This will just dry your face out too much and make matters worse. Instead, use mild, non-medicated versions of your other skincare products – including cleansers, moisturizers, and toners. You may even want to seek out sensitive skin formulas of these products as they'll contain fewer irritating dyes and scents that may making peeling from the retinol worse.

If you're struggling with your retinol treatments, talk to your dermatologist. They can be finicky, and there's a good chance you just need to make a few adjustments to the way you're using your cream. Remember to be patient, too. You should start to really see the effects after a few weeks of use. For more information, visit sites like