Retinol 101

Retinol is a hot ingredient in the skincare community, and for good reason! Retinol has several benefits for the skin, but it is important you know how to properly use this powerhouse ingredient to get the desired results. This week in the blog, we are discussing how to start using Retinol, what to expect, and how to advance your skincare to see the best results with this mega-popular ingredient!

What is Retinol?

Before we get into the ins and outs of Retinol, what is it? Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that is most frequently used to help with aging and blemish-prone skin. Retinol in higher doses must be prescribed by a dermatologist, but Retinol in lower doses is available both online and in stores over the counter. COSMEDIX offers several different Retinols for you to try to help you achieve smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

Where to Start

When starting on your Retinol journey, it is best to start slow to try and avoid any excess dryness. We recommend starting with one of the following Retinols once every 1-3 days to help get you started:

  • Serum 16 Rapid Renewal Serum: Helps smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles with 2X the Retinol! This gentle serum is packed with vitamins and moisture-rich ingredients to help improve the look of skin without causing redness or dryness and is ideal for dry, sensitive skin.
  • Clarity Skin-Clarifying Serum: Helps remove pore-clogging impurities and exfoliate the skin for a smoother, clearer-looking complexion. Formulated with Retinol and Salicylic Acid, Clarity helps reduce the appearance of blemishes on the skin, making this serum ideal for acne-prone skin.
  • Refine Refinishing Treatment: Helps encourage skin renewal and smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to reveal a softer, clearer-looking complexion. Formulated with a 4% AGP Complex (a blend of 0.5% Retinol and Amino Acids), Refine is ideal for oily skin, combination skin, or blemish-prone skin.

What to Expect

When starting to use Retinol, it is normal to experience “purging” which is when your skin is getting cleansed from the deepest level. Retinol pushes any oil and/or skin debris to the surface which occasionally results in acne. This is normal and should pass once your skin has adjusted to the ingredient. However, if your skin is on the sensitive side, we recommend using Bakuchiol Complete Plant Based Retinol Alternative Serum, which is similar to Retinol but is formulated with gentler, Retinol alternatives that give similar results.

**Pro Tip: One way to ease into Retinol use is to create a barrier between your skin and Retinol by applying moisturizer, then Retinol, then moisturizer again. The Retinol will still work this way but will not penetrate your skin directly.

How to Upgrade

Once your skin has adjusted to Retinol and you feel like you are ready for the next step, it may be time to upgrade to Serum 24 from our Elite line! Think of Serum 24 Rapid Renewal Complex Featuring LG-Retinex as the older sister to Serum 16. Serum 24 is similar to Serum 16, but it has a higher level of Retinol and Retinal to help reduce the appearance of medium to deep lines and wrinkles.

To shop more skincare products to pair with your Retinol journey and other bestselling skincare to add to your routine, head to