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Retinol is one of the most potent skincare ingredients. Here’s how to use it effectively.

How do I use retinol to maximize skincare benefits?

When using a retinol product, you always want to incorporate it into your nighttime routine. Typically I recommend applying products from thinnest to thickest, so when first starting a retinol, I recommend choosing a cream instead of a serum.

Retinol increases cell turnover in our skin, so for many, it can make you a bit dry or irritated when you first start using it. I always recommend beginning with a moisturizer as your layer before applying the retinol when you first start the product. It is also recommended that you begin the product 2-3 nights per week and work your way up to using it nightly. However, if you have very oily skin, you may be able to tolerate starting it nightly.

How long until I see results from using retinol?

It can take a few months to see changes in your skin. Just remember, using retinol is a long-term strategy for your skincare routine. If you start it now, you will be much better off in 10 years.

Should I plan to incorporate any additional treatments to maximize the benefits of using potent ingredients at home? 

Pairing active skincare ingredients with in-office procedures such as neuromodulator injections and microneedling will elevate your results. 

Suzi Cohen, PA-C

Suzanne Cohen is a physician assistant specializing in aesthetic medicine. She obtained her Masters degree from Pace University and her clinical training at the prestigious Lenox Hill Hospital. She is board-certified by the NCCPA and is licensed by the New Jersey Board of Medicine.

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