8 Facts About Retinol Creams

Retinoids are substances derived from vitamin A that are used in skin care. Retinol, which is one form of retinoid, is easily incorporated into creams that are available over the counter or online, and has a long list of applications ranging from anti-aging to fighting acne.

facts about retinol creams


However, there aren’t many people who are aware of retinol creams, and for those who do know about them, there may be some misconceptions preventing them exploring the healing benefits of these products. Listed below are 5 quick facts about retinol creams:

1. They Have Rejuvenating Qualities

Retinol cream are almost unmatched in their ability to rejuvenate skin that’s been damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet light. The retinol stimulates the body to shed dead, dry skin cells, and produce new, healthy ones and move them to the surface of the skin quickly. This helps smooth out wrinkles, clear acne and correct other problems with the skin such as uneven pigmentation.

anti-aging skincare

2. They Should Be Yellowish In Appearance

Retinol is bright yellow in color, so any good retinol cream will be some shade of yellow, or what many describe as a “tinted yellow”.

retinol creams

If your retinol cream is white in color, that usually means it lacks enough retinol to actually improve your skin, either because the retinol has already broken down or there was never enough in it to begin with.

3. They Are Quite Gentle

Retinoids can be irritating to the skin, but when they are placed in creams, the irritation that they cause is lessened. This is because most retinol creams are mixed with other ingredients to blunt any irritating effect they might have on the skin. Still, it is recommended that users start with a small amount and increase the dosage gradually until they can tolerate full strength.

Being placed in a cream might make retinol a bit less absorbable which renders it less powerful than other types of retinoids, however, cosmetics researchers are looking for ways to make retinol creams penetrate more deeply into the skin and become more potent.

4. Retinol Creams Aren’t Very Expensive

Though high-end retinol creams made by luxury brands can be pricey, this isn’t the case with most creams made by less well-known brands. Some very good retinol creams can be had for less than $20 but ensure that they’re housed in aluminum containers to protect them from light and air.

Retinol creams that are placed in translucent jars tend to oxidize and lose their potency fairly quickly.

5. They Work Best At Night

Applying your retinol cream during the daytime, especially if you’re going out into the sun, can do more harm than good for your skincare goals. This is because the new skin cells that retinol helps to bring forth will be extremely delicate and therefore, quite vulnerable to the sun’s uv rays.

use retinoids at night

Sunlight and air also break down the actual retinol in the cream, rendering it less effective. Of course, in order to use the retinol, it must be exposed to air, but what we can control is the sun exposure so it should only be used at night.

6. Retinol Creams Can be Bought Over-the-Counter

Many types of retinoids need a prescription from the patient’s general physician or from their dermatologist. On the other hand, there are many brands of retinol creams that can be bought over-the-counter like any other kind of face cream.

7. It Takes Time

A person who uses retinol creams should see results after about four to six months. Fine wrinkles will soften, acne clears up, and areas of uneven pigmentation become smoother and clearer.

8. Pregnant Women Should Not Use Retinoids

Retinoids should never be taken by pregnant women. Oral retinoids such as tretinoin are notorious for causing birth defects. Though topical creams haven’t been seen to result in birth defects since they don’t penetrate very deeply into the body, it is still a good idea to discontinue them during pregnancy.

do not use retinoids when pregnant

Do you incorporate any retinol creams into your skincare routine? Do you use it for anti-aging or for acne treatment?

*This is a collaborative post.


  1. September 21, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    I am a big fan of retinol-based creams and serums (from over-the-counter to prescription), and use them at night all of the time. Of course I always use high SPF sunscreens when using retinol, but I find it one of the most effective anti-aging products that makes a real difference.

  2. September 21, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    I just started on a retinol serum that is yellowish and thick like a cream. I’m happy to have read this to see that it’s on the right track. I bought it at the dermatologist and it was expensive but if it helps me I’ll search other brands.
    MarciaF recently posted…Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop #fabulousFALLMy Profile

  3. September 22, 2018 / 9:56 am

    With my rosacea, I have to be very careful of retinol.

  4. September 24, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I did not know that a white retinol meant that it lacked enough retinol, I just thought they tinted it back white or that the yellow ones were tinted to make you think it was different. Good to know!
    Cassie Tucker recently posted…Glamtech Magnetic Palette Review – #KitWorthyMy Profile

  5. September 25, 2018 / 9:30 am

    I like retinol based creams But people with delicate skin should be very careful,
    it is not the best for all skin types.
    Thanks for sharing so complete post!

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