The ultimate guide and 10 Myths about retinol which you need to unlearn

Retinol for skin – 10 Myths about retinol!


Vitamin A is the first vitamin to be approved as an anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing agent by the FDA. Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble vitamins which fall under the category of Retinoids. Retinoids are compounds of natural and synthetic active forms of Vitamin A. Vitamin A and its derivatives, especially Retinol is the most effective to reduce ageing by penetrating the deeper layers of skin and influence the secretion of growth factors. Many forms of Retinols are used in cosmetic and dermatological skincare treatments to provide a wide range of functions – anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing, acne, depigmentation, antioxidant, etc.

myths about retinol
image source:

Benefits of retinoids for skin-

  • Retinoids for Acne –


The first retinoid approved for acne was in 1971. The mechanism is such that when applied on the skin, retinoids unclog pores and allow other medications to work better. They also reduce outbreaks by preventing the pores from dead cells. These may at times lead to reduced formation of acne scars. Retinoids when taken in the form of pills treat oil production and inflammation.

How to use – Retinoid cream (dermatological conformation advised) is applied on the skin once daily 20 mins after face wash.

Something you should know – External application of Retinoid may be rejected by the body at times, then you can notice worsening of acne, redness, etc. This can be reduced by using the cream on alternate days or mixing it with your favorite moisturizer.


  • Retinoids for Wrinkles –


Tretinoin was the first one to get approval to treat wrinkles by FDA. This works by increasing new collagen formation and also stimulates new blood vessels in the skin. This also helps to fade age spots and prevent UV effects on the skin.

Something you should know – It takes 3 to 6 months of regular use (at least twice a week) for visible results.


  • Retinoids for Psoriasis –


Retinoids slow the growth of skin cells in patients with Psoriasis and are often combined with Steroidal treatments.

myths about retinol
image source: allure

Here are some common retinol side effects –


  1. Dryness
  2. Irritation
  3. Changes in skin color
  4. Sensitivity to sunlight
  5. Redness
  6. Swelling
  7. Blisters
  8. Skin peeling


Some precautions you can take –


  1. Always use a sunscreen
  2. Always use in prescribed amounts only
  3. Use a good moisturizer along with them


With so many benefits, it is obvious to come across some myths. So, I’ll clear the top 10 most common myths about Retinol.

myths about retinol
image source:

Retinol Myth 1. 

 All Retinol are the same.

NO! Retinoids are a huge family of compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. The most commonly available forms of Retinoids in skincare are – Retinol, Retinoid Esters, Adapalene, and Retinoic acid (given on prescription only).

Retinol Myth 2.

Retinol can thin your skin.

NO! It is one of the myths about retinol because the first side effect to occur on the usage of retinoids is believed to be skin peeling. But this isn’t true. The opposite could be true as retinoids stimulate collagen production that helps to thicken the skin and this is beneficial as you age.

Retinol Myth 3.

Teenagers can’t use Retinol.

To be precise, retinoids are intended to treat acne when introduced into the skincare line. It was prescribed to many youngsters suffering from the same. There is no age restriction to the use of retinoids.

Retinol Myth 4.

Retinol show results in 3-6 weeks.

How do we wish this was true? But no! Fact is that 3-6 months is the minimum time to see visible results.

Retinol Myth 5. 

I should stop the use of retinol if I have redness or skin peeling.

This is one of those most common myths about retinol but let me tell you, retinol go by the saying ‘worse-before-better’. Redness, dryness, peeling, etc. are the most immediate side effects of the use of retinol. These subside after a couple of weeks once the skin gets used to it.

Retinol Myth 6.

Daily use gives the best results.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Sometimes daily use gives the best results and at times few times a week also may provide similar results. How fast the results show up doesn’t entirely depend on the number of times of application but depends on the type and strength of the retinoid used.

Retinol Myth 7.

More the application, better the results.

NO! Never over-do. This one being literally the worst myths about retinol. Excessive applications may lead to unwanted and undesirable side effects.

Retinol Myth 8.

Stronger retinol, faster or better the results.

This is the case where annoying side effects bump in without the results. Building a tolerance for retinoids will give the best results rather than jumping to the strongest formula at once.

Retinol Myth 9.

Retinol aren’t for sensitive skin.

Retinoids are thought to be a harsh ingredient for your skin because of their side effects but sensitive skin can tolerate them with little modifications.

 Retinol Myth 10. 

Retinol exfoliate the skin.

This is again a widely believed misconception – they’re derivatives of vitamin A and hence are considered antioxidants. But the truth is retinoids can’t exfoliate on their own.


So, these were the top 10 myths about retinol busted for you. You can now with precautions include retinol in your skincare. Hope this was helpful!


Also, read;

10 Hair growth myths and facts you must know about

Like it? Share with your friends!