If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends in skin care, you would have noticed that retinol is beginning to take over the skin care world.

Retinol is an antioxidant power house; also know as vitamin A. It was first introduced to the skin care world to address acne, and was later found to make a substantial difference in anti-aging, and skin lightening treatments. Today, retinol can be found in almost any form: moisturizers, serums, even cleansers. But how can we be sure we’re using it right? Retinol is extremely powerful and requires proper use to produce a positive change in your skin. In this blog post, we’ll going over some common questions and how to get the most out of your retinol without overdoing it.


Retinol can be used to address skin issues like pigment, acne, or aging. It`s known to improve the overall look and texture of those who use it: with smaller pores and less frequent break outs. It can also be used as a preventative in your skin care routine. If you are looking for an ingredient that will give you results quickly retinol would be your best bet. When retinol is applied to your skin it penetrates to the dermis layer of your skin, where it begins to fight free radicals. This action helps your body to produce more collagen, creating new skin that is firmer and more evenly toned. Most people see its efficacy after just a few skin cycles (about 3 months).




If you`re just starting to use retinol, start slow and low. Retinol should be used in the night time, alongside other skin care products that will remain stable when mixed with retinol (a quick google of your products should tell you if it`s safe). Depending on where you seek information about retinol, you may have been informed that some are suitable for day time use. However, at Laser Essential & Skin Care, we recommend using actives only at night. Your skin can better absorb these ingredients and make proper use of them at night. Additionally vitamins and actives do not mix well with UV rays. To stay safe and to make the most of your active products, use them only in your night time skin care routine, and help preserve your progress with SPF during the day.

Use low percentage retinol to start, and use it only 2 times a week-giving yourself a few days to rest. Too much retinol can do more harm than good. Over use of retinol can lead to thinning of the skin, a huge factor in making your skin seem older and more dull. It is important to use it sparingly when needed. When you start retinol, you will notice your skin may be dry, and flakey for the first few weeks, as your skin adjusts. It can be helpful to some, to mix their retinol with a skin oil, as you help better nourish the skin. After about a month your skin should bounce back.  However, if you are suffering from extreme irritation like dryness and flaking, tight skin, burning when using other products, itchiness/redness, stop the use of retinol immediately. These side effects occur commonly in people who use retinol too often, or if they are applying too much. This could also mean that you have a sensitivity to vitamin A. It is very important to follow the products instructions, as some only call for a small amount. Use of retinol over inflammation, irritation or broken skin can cause it to worsen, and can lead to hyperpigmentation.

Avoid using everyday products that have retinol as an ingredient. As retinol becomes more mainstream, we have begun to see it become incorporated into cleansers, foundations and even lipsticks. While these types of products may seem appealing to some, it is important to look at products like these from a critical point of view.  The efficacy of retinol is compromised in cleansers, as it is washed away with water before it can properly penetrate the skin. Because your lips are not composed of the same tissue as the rest of your skin, it is much thinner and more sensitive to UV damage. If you want to use retinol on your lips, do it at night time and follow with lip moisturizers that have SPF in them during the day. Over all the best way to get retinol into your skin care routine is through serums at night time.



To get the most out of your retinol, you have to pick the retinol that is right for you. Depending on the condition of your skin, and what you’re trying to correct, what you need will be different. The brand you use is just as important. When it comes to strong active ingredients like this, it is so important to check that the brand you’re using is an established brand, that uses science and clinical trials. When a brand is backed by science and clinical trials , it means that there is real evidence and experimentation being done with products; making them safer and more effective. That’s why at Laser Essential & Skin Care we carry retinol products by PCA Skin; a well established brand that makes a wide spectrum of products for every skin type and tone.


If you have extremely sensitive skin, are just starting to use retinol, or are using it as a preventative, PCA’s Sensitive Retinol is your best bet. It has a lower retinol percentage, which makes it great for those just starting out. It has Inflasheild, a patented PCA ingredient that helps to minimize redness, and has been known in some cases to help reduce redness in users who suffer from rosacea.


If your concern is aging skin, PCA’s Retinol Age Define is the best for you. This product is a 0.5% strength, with Retino Peptide, another patented ingredient that helps to firm skin. It also has orange stem extract which is excellent for skin elasticity, and niacinimide which helps to prevent yellowing of the skin; a common occurrence in aging skin.

For those suffering from acne, the PCA Retinol Clarity is best. With 0.5% retinol and 2% salicylic acid, it can easily address your acne and prevent new breakouts from occurring.  It also has lilac leaf, a strong anti oxidant that helps with acne redness and inflammation. Lilac leaf helps also  to eradicate the P. acne bacteria, which causes acne breakouts.

PCA’s Retinol Bright is excellent for pigment. Along with the 0.5% retinol in this product it also has Reservatrol. Reservatrol is a strong antioxidant that is used in skin care to brighten and even skin tone. This product also has hexylresorcinol, an ingredient that helps prevent PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), which occurs when the area suffers from some sort of trauma causing it to darken.

Retinol is a very powerful anti oxidant ingredient, so it isn’t right for everyone. Retinol should be avoided by people who are allergic to vitamin A. If you are someone who uses actives in their skin care routine already,  like acids or antioxidant rich products, it is best to use retinol sparsely. Retinol should only be used at most 2-3 times a week on its own. If you are using it alongside other active products, limit the retinol to once a week on days when you do not use other active ingredients, and give yourself days where no actives are used on your skin. Using too many active ingredients too frequently over time can result in long term damage to your skin.

Retinol should be avoided by people with compromised skin barriers also. Those who are doing laser resurfacing, or chemical peels on a scheduled basis should avoid retinol unless otherwise advised by a skin care specialist. In some cases your skin care specialist may recommend that retinol be added to at home skin care routines alongside professional treatments for better results, however it is not always needed.

If you are not willing to commit to a UV responsible life style, do not use retinol. Because retinol increases cell turnover in your epidermal layer, it can make you extremely sensitive to the sun. If proper precautions are not taken, you risk damage to your skin,  causing pigment and signs of aging to worsen. More seriously, improper sun protection alongside retinol can result in skin cancer. If you are using retinol, add an SPF of at least 40 to your routine. Avoid sun exposure for extended periods of time; bring a hat or umbrella with you especially during the summer months.

This information can be overwhelming for some, but it is important to be fully educated before endeavoring into the world of retinol. There is a lot to take into consideration when it comes to retinol, and while it has great results it can also lead to trouble if not used properly.