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Skincare Tips: When Should You Start Using Retinol?

Retinol can be used even earlier under the guidance of a dermatologist if one has skin concerns like acne.

Skincare Tips: When Should You Start Using Retinol?

Retinol helpsreduce wrinkles, improves skin texture and promotes collagen production

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is a very powerful ingredient that helps reduce wrinkles, improves skin texture and promotes collagen production. Its benefits are well-established and known by most skincare enthusiasts. However, the question of when to start using retinol still remains on top.

What's the right age to start?

Dermatologists often recommend to start using retinol in your 20s, because that is when there is a natural decline in collagen production. Starting early can help prevent future signs of ageing and maintain youthful skin. Retinol can be used even earlier under the guidance of a dermatologist if one has skin concerns like acne.

However, the right age to start retinol varies for each person and depends on several factors:

  • Skin type: Those with sensitive skin should start with a lower concentration of retinol and gradually increase tolerance to avoid irritation. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, retinol can help you with its ability to regulate oil production.
  • Sun protection: Using retinol increases skin sensitivity to the sun, making sunscreen application crucial to prevent sun damage. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive sun exposure can also impact skin concerns and should be controlled to extract the maximum benefit out of retinol.
  • Alternatives: If you are not ready for retinol or prefer alternatives, there are other anti-ageing ingredients that you can consider. Peptides, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are good options that provide similar benefits without the potential side effects of retinol.

The Bottom Line

Before incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, consult a dermatologist to get your skin type, concerns and underlying conditions evaluated. This will help you determine if and when retinol is suitable for you. Also, ensure you're using it right- apply at night and avoid around the delicate eye area. If you spot any side effects such as dryness, irritation, and increased sun sensitivity, consult a professional and discontinue use immediately.

While there's no rule of thumb as to when to start using retinol, consulting a dermatologist is important to ensure its safety and effectiveness for your needs and enjoy its anti-ageing benefits for years to come!

(Dr. Neha Khuraana, MD, a Board-certified Dermatologist and Founder, House of Aesthetics)

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