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How To Use Retinol For Skin Health & Acne (+Benefits)

Written by Shelby Torrese

Retinol has been shown to help improve to look and feel of your skin—but using it correctly can be a bit tricky. Discover how to use retinol for skin health & best results!

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There’s nothing more frustrating than skin issues. Whether you deal with fine lines and wrinkles, or have dealt with acne for as long as you can remember, you know the frustration of skin flare-ups. The discomfort may be familiar, but what about the remedy?

Anyone who’s dealt with skin conditions knows the cycle of trying every product under the sun, only to end back up with one of the first ones they tried. (At least, I hope that’s not just me!) If you are into skincare and beauty products, it’s very likely that you’ve come across retinol for skin before. Especially if you deal with acne. Skin products are expensive, and they add up quickly, so making sure you’re buying the right items and using them correctly is crucial!

Retinol can be found in a range of products, and is highly sought after for its skin clearing effects. Retinol for skin use is very common, but it’s often used incorrectly. If you’ve ever wondered “how does retinol work?” or “what does retinol do for your skin?” then this blog is for you! I’ll be going over everything from what retinol is to how it works, and how to make the most of it!

What Is Retinol?

Retinol for skin is a derivative of vitamin A. It’s an over-the-counter version of retinoids, which are the active form of vitamin A. Retinoids come in both oral and topical formulas for a variety of skin conditions, and are often prescribed by a dermatologist or health professional. A more accessible option for retinol for skin can be found in many beauty products, and some over-the-counter formulas, that you do not need a prescription for.

retinol for skin

What Does Retinol Do For Your Skin? (Benefits)

I hear it all the time. “What does retinol do for your skin, how does retinol work? There isn’t a short answer, because retinol actually has a lot of uses! Retinol can help treat and reduce a variety of skin conditions, and is commonly found in topical beauty products. Here are some of the most common uses of retinol for skin:

1. Acne

Stubborn acne can be extremely frustrating, and even start to take a toll on self-esteem. Retinol has been a saving grace for many people that deal with acne, because it can get to the root cause of most causes of acne. Retinol actually works to unclog pores, helping clear acne, but also prevent it from occurring again.

2. Fine lines

Another common answer to the question what does retinol do for your skin, is that it helps with anti-aging! Similarly to how it helps treat acne, because retinol for skin products penetrate deeper into the skin and pores, it can help heal fine lines and wrinkles, which begin in the more foundational layers of the skin. It’s also helpful if you’re looking to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and is found in most anti-aging products on the market.

3. Skin tone and texture

When digging into some answers on how does retinol work, I found that it has naturally exfoliating properties. This helps improve dull or uneven skin, and can help brighten and smooth out skin texture and tone. The exfoliating nature also helps increase collagen production, improving skin elasticity and aging, as mentioned above.

4. Helps reduce pores

This is a huge selling point for many women. If you deal with pesky, large pores, then retinol may be a great ingredient to look out for in your next skincare purchase. Again, by accessing the deeper layers of the skin, retinol can help heal skin from the foundational layers.

Now that you know what exactly retinol is and the benefits of retinol for skin, let’s answer one of the most common questionshow does retinol work?

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How Does Retinol Work?

The best way to understand retinol and answer the frequently asked question of how does retinol work, is to first understand the layers of the skin. We have the epidermis (the layer we can see and feel), the dermis (the layer just below this), and the subcutaneous layer. Most skincare products exfoliate and remove dead skin cells living on the surface of the epidermis. Retinol, on the other hand, can actually penetrate into the dermis layer of the skin. This is where the real skin changing benefits happen. Here, retinol works to boost collagen production, reduce fine lines, improve skin tone, and all of the other amazing benefits previously mentioned.

How To Use Retinol For Skin Health

So, you’ve read all the benefits of retinol and now you’re ready to use it! What many people don’t know (and causes them to miss out on the power of retinol) is that it’s most effective when supplemented by proper vitamin C levels. While you can eat foods that are high in vitamin C, I prefer a double-whammy of a supplement. What I mean by that is Super Youth Tropical Punch collagen. The new formula not only provides all of the amazing benefits of collagen of course, but it contains vitamin C! Collagen and retinol for skin greatly benefit from vitamin C. So, if you want to make the most of your beauty purchases, I highly recommend taking a vitamin C supplement, or switching to the new Super Youth formula that includes it. Plus, sipping on your beauty routine is so much more fun! 😉

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About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


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