Unveiling the Truth: The Right Way to Use Retinoids - Debunking 6 Common Myths


In this article, dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss aims to debunk six common myths about retinol. Retinol, a type of retinoid, is a powerful ingredient known for its anti-aging and skin-improving properties. However, many people have misconceptions about its usage and benefits. Dr. Idriss provides guidance on how to correctly incorporate retinoids into your skincare routine.

Myth #1: Higher Percentage Means Better Results

Contrary to popular belief, using a higher percentage of retinol doesn't necessarily yield better results. It's more important to find a retinol product that suits your skin type and gradually build up your tolerance. Starting with a low concentration and increasing slowly will help prevent irritation.


Myth #2: Retinol Thins the Skin

There is no evidence to support the claim that retinol thins the skin. In fact, retinoids strengthen the skin by boosting collagen production and improving cell turnover, making it appear thicker and healthier.

Myth #3: Retinol Can Only Be Used at Night

While retinol is often recommended for nighttime use due to its photosensitivity and potential for irritation under sunlight, it can be used during the day as long as you wear sunscreen. However, it is still preferable to use it at night for better efficacy.

Myth #4: Retinol is too Harsh for Sensitive Skin

Retinol can be used by individuals with sensitive skin, but it should be introduced gradually. Selecting weaker formulations and incorporating moisturizers can help minimize potential irritation. It is advisable to consult a dermatologist to determine the best course of action for your specific skin type.


Myth #5: Retinol is Only for Mature Skin

Retinol can benefit individuals of all ages, not just those with mature skin. It helps to prevent and treat acne, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and improve overall skin texture and radiance.

Myth #6: Retinol is Ineffective in Skincare

Retinol is a scientifically proven ingredient that can rejuvenate the skin. It stimulates collagen production, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and helps fade hyperpigmentation. It may take a few weeks or months to see visible results, but consistency is key.

Now that the myths have been debunked, Dr. Idriss provides guidance on how to correctly use retinoids. Firstly, start with a low concentration retinol product and gradually increase usage to allow your skin to adjust. It is important to moisturize regularly to maintain the skin's barrier function and reduce potential irritation. Additionally, always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Lastly, be patient and consistent with your retinoid treatment, as it takes time to see noticeable improvements in the skin.


In conclusion, retinol is a powerful ingredient that can greatly improve the condition of your skin when used correctly. By debunking these common myths and following the recommended guidelines, you can incorporate retinoids into your skincare routine effectively and achieve healthier, more youthful-looking skin.