One of the most common questions my patients ask me is "When should I start using retinol?" But for me, the more important question patients should be asking is "How do I stay consistent with retinol?"
That's because the answer to the first question is easy: Whatever your age, the time to start retinol is whenever you wish to treat or prevent lines and wrinkles along with uneven pigment, age spots, rough texture, large pores, general laxity, post-blemish traces or occasional breakouts. Or maybe your skin is just looking a little blah. In other words, the time to begin is now.
Staying consistent with retinol is a problem many people face. Retinol gives great results, but many people give up before they start seeing results, because they find it tricky to use.
Retinoids (of which retinol is a valued family member) have long been some of my top favorite topical ingredients because of their extraordinary multitasking ability. They refine the look of skin unevenness and also actually help thicken and fortify it structurally. Technically, a robust retinol routine accelerates skin cell turnover as well as triggers production of new collagen and elastin, the springy connective tissues that give skin its youthful resiliency. So why do people have trouble being consistent with retinol?
In my experience it’s usually for these reasons:
1) Your skin has to gradually build up tolerance to retinol—a process called retinization
2) You need to figure out the right concentration, and schedule nights on and nights off
3) You will not see results immediately—it will take about 4 to 12 weeks.