Reasons You Aren’t Using Retinoids (And Why You Should Be!)

The Report Card: 

Pretty: A+ 

Low Maintenance: A 

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When I was little, I used to say that I would never get plastic surgery or dye my hair when I got older.

“I’m all about aging gracefully,” I would declare serenely over my Fruit Loops, which was easy for me to say with baby-perfect skin and the prepubescent body of a runway model.

I have since changed my tune, partly because now I actually am aging. But also, I went to a science exhibit where you could see what your face looks like as it ages, and boy, was my face a scary place to see. I now know what I would look like as a cast member of The Walking Dead. I wish I still had the picture of it to show you, but all evidence was destroyed.

Thankfully for me, and for you, retinoids/retinols exist and they are extremely effective anti-aging agents.  If you aren’t using one of these, there are a probably a few reasons why:

  1. You’ve never heard of them. If you haven’t heard of a retinoid or retinol before, it’s basically a fancy way of saying Vitamin A derivative. Retinoids/Retinols smooth fine lines, lighten dark spots, unclog pores, increase skin cell turnover, and brighten skin. These effects are super scientific and proven over years of dermatological research, so it’s not like putting a bunch of Goop all over your face and hoping to come out looking like Gwyneth Paltrow. My skin guru, Debbie, told me to start using these around age 25, so if you’re in that age range or older, it’s a good time to start.
  2. You’ve heard too many terms (retinols, retin-A, retinoids) and you are confused. Retinoids and retinols are both Vitamin A derivatives, but retinoids are more powerful than retinols. Most over-the-counter options are retinols, where as retinoids (like Retin-A) likely require a prescription.  This means that you’ll see the effects faster when using a retinoid, but it also means that retinoids could feel harsher on your skin. Which leads me to my next reason:
  3. You’re worried retinoids will make your skin look bad. It’s true that using a retinoid or retinol can cause your skin look red, flaky, and irritated– I call this reti-face. To prevent reti-face from happening, use only every few days until your skin gets used to the product, or use the less-potent retinol to ease your way in. (I use a retinol and I love it, but found it to be extremely strong at first. Not sure how I would do with a retinoid!)
  4. You think it’s too expensive. Retinoids can be covered with insurance depending on your plan, and retinols are extremely affordable. I found this one, this one, and this one all under $20.
  5. You’re all about wrinkles: More power to you if you want to let your skin take its own path into aging. I won’t be joining you, but I support you 100%!




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