When To Start Using Retinol: Is It Too Early Or Too Late? (How To Know)


Have you ever heard of retinol?

Do you often wonder if this skin care treatment is right for you?

Would you like to learn more about when to start using retinol?

If any of this sounds familiar, your certainly in the RIGHT PLACE. Read on below...

In this article, we’ll break down all the pros and cons of using retinol earlier in life versus later. You’ll find out when this product is usually recommended for use, and you’ll be able to figure out whether or not it’s right for your skin care needs.

By the time you finish reading, you should know if retinol is the right wrinkle treatment for you, but don’t forget to talk to your dermatologist if you still have questions. Now, let’s get started!

What is retinol?

benefits of retinol usage

Retinol is a buzzword you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot lately, but what is it really? Simply put, retinol is a molecule that is reactive to sunlight and air. It is a component, or a derivative, of vitamin A, which is a vitamin that specifically targets skin health. There are natural retinol receptors in the skin, and they use retinol to encourage the growth of new, healthy collagen. Retinol can be found in serums and creams that are used to deposit this molecule into the skin, where it can do its job.

When should you start using retinol?

There’s some debate about when to begin using retinol. Many sources of beauty tips and information recommend getting started with it as early as 20 or so, while many others suggest waiting until the mid-30s to start using it. For the most part, however, it seems that people tend to agree that 30 is roughly a good time to begin using retinol. Everyone’s experience will be different, of course, and only your dermatologist or skin care specialist can let you know for sure if it’s time for you to begin a retinol regimen.

PROS of using retinol EARLIER than recommended

Using retinol earlier than recommended does have its positives, although if you do this, it should be under the supervision of a skin care specialist who can help you look out for problems that may arise from it. Bear in mind that you should not use retinol if you’re still younger than 20.

what is retinol
  • You can prevent wrinkles from forming before they get started. Retinol may keep wrinkles at bay for many more years than normal if you start it at the right point in your younger years.
  • Fine lines are easier to remove when you’re younger. If you’re starting to notice a few fine lines, chances are good they haven’t gotten very noticeable yet. When they’re still small like this, they’re easier to remove.
  • Your skin can heal more quickly at this age. Retinol will work more quickly and more effectively as your skin is younger and better at healing itself.

CONS of using retinol EARLIER than recommended

You could run into some problems from using retinol too early, however. There are many reasons why it isn’t widely recommended to start using retinol at an early age. Below, we’ve listed just a few of the potential hazards you could encounter from using retinol before you need it, but there may be other risks out there as well. Speak to your dermatologist for more information.

why use retinol
  • Your skin could be too sensitive for it. Younger skin is often too sensitive to products like this one.
  • You could trigger an adult acne breakout. Most of the time, young adults who try retinol end up with severe acne breakouts because of it, so you may want to wait a while because of this risk.
  • You could get worse sunburns. Retinol may make sun damage more likely when you’re young.

PROS of using retinol LATER than recommended

If you choose to wait a little while to begin retinol, you may have some positive outcomes too. It’s generally less worrisome to start using retinol later in life than it is to begin too early, and most dermatologists will tell you that it’s truly never too late to start working on your skin. Even if you feel like your skin is beyond help, that isn’t true, and retinol may be able to make a big difference for you.

how to use retinol
  • You won’t have to worry about it becoming less effective over time. Retinol doesn’t work the same way forever, but when you start it later in life, you’ll be able to enjoy its effects for longer.
  • You’ll be less likely to trigger acne breakouts. Although there’s always a chance retinol will trigger acne breakouts on your face regardless of your age, this is much less common when you’re a little older and less acne-prone.
  • Your skin will be less sensitive to harsher levels of retinol. You can use prescription retinol without worrying about it damaging your skin the way it would if you were younger.

CONS of using retinol LATER than recommended

Using retinol too late could have some negative results. For the most part, these are a little easier to deal with than the risks associated with using retinol too early, but they’re still worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to decide whether or not this type of treatment is right for you.

when to start using retinol
  • You may need a prescription for a stronger version. Your skin may not take well to the lighter, easier forms of retinol out there, so you might need to talk to a professional to get a prescription for something stronger to do the job.
  • You’ll have more to take care of, so it may take longer. You may have more wrinkles and fine lines than you did in the past, so you should expect to wait a little bit longer to se noticeable results from later in life retinol treatments.
  • You could drastically increase the risk of sun damage. As you get older, your skin thins out more, and its more susceptible to sun damage. Because of this, using retinol too much later in life may make you a lot more likely to get sunburns and other types of damage from the sun, especially if you forget sunscreen.


So what do you think? Is retinol right for you? If you’re still in your early 20s, you may be better off waiting until you are at least in your late 20s or early 30s to start using it. However, if you’re older, remember it’s always a good idea to give retinol a try if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your skin. And if you have any further questions, speak to a dermatologist or skin care professional to learn everything you need to know about what to expect from a retinol-based skin care treatment program.

Additional Research:

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