RETINOL: Answers to your FAQ’s! by Kristin Scord, PA-C

What is Retinol?

Retinol–or vitamin A–is holy-grail ingredient in the world of dermatology – and backed by science!  Studies have shown that repeated topical application of tretinoin can reverse the effects of photo-aging, stimulate cellular turnover, fight acne, and inhibit collagen breakdown in the presence of UV exposure.  The results? Diminished fine lines and wrinkles, glowy clear skin, and minimized pores.  Yes please!


How Does Retinol Work?

  1. Aging skin produces less collagen, resulting in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. Retinol stimulates fibroblasts, cells deep below the skin’s surface, to produce more collagen.
  3. New collagen begins to move upwards to the skin’s surface, and the rate of cell turnover increases.
  4. Collagen spreads evenly and fresh skin cells emerge lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


What is the difference between “Prescription” vs “OTC” Retinol?

Essentially, prescription-strength retinoids are generally stronger than over-the-counter retinol products.  Common prescription names are Adapalene, Tazorac (or tazarotene) and Retin-A (or tretinoin).


Should I use it and if so, which strength? 

Both over-the-counter retinol and prescription retinoids are very effective!  It really depends on your skin type, tolerance level and concerns as to which may work best for you!  Stronger may not always be the best if you’re sensitive!  Take the time to gradually introduce it to your skincare regimen to minimize irritation.  If you struggle with acne, it’s likely that a prescription is best.


How should I use it?

Retinol should be used in the evening on clean skin.  Due to its potential for causing some mild irritation, following with a moisturizer is recommended.  If sensitive, you can apply using a “Gentle Sandwich” approach: apply moisturizer first, then your retinoid, then repeat moisturizer on top! Remember to be very diligent with your sunscreen every day as retinol can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun!


Example of a Routine with Retinol:

  1. Thoroughly wash skin in the evening
  2. A. If sensitive, apply moisturizer (like Alumier’s HydraRich or MD McNeill’s Intensive Night Repair)
  1. Apply retinol/retinoid to dry skin (Note: only use a thin layer if OTC strength, pea-size amount in thin layer if prescription)
  1. Apply moisturizer once retinol is absorbed
  2. Note: Make sure to wear sunblock daily!
  3. Extra: Include a gentle exfoliator (like MD McNeill’s Polisher)  in the morning to help remove any dead skin and glow!


Interested?  NBDPS can help determine the best version for you with both prescription and medical-grade over-the-counter products available!


Products Featured in this Blog:


Alumier HydraRich


MD McNeill Intensive Repair Night Cream


Alumier Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.5


Alumier Retinol Resurfacing Serum 1.0


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