Is Retinol for ME?

Retinol is a naturally occurring Vitamin A derivative and also a medical-grade acid! A one-stop-shop, do-it-all type of product, Retinol helps improve collagen production, provides natural plumpness to the skin, and can smooth out fine lines. I always recommend that anyone over the age of 25 should definitely be incorporating a medical-grade acid into your skincare regimen. Using acids can really make a CHANGE in your skin. If nothing else, start with a Cleanser, Retinol and a Moisturizer.

Let’s talk details about retinol

Retinol works by increasing skin cell turnover. It encourages dead skin cells to fall away from the skin, which stimulates the regeneration of new skin cells. As we age, the skin cell turnover process slowly declines, so a product like retinol can help a woman in her 40s have the same rate of skin cell turnover as a woman in her 20s! Who wouldn’t want that? This process leaves the skin more tight, bright, FRESH, and YOUTHFUL. Retinol also helps to cure acne, lighten and erase pigmentation, reduce pores, and fight fine lines and wrinkles. This is everything you could ask from a product, really.

What is the difference between Retinol and Retin-A?

Retinol is a little more dilute and less irritating on the skin, especially in those new to the product. Retin-A is the more purified form and requires a prescription. In my practice, I will sometimes put patients on Retin-A once they have been using retinol for a while with success but still need a little more help. Out of the two retinol is the best place to start.

How to Start Using Retinol In Your Skin Care Regimen

I recommend taking it slow. A little goes a long way. Start off using retinol 2-3x per week. As you tolerate the product more, you can slowly and gradually increase the frequency of use over time. For example, slowly increase from using every 3rd night to every other night. It can take the skin anywhere from 4-6 weeks to become acclimated to retinol, and during this time, it is normal to experience dryness, flakiness, or mild redness. This is what I call the “purging” process. The retinol is helping to exfoliate all of the “junk” up and out of the skin. This is shedding of those dead skin cells and unclogging pores. It sometimes is not fun, but it is an important part of the process. This is how the product is going to get your skin looking more fresh, clear, and bright!

In my practice I use Lux Cream and Forever Young Retinol 50 & 100. I like to start patients who are new to retinol on the Lux Cream. The cream is great for people with sensitive skin. Forever Young Retinol 50 & 100 are good for more mature skin or someone who has been using retinol already. It is stronger than the cream so it can be a bit drying at first. I like to have patients do a round or two of the cream and then switch to the Retinol 50/100.

Get started on Retinol today!  Order below 🙂

If you are new to retinol or have sensitive skin:

  1. Cleanse with RFA Gentle Foaming Cleaner
  2. Apply Lux Cream 2-3x per week at bedtime.
  3. Do not moisturize on top of the cream, but DO Moisturize on alternating nights with HydraLipid Moisturizer.

For more mature skin or a previous retinol user:

  1. Cleanse with RFA Gentle Foaming Cleanser
  2. Apply Retinol 2-3x per week at bedtime (Retinol 50 or Retinol 100)
  3. Moisturize Nightly with HydraLipid Moisturizer.

Again, you will likely go through what I like to call the “purging phase” for the first couple of weeks of use.  During this period it is normal to see some shedding of dead skin, redness or irritation, and surfacing of white/blackheads. This is a good thing! You are seeing the effects of the cream working! This is the skin shedding off that old, dead skin and bringing all of that “junk” up and out of the skin. After you have been using the product for a few weeks you will no longer see these effects, and you will then be able to use it more frequently with less side effects.

I would love for you to read my recent blog on skin purging as I believe it will answer all of your questions and put your mind at ease! ADJUSTING TO MEDICAL GRADE SKIN CARE – TIPS FOR EXPERIENCING SKIN PURGING

Using Retinol with Other Exfoliants?

If you’ve been using retinol for a while, it might be time to “boost” your skin plan. I recommend that you start with one exfoliating pad at a time, and as your skin acclimates, we can add the next exfoliation pad to address your concerns. 

For Pigment

Koji-C pads pair great with retinol. Koji-C will focus on evening skin tone, while retinol focuses on texture, pores, fine lines and wrinkles. Alternating the two is an excellent approach. 

Lumify Pads are another alternative. Lumify can be alternated or even layered with retinol to boost the effects. These pads will work on texture and pigment.

Retinol can be used in sensitive skin and in rosacea prone patients (and it can help) but again just go slow with it and don’t quit. It’s a marathon to good skin, not a race.  It doesn’t happen overnight but if you make a commitment to better skin – we will get you there!



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8 thoughts on “Is Retinol for ME?”

  1. I just want to make sure that I’m understanding this correctly. I have sensitive/dry skin/ with mild rosacea. Are you saying not to moisturize when I use the pads? Can I use my Hyaluronic serum or anything else?? Thanks!

  2. If you have sensitive/dry/rosacea I would suggest using a moisturizer or HA serum on top. You can always try it without once you are better adjust to the retinol. I hope this helps!

    1. .25% in the pads and .6% in the cream. These are medical grade so you know you are getting the true potency. I love the pads because I can use them regularly without getting too dry! I like to alternate the retinol pads with the Koji Pads nightly. Let me know if you need any help!

  3. I just started using the retinol and was unsure about moisturizing after. I usually use epionce lotion at night. Is that okay to use after the retinol application?

    1. I would start by using the retinol pads every other night with no moisturizer on top. On the “off” nights you can moisturize. If you are super sensitive or dry you can moisturize on top, but the pads will be most potent if you do not.

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Racquel Frisella

Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & Aesthetic Specialist based in Saint Louis, Missouri

I work as a cosmetic injector and skincare specialist with 12 years of experience in the Aesthetic Industry. I see patients both in-office at Racquel Aesthetics for treatments as well as online for customized, complimentary skincare plans. I focus heavily on preventative and corrective injections, treatments, and skincare.  My career is my passion and I love to help people feel like the very best version of themselves. I am a wife and a mother of 3 beautiful children under the age of 3. I love all things beauty, fashion, and fitness. I am creating this site as a place to share my expertise on beauty, anti-aging, and skin while also giving a glimpse into my lifestyle as a mom, wife and lover of fitness!  


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