How to Use Retinol for Glowing Skin in 2023 (Beginners Guide)


Glowing skin is a universal beauty goal, and a  retinol facial serum may just be the secret ingredient to help you achieve it!

This powerful skincare superstar has gained popularity for its impressive anti-aging and skin-transforming benefits. But how do you make the most of this wonder ingredient?

In this comprehensive beginner's guide on how to use retinol, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to effectively apply retinol and layer it with other skincare products for maximum results.

Get ready to unlock the secrets to radiant, youthful skin with retinol!

How to Apply Retinol for Best Results?

Incorporating retinol into your skincare routine works wonders for your complexion. It boosts collagen production, improves skin texture, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

However, you need to know a little bit about applying retinol correctly and allowing your skin time to adjust for the fantastic benefits to take effect. Not doing so may lead to skin irritation and lessen the product’s effectiveness.

Don't worry, just follow our simple step-by-step guide on how to use retinol below for glowing skin!

Step 1: Wash and prepare your delicate skin

Just like any other skincare product, retinol requires a clean canvas to work effectively.

After cleansing, apply eye cream to the delicate eye area.

This step is crucial, as it helps protect the sensitive skin around your eyes and allows you to monitor how your skin reacts to the retinol before applying it to the entire face.

Step 2: Do a small patch test

Perform a patch test before fully immersing yourself in retinol use to prevent any adverse skin reactions.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Apply a small amount of retinol to a discreet area of your skin.
  2. Wait for at least 20 minutes and observe how your skin reacts.
  3. Check the area for any signs of irritation, such as redness, swelling, or itching.

If no irritation occurs, you’re good to go and can proceed with applying retinol to your entire face 😊.

Step 3: Wait a few minutes

After cleansing and applying eye cream, wait a few minutes to allow your skin to dry completely before applying retinol.

This step is crucial because applying retinol on damp skin can increase the risk of irritation.

Give your skin some time to breathe and prepare for the retinol magic to come.

Step 4: Apply a pea-sized amount of retinol

When it comes to retinol, less is more.

Using too much retinol can irritate, so start with a small amount for your entire face.

Gently massage the retinol into your skin using your fingertips, avoiding the delicate eye area.

It’s always better to start small and increase the amount as your skin adjusts to the product.

Step 5: Finish with a moisturizer

Locking in hydration with a moisturizer is advisable after applying retinol.

This not only helps to keep your skin soft and supple but also minimizes the potential side effects of retinol, such as dryness and flaking.

Choose a non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturizer that suits your skin type and gently pat it onto your skin after retinol application.

This way, you’ll seal in all the goodness of retinol while keeping your skin happy and hydrated.

Step 6: Apply a sunscreen

Regardless of whether you’re using retinol, sun protection remains an indispensable part of any skincare routine.

Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays due to new and glowing skin starting to emerge, so apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during the day.

This will protect your skin from sun damage, help preserve the anti-aging benefits of retinol, and keep your skin looking its best.

How often to use retinol?

Introducing retinol into your skincare routine should be done gradually to minimize side effects and give your skin time to adjust. Here’s a suggested timeline.

  1. Start by using retinol twice a week, every three days, in the evenings.
  2. As your skin becomes more tolerant, you can increase the frequency every other day.
  3. Eventually, if desired, you can use retinol every night.

Observe your skin and adjust the frequency based on how it reacts to the retinol treatment.

How much retinol to use?

To achieve your desired results without irritating, start with a small amount of retinol for your face.

As your skin adjusts to the product, you may be able to increase the amount slightly, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and use as little as needed.

Retinol is a powerful tool for improving skin health, but it’s important to know how to use it.

How to use retinol at night?

Applying retinol at night is optimal for maximizing its effectiveness and avoiding sun damage.

Retinol works best when your skin is at rest and can focus on repairing itself. Including retinol in your nighttime skincare routine is basically the same as during the day with a few minor tweaks:

  1. Cleanse your face
  2. Apply a night eye cream
  3. Wait a few minutes
  4. Apply a pea-sized amount of retinol serum
  5. Finish with a nighttime moisturizer

How long should you wait to apply moisturizer after retinol?

Wait 10-20 minutes after applying retinol before applying your moisturizer. This ensures that the retinol has enough time to penetrate the skin and work its magic while the moisturizer provides hydration and additional protection.

What Is The Best Retinol for Beginners?

Choosing the right retinol product is key for those new to this powerful skincare ingredient and you want a beginner-friendly retinol formula that’s gentle yet effective.

ViolaSkin’s 2% Retinol Serum is an excellent option to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine.

ViolaSkin's 2% Retinol Serum

ViolaSkin’s 2% Retinol Serum is:

  • Lightweight and fast-absorbing
  • Diminishes the visibility of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging
  • Supports collagen production
  • Prevents clogged pores
  • Enhances the thickness and elasticity of the skin.

This gentle formula is perfect for retinol beginners, providing noticeable results without causing irritation.

Start by applying a small amount of retinol once a week, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin adjusts.

Remember to moisturize after retinol application and apply sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from sun damage.

How to Layer with Other Skincare Products?

Combining retinol with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, can provide added skin benefits.

In the next sections, we’ll share tips on using retinol in combination with these popular skincare ingredients for optimal results.

How to use retinol and vitamin C together

While retinol and vitamin C serums both provide significant benefits for your skin, there are some things to be aware of when using them together.

The best approach is to apply a natural vitamin C serum during the day to combat free radical damage and retinol at night to promote skin repair and renewal.

By using these powerful skincare ingredients at different times, you’ll enjoy their individual benefits while minimizing the downsides.

How to use retinol and hyaluronic acid together

Pairing retinol with a potent hyaluronic acid is also a winning combination for your skin.

Hyaluronic acid is known for its hydrating properties, which help offseting some of the side effects of retinol, such as dryness and flaking.

To use retinol and hyaluronic acid together:

  1. Apply retinol first.
  2. Follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum instead of a moisturizer.
  3. This will help lock in hydration and ensure your skin stays moisturized and plump while reaping the benefits of retinol.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative and one of the most popular skincare ingredients known for its powerful anti-aging and skin-transforming properties.

Retinol is revered for its ability to smooth fine lines, fade age spots, and revitalize dull skin. It's a key player in many skincare routines due to its versatility and effectiveness, making it a go-to solution for various skin concerns.

From reducing visible signs of aging to improving skin texture, retinol is a potent ingredient that significantly enhances your skin's health and appearance.

Retinol vs. Retinoids?

Although the terms retinol and retinoids are often used interchangeably, they’re not quite the same.

Retinoids are a group of vitamin A derivatives while retinol is a specific type of retinoid with a lower concentration of the active ingredient.

On the other hand, prescription retinoids are more potent and require a doctor’s prescription.

What Does Retinol Do For Your Skin?

Retinol offers a range of benefits for your skin, including:

  • Improving the appearance of acne scars
  • Reducing the signs of aging
  • Stimulating cell turnover
  • Promoting collagen production
  • Exfoliating the skin
  • Resulting in a smoother, more youthful complexion.

Acne Treatment

Retinol is a powerful ally in the fight against acne thanks to its ability to:

  • Unclog pores
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Promote skin cell turnover
  • Prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil that can lead to breakouts.

Additionally, retinol’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated skin and reduce the redness associated with acne.

If acne concerns you, incorporating retinol into your skincare routine can lead to clearer, healthier skin.

Anti-Aging Effects

One of retinol’s most celebrated benefits is its anti-aging effects.

By stimulating collagen production, retinol helps to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

With consistent use, retinol provides these benefits together with a suitable skincare routine.

Brightens Uneven Skin Tone

Retinol is not just for acne and wrinkles; it can also work wonders for brightening uneven skin tone.

By promoting cell turnover, retinol helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and fade dark spots, resulting in a more even, radiant complexion.

Including retinol in your skincare routine helps reveal a brighter, more luminous complexion if you struggle with uneven pigmentation, sun spots, or dull skin.

What about sensitive skin?

You might wonder if retinol is the right choice if you have sensitive skin.

While retinol can cause some irritation, especially during the initial stages of use, there are ways to minimize these side effects.

Start with a low concentration of retinol and gradually increase its frequency as your skin becomes more tolerant.

Always follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen to protect your skin and keep it hydrated.

How To Minimize Side Effects?

Despite its numerous benefits, retinol can cause side effects like redness, dryness, and flaking, particularly during the initial stages of use.

However, by gradually introducing retinol into your skincare routine and ensuring proper moisturizing and sun protection, you can minimize these side effects and enjoy the full benefits of this powerful skincare ingredient.

What about wet skin application?

Contrary to popular belief, applying retinol on wet skin is not recommended.

Doing so can increase the risk of irritation and redness since damp skin is more permeable and may absorb retinol more quickly, leading to potential overexposure.

This is particularly important for those with sensitive skin, who may be more susceptible to experiencing adverse reactions such as redness, dryness, and peeling.

Moreover, applying retinol on wet skin can also dilute the product, reducing its effectiveness. This is because water can interfere with the absorption of active ingredients, potentially decreasing their potency and compromising the results you hope to achieve with your retinol regimen.

Therefore, it's always best to apply retinol on dry skin.

What about retinol that causes peeling?

Another common myth is that peeling is necessary for retinol to be effective.

While it’s true that retinol can cause some initial peeling and dryness, this is not a requirement for the product to work its magic. In fact, this peeling is often a side effect of the skin's adjustment to the potent ingredient and not an indicator of retinol's effectiveness.

Peeling skin can be a sign of irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin or use a high-strength retinol. Not everyone will experience peeling, and it doesn't mean that the retinol isn't working if you don't peel.

The benefits of retinol, such as smoother skin, reduced wrinkles, and improved skin tone, can all be achieved without visible peeling.

If you do experience peeling, don't panic! It's a typical response and usually subsides as your skin adjusts to the retinol.

In the meantime, you can help soothe your skin by reducing the frequency of retinol use and moisturizing your skin.

A Retinol Serum That Works!

Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient with numerous benefits for your skin, from treating acne to reducing the signs of aging.

ViolaSkin's 2% retinol serum is especially effective with added hydrating and natural ingredients like:

  • High-quality Pure Retinol
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Organic Aloe Vera

Just make sure to follow the step-by-step guide outlined in this article and gradually introduce retinol into your skincare routine.

With the right approach, retinol will help you achieve the glowing, youthful skin you’ve always dreamed of.