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May 18, 2024

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How to use retinol in different stages of life

In the quest for youthful, radiant skin, retinol has emerged as a holy grail ingredient. Loved for its proven ability to reduce fine lines, fade dark spots, and promote collagen production, retinol has become a staple in skincare routines worldwide. However, the approach to using retinol isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to age.

As we age, our skincare needs evolve, and retinol can be a valuable ally in maintaining youthful, radiant skin. Understanding how to incorporate the product into your routine based on your age can help you achieve optimal results while avoiding potential pitfalls. Dr. Geetika Srivastava, Founder of Influennz Skin and Hair Clinic shares her guide to using retinol in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. 

Dr. Geetika Srivastava, Founder – Influennz Skin and Hair Clinic

In Your 20s: Laying the Foundation

In your early 20s, it’s not necessary to use retinol yet. Instead, focus on establishing a consistent skincare routine tailored to your skin type. This should include a gentle cleanser, a hydrating moisturizer, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against sun damage, which can accelerate ageing. 

As you approach your late 20s, you can introduce retinol into your routine. Start with a low concentration (0.2% or less) or consider using retinol esters, which are milder. Begin by applying it once a week and gradually increase frequency as your skin builds tolerance. This is also a good time to pay attention to any early signs of ageing, such as fine lines or uneven skin tone, and adjust your skincare routine accordingly.

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In Your 30s: Embracing Anti-Aging

By your 30s, you should have a solid skincare routine in place, including cleansing, moisturizing, and daily sunscreen use. This is the decade to be proactive about anti-aging skincare. Incorporate the product into your nightly routine, opting for a concentration between 0.2% and 0.5%. If you have oily skin, you can use retinol daily, but if your skin is dry or sensitive, consider using the skin cycling method—using retinol for a few weeks, then taking a break—to minimize irritation.

Look out for early signs of ageing, such as uneven skin tone or depigmentation, and consider adding other skincare ingredients like niacinamide or azelaic acid to target these concerns. Remember to always apply SPF during the day, as retinol can increase sun sensitivity.

In Your 40s and 50s: Intensifying Your Routine

In your 40s, maintaining a comprehensive skincare routine is crucial. Alongside your cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, incorporate a retinol product with a concentration of 0.5% or higher. You can also consider incorporating tretinoin, the most potent form of retinol, into your routine gradually.

To enhance the effects of retinol, add hydrating agents like peptides and hyaluronic acid to your routine. Additionally, incorporating antioxidants, both orally and topically, can further boost the effectiveness of retinol. Look for products containing vitamin C and E, or consider taking supplements.

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While it can address many signs of ageing, it’s important to recognize its limitations. For more advanced concerns, such as deep wrinkles or sagging skin, consult with a dermatologist to explore other treatment options like laser therapy or injectables.

In conclusion, retinol can be a valuable asset in your skincare arsenal at any age. By understanding how to use it effectively based on your age and skin type, you can harness its anti-ageing benefits and achieve glowing, youthful skin.

Arushi Sakhuja


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