Why I won’t use retinol on my face, even though it is claimed to help skin with scarring and anti-ageing


It’s simple really. I have sensitive skin. And the sort of overstimulation that something like retinol provides is just too much. It is supposed to stimulate collagen production. I don’t end up with a rash or dermatitis per se, but actually with skin that is in much worse condition than normal. I get these small bumps under my skin that just don’t clear up…not spots but bumps. And when what you are trying to achieve is smooth skin…well it’s just not for me.

I know there is a settling in period for all skincare products of around 3 months, but it still doesn’t seem to make a difference for me. I actually don’t want my skin to look worse before it gets better. Fine if it takes 3 months to work but I would rather see no difference at all than a worsening effect! Admittedly, I have only tried the one product (Skinceuticals retinol 0.3), used at night a couple of times a week, max, but the results have put me off trying another one.

Additionally, retinol is said to make skin more sensitive to the sun meaning that you need to be even more cautious when out and about, applying extra strength SPF of at least 30. A friend of mine uses a brand that has high doses of vitamin A (retinol is a derivative of this) and her face is always red…can’t be a good thing. I use a primer with SPF in it already but cannot be sure that it will be enough for skin made more sensitive to the sun. What this means is that the skin you are trying to improve on could develop dark patches from the sun, making it look uneven in tone and patchy in colour. It’s a risk I am not prepared to take.

Finally, for the retinol to be effective they say you need to use it in quite high doses, which is not easy to come by in high street brands. I am not an expert, so I do not know what the correct doses are, but would recommend checking with a dermatologist before incorporating retinol into any skincare routine.

So, all in all, it is not for me. My skin is too sensitive and I benefit from a much gentler approach – more natural, plant based oils and products to help even out skin tone and improve its elasticity and condition.

Have you tried any retinol based products?



  1. 4th May 2015 / 12:36 pm

    It’s definitely not for all skin types. I use Dermalogicas Multivitamin Power Serum which has two types of vit A and two types of vit c but it certainly does speed up cell renewal and my skin needs a big drink after it!

    • 4th May 2015 / 12:42 pm

      Oh great thanks. Does it give the same results as retinol? Reduction of fine lines? Smoothing of skin tone? Fading of scars?

      • 4th May 2015 / 12:44 pm

        Yep! It does have a really thick buttery texture though, so not great for an oily client but I find a sensitive dehydrated skin just soaks it right up!

        • 4th May 2015 / 12:49 pm

          Wow. Ok well I’m going to look into it then and give it a try. Thanks x

          • 4th May 2015 / 12:57 pm

            No problems! Let me know how your skin goes with it