Is retinol not working for your skin? Here are 7 likely reasons

Retinol has numerous skin benefits, ranging from clean skin to reducing signs of aging. But are you getting any results? Read on to find out why retinol is not working for you.
Retinol for skin
Retinol is a magical skincare ingredient, but it may not work for everyone. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 4 Jan 2024, 12:49 pm IST
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Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is a well-known skincare ingredient known for its ability to stimulate skin cell production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and address various skin concerns. It is commonly found in skincare products such as creams, lotions and serums. Despite all of the promises that products with retinol make, a few women complain about the lack of results. If you’re also not seeing any positive results, learn why retinol is not working for your skin.

Why is retinol not working for you?

First of all, it is important to acknowledge that not everyone’s skin responds positively to this powerhouse ingredient, and retinol is not for everyone. You should always consult your doctor before you introduce such strong ingredients into your daily routine. Besides, according to beauty industry veteran Dr Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson of the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies, there are other reasons why retinol may not work for you.

1. Age and skin concerns

The suitability of retinol can depend on an individual’s age and specific skin concerns you’re trying to address, says Dr Kochhar. Retinol is highly effective for people with concerns related to skin ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. However, if you’re younger and dealing with issues like acne or hyperpigmentation, other ingredients or treatments might be more suitable. So do not use retinol just because it is one of the most effective skin ingredients. Use it when you actually need it.

retinol use
Find out if you really need retinol or not. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Sun sensitivity

“Retinol can make your skin more susceptible to harmful UV rays, making it crucial to use sunscreen daily to prevent sunburn and other UV-related damage,” says Dr Kocchar. But if you are not using proper sun protection or sunscreen, the sun’s harmful rays can worsen existing skin issues, or your skin might become vulnerable to damage. This could negate the benefits of retinol. To avoid that, use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, especially when using retinol products, to protect your skin from sunburn and premature ageing.

3. Pregnancy and nursing

When you are pregnant or nursing, you are often advised to avoid retinol. Have you ever wondered why? That is because it has the potential to harm a developing fetus or pass through breast milk. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult with a dermatologist before using retinol or any other skincare ingredients to avoid its adverse effects.

4. Inconsistent use

Consistency is key when it comes to using any skin care product. Many people give up on the product because they don’t use it regularly and expect immediate results. Retinol works by increasing cell and collagen production. which can take weeks or even months to see significant results in your skin. So, if you’re not using retinol consistently, you’re less likely to experience its full benefits.

retinol mistakes
If you are not using retinol correctly, you may not see results. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Skin conditions

Retinol can be too harsh for those with certain underlying skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or extremely sensitive skin. Dr Kocchar says, ‘If you have any of these skin conditions and using retinol, your skin may not be able to tolerate it well and may trigger inflammation, redness, irritation, or dryness on your skin.” You can consult a dermatologist to find out alternative treatments for your sensitive skin.

Also read: 5 best retinol serums to give you a youthful-looking skin

6. Overuse and irritation

While consistency is crucial, using too much retinol can cause irritation and discomfort. Excessive use can also cause peeling, redness, and dryness. So, if you are experiencing these symptoms, stop using it. Read the product description for instructions on how to use it and follow them.

7. Expecting instant results

Retinol is not a quick-fix solution. If you’re expecting immediate results, you may be disappointed and stop using the product. Give your skin some time to adapt to the product and show results. It takes time for retinol to address issues like fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. So be patient and continue its use.

retinol for ageing
Do not expect instant results. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Please note that some skincare products, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids, can interact negatively with retinol and exacerbate skin irritation. So, avoid using such products when using retinol.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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