How Often to Use Retinol for Best Results

How Often to Use Retinol for Best Results
by Truly Beauty

It’s a groundbreaking ingredient for treating a slew of skin concerns, but how often to use retinol for best results? With retinol, you need to strike the right balance to ensure you’re not overusing it–especially in the beginning phases.

How often should you use retinol so that you can enjoy all the benefits without succumbing to side effects like dryness and irritation? Here’s everything you should know. 

How Often to Use Retinol

Retinol is a potent skincare ingredient that needs to be used with caution. Eventually, you should be able to use it every day, but in the beginning, it’s best to start slow and incorporate it gradually into your skincare routine. However, it does depend on the product you’re using, what percentage of retinol you’re using, and how sensitive your skin is.

For the best results, start using retinol once or twice per week initially and slowly increase the usage week by week. Due to its potency and ability to speed cellular turnover, retinol can be drying and potentially irritating, so it’s best to let your skin adjust to it before using it every day. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you should pay close attention to how your skin reacts to retinol application as it can make your skin drier. 

If, after the first couple of weeks, you don’t experience any side effects such as redness, flaking, or dryness, you can move it up to once every two days. In another week, if your skin is still responding well to retinol, you can bump it up to two nights on, one night off.

After a month or two with no side effects, you can use it every day. Again, be sure to pay attention to how your skin responds to increased use. If you start seeing side effects, go back to using it once every two days. 

Dermatologists recommend using retinol only at night. There are two reasons for this: first, skin repair and cell turnover are at their peak, meaning retinol will penetrate the best at night. Second, retinol can make skin more sensitive to the sun, which is why the derms suggest using it before going to bed and applying SPF the following day. 


Here are Our Favorite Retinol Formulas

Now you know how often to use retinol to see the best results, we’ve handpicked some of our favorite retinol treatments that will transform your skin.

Truly’s For Your Boobs Routine

how often to use retinol | for your boobs routine


Firm up your pair in two berrylicious steps! You get: a whipped boob polish + tightening serum packed with retinol and acai berry that boost collagen and restore elasticity for firmer, perkier breasts. Added perks: helps with stretch marks, combats boobne, and smells like lush, sweet blackberry. 

Truly’s Vegan Collagen Booster Set

How often to use retinol | vegan collagen booster set


Youthful, radiant skin–right here. This anti-aging routine targets both your face and body with powerhouse formulas made with a blend of retinol, vitamin C, and plant collagen booster. From fine lines to dark spots, sagging to stretch marks, this 5-step routine handles it all. Plus, you get a chic St. Tropez Travel Trunk (worth $250) for free when you order this set.

Truly’s Dulce De Leches Routine

how often to use retinol | dulce de leches routine


Have your cake, eat it too! Indulge in the deliciousness of this dessert-inspired line while targeting fine lines, stretch marks, and sagging. You get: a whipped body polish, moisturizer, and serum–all with a decadent warm caramel scent. Formulated with retinol, hyaluronic acid, cocoa butter, and guarana for intense tightening, lifting, and smoothing effects.

Truly’s KP Treatment Routine

how often to use retinol | KP Kit


Bye-bye bumps and dry, rough skin! With over 2,000 five star reviews, you need to try Truly’s KP Treatment Routine if you’re looking for speedy relief from this skin condition. It combines the power of physical and chemical exfoliation with resurfacing retinol and oil balancing niacinamide to unclog pores, buff away bumps, and manifest your smoothest skin. 


Is it Good to Use Retinol Everyday?

If you’re new to retinol, it’s best to avoid using it every day in the beginning to avoid potential side effects. Once your skin adjusts, you can start using retinol every day after around one month. Retinol works best when used daily. However, if you have dry or sensitive skin, make sure you use a low-strength retinol (0.1-0.5 percent).

If you see any side effects like skin redness, flaking, or dryness, go back to using retinol every other day or once every three nights. How often to use retinol for the best results really does depend on your skin type. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, daily use can be extremely beneficial. Whereas those with dry or sensitive skin may respond better to less frequent use.

Can You Use Retinol too Often?

How often to use retinol | Vegan collagen set

Retinol can reduce fine lines, improve skin texture, fade hyperpigmentation, and prevent acne. Using it too often, however, can result in irritation. It’s definitely possible to use retinol too often. In fact, your skin will show you if you are. Seeing redness, flaking, or dryness? Those are all clear signs you might be overusing your retinol products.

So, how often can you use retinol? The dermatologists recommend using it once or twice per week initially. After a week or two, if you’re not seeing side effects, you can start using it once every couple of days. After a month, if your skin is still happy, try using it every day and see how your skin responds. 

When it comes to how often to use retinol there are some guidelines and recommendations you can follow. But when all is said and done, it really all comes down to your skin and how it takes to retinol. 

How Long Does it Take for Retinol to Work?

Retinol starts to work in your skin cells right away. However, it may take several weeks before you notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin. Whether you’re looking to combat fine lines, acne, or discoloration, it’s important to stay consistent with your routine in order to see an improvement.

In some cases, your skin may actually look worse at first. This is known as retinol purging. It’s a temporary phase that happens as your skin adjusts to the increased cell turnover from retinol. Many people make the mistake of giving up at this point. Don’t. Unless you’re experiencing severe side effects, in which case you should consult your dermatologist, persist with your routine and you’ll see the benefits in a matter of weeks.

How often to use retinol? It’s always best to start slow to prevent unwanted side effects like dryness and irritation. Start using it a couple of times per week then increase to once every two days once your skin adjusts. After a month, you should be able to start using it on a daily basis. 

With regards to how often do you use retinol for best results, make sure you pay attention to your skin and how it responds to this active ingredient. If you see side effects like flaking or redness, use it less frequently. Consult your dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns.


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