Is Retinol Safe? What You Should Know Before Using

Is Retinol Safe? What You Should Know Before Using
by Truly Beauty

It might be known as a powerhouse anti-aging ingredient, but is retinol safe? It’s always a good idea to do some research before trying out a new product. Even more so if you have sensitive skin, as some ingredients—especially potent ones like retinol—can cause irritation. In case you’re wondering is retinol safe to use on face or body, here’s everything you should know.

What Retinol Does For Your Skin

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and a type of retinoid that works by increasing the skin’s ability to produce new skin cells. This makes it effective at treating acne by preventing clogged pores and improving overall skin texture. Retinol also boosts collagen production, in turn, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while giving skin a firmer look and feel.

By speeding up cell turnover and increasing collagen production, retinol can help treat a number of skin concerns including fine lines and wrinkles, acne, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and dullness. While it’s known for its anti-aging superpowers, retinol offers a wide range of benefits that almost everyone can enjoy. 

Is Retinol Safe?

is retinol safe to use everyday | retinol body polish

Yes, retinol used in skincare products is safe. In fact, there’s extensive clinical research surrounding retinol that proves its effectiveness for treating skin complaints like fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and dark spots. However, retinol may cause side effects if not used correctly. What’s more, different strengths are suitable for different skin types.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, you should start slowly when introducing retinol into your skincare routine. If you experience side effects such as dryness, itching, flaking, or redness, you may be overusing retinol or using too high of a concentration. To avoid these side effects of retinol dermatologists recommend introducing it gradually into your routine to allow your skin to adjust. 

Another factor you should bear in mind regarding the safety of retinol is retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage. This is a common side effect of retinol and other retinoids. For that reason, it’s crucial to use sunscreen when using retinol products. Alternatively, the derms strongly recommend using retinol only at night.

Recommended Retinol Products

Now you know is retinol safe we’ve rounded up our fave retinol skincare products that also just happen to be clean, vegan, and cruelty-free.

Truly’s Vegan Collagen Booster Set

is retinol safe | retinol skincare products


A five-star anti-aging routine developed for both the face and body. Each formula is carefully crafted with high-end ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and plant collagen booster to soften fine lines, brighten skin, and leave you firm from head to toe.

✔ Targets fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture

✔ Powered by retinol, vitamin C, and plant collagen booster

✔ Comes with a FREE St. Tropez Luxury Travel Trunk worth $250

Truly’s Bubble Butt Set

is retinol safe | bubble butt set


Booty tightening in two! What you get: a jelly body scrub + serum developed to firm and sculpt your skin for the defined curves of your dreams. Formulated with tightening retinol, plumping hyaluronic acid, and brightening kombucha to leave your body extra firm and bouncy. 

✔ Targets loose skin, sagging, and dryness

✔ Powered by retinol, hyaluronic acid, kombucha, saffron, and ceramides

✔ Comes with a Gold Ice Cream Scoop + Cake Server for clean application

Truly’s For Your Boobs Routine

is retinol safe | for your boobs routine


Slay stretch marks, give your pair an extra push. This 2-step boob routine harnesses the elasticity-restoring powers of retinol and acai to smooth, firm, and perk up your pair. Clinically proven to improve skin tone, texture, and firmness in four weeks of daily use. 

✔ Targets stretch marks, sagging, blemishes, and fine lines

✔ Powered by retinol, acai berry, and dragon fruit

✔ According to our clinical studies, both formulas have been proven to work in four weeks of daily use

Are there Risks to Retinol?

is retinol safe | vegan collagen set

Since retinol is such a potent active ingredient, it can be harsh if your skin is sensitive. Some common retinol side effects include dryness, redness, and flaking. Ideally, you want to start off by using low concentrations of retinol, and then gradually change to higher strength formulas after several months to one year. 

When you first start using retinol, it’s common to experience side effects such as skin irritation and even breakouts. This is known as purging, and it’s basically just your skin adjusting to a new ingredient. These retinoid side effects are usually temporary and resolve once your skin adjusts to the retinol product you’re using.

Who Should Avoid Using Retinol?

Is retinol safe for everyone? While it’s generally safe to use, you should avoid retinol if you’re:

Pregnant or Breastfeeding: Pregnant or nursing women should avoid using retinol-based products, as excessive vitamin A can be harmful to the developing fetus or newborn. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on skincare during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Allergic: Some people may be allergic to retinol, so it’s essential to perform a patch test before using a retinol product. Some symptoms of a retinol allergy include redness, burning, swelling, blistering, bumps, and rashes. 


Dealing with a Skin Condition: If you have a skin condition like eczema or rosacea, retinol may exacerbate your symptoms and lead to increased skin sensitivity or irritation. Consult with a dermatologist before incorporating retinol into your skincare routine if you have a skin condition.

Is Retinol Safe to Use Every Day?

is retinol safe | goodnight moon mask

Retinol is safe to use every day, but not if you’re only just introducing it into your routine. To avoid irritation, start with no more than once or twice per week for the first two weeks. If you don’t experience any side effects after those two weeks, you can move it up to every other day. Give it another two weeks and if there are no side effects, you can move it up to once a day.

Is Retinol Safe While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

No, it is not safe to use if you’re pregnant or nursing as excessive vitamin A can negatively impact fetal growth and development. Read our Can You Use Retinol While Breastfeeding blog for more info.

Is Retinol Safe Long Term?

All in all, retinol can be a safe and effective ingredient when used appropriately and with proper precautions. It’s essential to start with lower concentrations, use sunscreen, and monitor your skin’s response. If you have any concerns, it’s always a good idea to seek guidance from a dermatologist or healthcare professional. 

Is retinol safe to use long term? Yes, provided that you use it properly, retinol is safe to use over a long period of time. If your skin responds well to retinol without side effects, you can reap its benefits for as long as you like.


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