There are 5 crucial rules you need to follow if you're using retinol, according to a derm.

Out of all the members of the skincare fam, retinol is definitely the hardest to get along with. She's bitchy. Irritating. Prone to burning people. 

But we promise you this - once you get to know her (starting in small doses, mind you), we guarantee it'll be the beginning of something v. v. special.

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Until that magical moment, however, you'll probably need a few sneaky little tips on how to make sure things between you and retinol go as smooth as possible.

That's why we've tapped into the wisdom of New York wizard/dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner, who recently shared his top tips for using retinol on his Instagram (if you don't already follow him, please do yourself a favour) - and OF COURSE we're going to share them with you. Silly question. 

Here are the five rules everyone should follow when they're using retinol.

1. Use only a green pea-sized amount for the whole face.

A pea! Not a bean, Carol.

"More is not better," Dr Zeichner said.

See? Told you.

If you slap this stuff on your face willy nilly, it can really make your skin flip out. We're talking redness, flakiness, itchiness and all of those other sh*tty things we don't want for your cute face.

So, *actually* play by the rules when it comes to retinol and the recommended amount.

2. Start every other night and advance to every night.

Wo-woa-woah! Whatcha doin there, pal? Retinol is one of those ingredients that you need to introduce into your routine gradually - you really don't want to go too hard too fast with this.


That's why Dr Zeichner suggests using it every other night, before SLOWLY working it into your routine every night.

"Only as your skin can tolerate it," he said.

If things are getting irritated and weird - it's a sign you need to pull back.

3. Combine it with moisturiser to reduce risk of irritation.

Retinol is a freak - just ask any beauty expert. It's stupidly effective and can do lots of magnificent things for your skin (which is why you see it in SO many different products). 

BUT. It can also really turn on you if you're not careful. Especially if you're not adding a lick of hydration after it. 


The best product you can use with retinol, according to Dr Zeichner, is a moisturiser. This will help keep your skin hydrated and happy and reduce the risk of irritation.

4. Wear sunscreen every morning.

HA! Good one, Dr Zeichner. We're already doing this every morning, but thanks anyway. Right, you guys? GUYS?

Retinol is a powerful ingredient that makes you really bloody sensitive to the sun, so don't even SUGGEST you'd use it without wearing a dedicated SPF every day. 

Not only is wearing SPF a very clever thing to do if you don't want to get skin cancer, but it'll also help ward off signs of premature ageing. So, definitely wear it.

5. Stick with it.

You've been using retinol for the past couple of weeks and you're looking for those sweet, sweet results everyone's been yammering on about. 

Give it a chance! If you're looking for an overnight treatment, retinol isn't that kind of ingredient. However, when used diligently as part of your regular skincare routine - you'll reap LOTSA lovely benefits. 

Pending potency, Dr Zeichner said, "It takes months to see improvements" - but trust us, it's totally worth it. 

That's not to say you won't see any results until then - in the short term your skin will definitely appear healthier and clearer.

"Your skin will thank you for it years later if you keep applying it," Dr Zeichner added.

Are you on the retinol team yet? What's your experience with the ingredient? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature Image: Canva.

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