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5 Pervasive Retinol Myths: and what to do instead.

Oct 01, 2018

I was confused.

Why did she recommend that retinol routine to me?

Now my skin looks dryer than a piece of fruit left in the hot sun of the Sahara for 100 years.

Or worse, like I had just slathered my face in olive oil with a paint brush.

Why does this keep happening to me!


Ever been there before?

I have.

Whether it’s my skin drying out to a consistency of sand paper, feeling like I could change the oil in my car with just my face, or black heads appearing in such powerful force I could fit in with a flock of teenagers in a food court glued to their phones.

Finding the right product mix can be downright confusing!

Retinol, for many, is that product.

Don’t use it with this, don’t combine it with that, or I tried it and it didn’t work…

It’s time to put it to rest and get you answers not only from real skin care research, but the hundreds of women we’ve helped over the years

5 Retinol Myths: Busted

Recently I was putting together a post on skin care products you should avoid using together.

And the recommendations I was seeing on the internet were just plain TERRIBLE.

No wonder people are so confused and frustrated.

For instance, have you asked any of the following?

  • Do acid serums “deactivate” retinol or reduce its effectiveness?
  • Should I only use retinol at night?
  • Is retinol incompatible with vitamin C?
  • Does retinol exfoliate my skin?

Let’s get into it:

Myth #1: You can’t use retinol with a leave-on exfoliant.

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t use leave-on exfoliants or acid serums with retinol in the same routine?

That if you use them it will reduce the effectiveness of either?

What’s the verdict?

Myth: Busted

This just isn’t true.

All the research suggests that using both acid serums and retinol in a skin care routine can be beneficial and increase their effectiveness.

I think the case here is that people confuse the TIMING of these two ingredients, versus whether or not they work together.

Most of the time using these at the same time can be irritating. Whether they mess with each other’s effectiveness is suspect, but many people won’t like using them at the same time.

So, if you want to use both. Use the acid serums in the morning and the retinol at night.

Best of both worlds.

Myth #2: The pH of acid serums (AKA AHA & BHA exfoliants) reduces retinol’s effectiveness.

Like I just mentioned above. There is no research that concludes that acid serum exfoliants and retinol don’t work well together.

Myth: Busted

If anything, AHAs and BHA can help remove the dead skin that limits your retinols absorption. Making this a winning combo when used in your routine correctly.

Myth #3: Retinol exfoliates skin.

I think this misconception comes from some people who have light flaking when they use retinol.

But, in my opinion, that is probably a side effect of too strong a retinol than anything else.

Myth: Busted

If you experience flaking you might want to go to a lower potency retinol product like our .10% retinol product. If, for instance, you jumped right to our Luminosity .50% which is a high potency product you could see flaking.

But we would never recommend you go straight to that product unless you’ve been using a prescription-based retinol prior.

Myth #4: You can apply retinol as often as you want.

When you get started using retinol you might be tempted to start applying it twice or day or more.

But I don’t recommend it.

Myth: Busted

I never recommend multiple applications of retinol in a day. Yes, I think applying it at night is best, but you can also apply in the morning with Vitamin C as long as you wear a sunscreen.

But, I still feel retinol at night is best.

Since it makes your skin more sensitive to light it just makes sense.

But multiple applications in a day? Not a good idea.

Vitamin A can start to cause irritations at too high of percentages and applications and you’ll want to avoid that.

Myth #5: You shouldn’t combine retinol with vitamin C.

Ever hear that you shouldn’t combine retinol with Vitamin C serums?

This one is a little tricky and it stems from a recommendation I stand by:

Vitamin C + SPF is perfect and should be mandatory!

Think of it this way: Correct + Protect + Prevent.

But it really comes back to applying retinol once a day. If you do that at night and vitamin C is best in the morning, then you might assume that you can’t combine them.

Myth: Busted

I have customers who use vitamin C at morning and night and combine it with retinol in their evening applications without any problems.

I don’t want you to think this won’t work – it will.

It's more important that you understand what Vitamin C Serums do.

Most go bad within 30 days or lose potency even faster. That's why ours is not water based.

It can last up to a year right in your cabinet!

But there you have it.

5 retinol myths busted so you can start using yours more effectively today.

Remember, if you ever have questions or need more help get a free consultation or join our Facebook Group to hang out with like-minded skin care enthusiasts who have a passion for getting their best skin and finding products that work!

Until next time,

Jen Tilney

CEO Platinum Skin Care