What is The Best Age to Start Using Retinol?

View photosLove the idea of buying all of your food at the local farmers’ market, but never manage to get there? Now the farmers’ market can come to you, thanks to an assortment of new food delivery services that bring seasonal, local produce, meats, fish, dairy and baked goods right to your front door. Eating food that is in […]MoreQ—CHARLOTTE’S BOOK READERSometimes I read that I am too young to start using retinol and other times I read that retinol is the save all, be all anti-aging product and you can’t start too young. What’s the right answer? I am age 28.A—DR. JOSHUA ZEICHNER, DERMATOLOGISTYour mid 20s is certainly a reasonable time to start using topical retinol. Retinol stimulates collagen and increases skin thickness and elasticity. For a young person such as yourself, using retinol is like making sure the skin’s foundation is as strong as possible, so it can resist wrinkling as much as possible as you age. Over the counter retinol is an excellent place to start. It is less potent than prescription strength retinoids, and also less irritating. Over the counter retinoids come in different forms: retinol, retinaldehyde, and the retinyl esters, such as retinyl palmitate. Retinol is the most potent form, but also  the most unstable; so, it is challenging to use in cosmetic products.Retinyl esters are more mild and appropriate for people with the most sensitive skin. The most common prescription strength options are tretinoin (Retin-A, Atralin, Renova, Refissa, Tretin-X), adapalene (Differin), or tazaortene (Tazorac). When applying a retinol cream, remember that less is more, especially for the prescription strength formulas. Use only a pea sized amount for the whole face. Apply the product every other night to start, then slowly work your way up to every night, over the first few weeks. If your face gets red, itchy, peels or burns, skip a day or two. You can also apply a moisturizer first to keep the skin barrier well hydrated, reducing the risk of irritation.Charlotte KnowsIf you are new to using retinol, start with an over the counter version. Once your skin gets used to it, then talk to your dermatologist about getting a prescription. Some good kick-starter retinols: REN Clean Skincare Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate, $60, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, $57, and Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer, $72.READ THIS NEXTWant to know what our most popular reader questions are? From body contouring, breast augmentation, and pimples – we got you covered.  FIND BEAUTY AND WELLNESS EXPERTSRead client reviews, book appointments, and get expert advice from the experts in Charlotte’s Book. Only the best cosmetic doctors, skincare gurus, nutritionists, fitness and wellness professionals make it into our book.