Should You Use Retinol Serum? Find Tips to Guide Your Usage Here

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Should you use retinol serum? Yes, I mean why not? Retinol is a popular skincare ingredient because of its ability to repair the skin and restore it back to a younger version. However, it is also known for being harsh on the skin so if you have sensitive skin, you have to be cautious. 

Using a product that contains retinol in your routine will help to tighten your skin by helping it produce more collagen and elastin. Additionally, the product will help to remove dead skin cells and oil from your pores.

All these help to keep the skin smooth and healthy. If you are trying to fade dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars, you should try using retinol. Retinol also works to even out the skin tone, and reduce acne and aging signs. 

Read ahead to find more answers on whether to use retinol serum in your skincare routine.  

Should You Use Retinol Serum Every Day?

You can use retinol serum on your skin every day to achieve optimal results quickly. However, you don’t have to use retinol on your skin every day if your skin can’t tolerate frequent use of the ingredient. 

Usually, you are meant to start using the product twice a week. You can now build up a more frequent usage from there. Your frequency of usage is usually determined by the percentage of retinol in the serum you are using and how sensitive your skin is. 

You may be able to use retinol on your sensitive skin if you stick to a low-concentration product. However, it is still important to start slowly to give your skin time to get used to the ingredient. Retinol can dry out and irritate the skin, and that is why you need to proceed with caution.

A board-certified dermatologist, Joshua Zeichner, MD, suggests that you start using it three times for the first two weeks. If you do not experience any side effects, you can increase your usage to two nights on and 1 night off.  

After following that pattern for a month without side effects, you can start using it every day on your skin.

Should You Use Retinol Serum in the Morning?

You may be used to hearing that retinol can’t be used in the morning. However, that is not true. You can use your retinol any time you want to, whether in the morning or at night. 

When you start to use retinol on your skin for the first time, your skin will become extra sensitive to the sun. That makes your skin prone to getting burned or damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

However, the skin’s reaction to UV rays will be back to normal after a few months of using retinol on your skin. You can use retinol serum in your morning skincare routine as long as you protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen. 

Should You Use Retinol Serum on Your Neck?

You should use retinol serum on your neck and not only on your face. The skin on the neck and chest is thin and tends to develop aging signs along with the skin around the eyes. 

As the body ages, you may begin to experience saggy jowls and skin around your neck and chest.

Using retinol on your neck will help to tighten your skin and help to maintain its firmness. It does this by boosting collagen production and enhancing cell regeneration.

Start using retinol on your neck by applying it once a week to introduce the ingredient to the delicate skin around your neck. Additionally, you should opt for a lower concentration product of just 0.25% or 0.5% retinol. 

You should also use a hydrating serum like hyaluronic acid to keep your skin plump and hydrated. 

Should You Use Retinol Before or After Moisturizer?

You should moisturize your skin after using retinol to seal in moisture on your skin. This will help to minimize the drying effect of retinol on the skin and reduce the risk of other side effects. 

However, you can also use moisturizer before using your retinol if you have sensitive skin. Likewise, you can mix retinol with your moisturizer before applying it to your skin. This will help to reduce the high probability of retinol irritating your skin.

Should You Use Retinol in Your 20s?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should start using an antiaging treatment like retinol in your 20s. Retinol serves as a preventive measure against the development of aging signs in the skin. 

You don’t have to wait until your skin starts losing its elasticity before taking measures to keep it firm. Start now to prevent your skin from losing its shape and form. 

Start slowly, you don’t need a high concentration of retinol at this point. So get started with an over-the-counter retinol product of 0.1% to 0.5%. If you have sensitive skin, don’t use more than 0.25% of the product on your skin, to avoid unwanted side effects. 

It is also important to wear your sunscreen daily to prevent sun damage as retinol makes the skin sensitive to the sun when you start using it.

Should You Use Retinol Under Your Eyes?

You should use a retinol eye cream to treat the skin around and under your eyes. The ingredient will help to restore your skin and fade off discoloration. This will help to eliminate dark circles and even out your skin tone. 

It is important to use an eye cream for this purpose. Retinol eye creams are formulated to work on improving the skin around the eyes without irritating it. Using other formulations can cause serious side effects.

Should You Use Retinol Serum and Hyaluronic Acid?

You can use retinol serum and hyaluronic acid together in your skincare routine as it is completely safe. You can also use a skincare product that combines both ingredients without experiencing any unwanted interactions or side effects.

These two products are a popular combination in the skincare world. This is because hyaluronic acid can work effectively to reduce or prevent the side effects of using retinol serum on the skin.

Retinol can dry out the skin and that causes side effects for you if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Using hyaluronic acid with retinol will help to hydrate and keep moisture in your skin. Do this if you have sensitive skin as it will help to reduce the risk of side effects.

Should You Use Retinol Serum at Night?

You should use your retinol serum at night as that is when the ingredient works best. Doing this will help the ingredients work the most to benefit your skin. The skin repairs itself at night as you sleep. 

Using the ingredient before you sleep will help to assist your skin to speed up the repair process. According to Dr. Zeichner, “The best time to rest and repair your skin is in the evening because cell turnover is at its peak at that point.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you use retinol before Botox?

No, you should. You should stop using retinol for 48 hours before you get a Botox done. Using retinol right before Botox is like signing up for extreme skin irritation.

Can you use retinol serum while breastfeeding?

No, you can’t. Don’t use retinol serum while breastfeeding, as that can leave your toddler at risk of defects.

It is advised that all nursing mothers and pregnant women do not use retinol until they are no longer nursing a child. If you have been using retinol before, cease doing so the moment you realize you are pregnant. Speak to a dermatologist for other options.

Should you use retinol serum if you don’t have acne?

Yes, you should. You should use retinol serum on your skin even if you don’t have acne.

Retinol works for several skin concerns aside from acne. You can use the ingredient on your skin if you are looking to treat acne scars, uneven skin tone, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation. 


Retinol serum is a very effective product that helps to treat several skincare concerns. You should introduce the ingredient in your skincare routine if you have acne, uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and so on. 

Use a concentration of retinol product that works for your skin type and concern. Start slowly and upgrade gradually as your skin adjusts to the ingredient. Kickstart and enjoy your journey to lovely blemish-free skin.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Serum101 to learn more about retinol and other useful skincare ingredients.