This Is When You Need To Start Using Retinol On Your Skin

As you get older, you start to hear more and more about a magical anti-aging ingredient known as retinol. A derivative of vitamin A, "It's added to topical skincare products to promote skin renewal, brighten skin tone, reduce acne, and boost the collagen production," New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, explained to Vogue. "It also functions like an antioxidant to help address free radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging." But there's a certain age that you should start integrating it into your skincare regime — and it's around your mid-20s.

"As you enter your 20s, early signs of sun-damage and aging show on the skin," Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group told Marie Claire. "The skin starts to lose elasticity and the free radical damage of pollution, aging, and sun damage trigger the degradation of skin that desperately needs repair." This is the perfect time to start using a powerful ingredient like retinol, which can repair and protect your skin against further damage.

You should always use retinol with caution

However, it's important that when you start to use retinol, you use it with extra care. As Dr. Elizabeth Hale, vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation and a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, warned Into The Gloss, it can be "incredibly sensitizing, making your skin very dry and sensitive to the sun." And, unsurprisingly, certain skin types may not be able to tolerate it as well as others.

It's also important to keep in mind that when it comes to retinol, a little goes a long way. "A tiny, tiny drop of retinol, I'm talking no more than a pea-sized drop for your entire face, really goes a long way," said Dr. Hale. Don't overdo it either, as you may completely dry your skin out even if you don't have dry skin. Start using it once a week then slowly build up application frequency over time. Oh, and don't forget the SPF!