Should People In Their 20s Use Retinol? The Answer May Just Surprise You

Despite what you may have heard, retinol isn't just for those with mature skin. In fact, if you're looking to fight off acne, dark spots, or any number of other common woes, you should probably turn to retinoid-based products to help protect your skin against possible damage. No matter what your age, retinol might just be the miracle ingredient that your skin needs.

First things first: Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A that help to promote cell turnover and renewal, Dr. Karen Hammerman of Schweiger Dermatology Group tells me over email. While these types of creams are mainly marketed as anti-aging skin care treatments, they can also do a world of good for those of us with younger skin as well. Hammerman states that retinoids work by penetrating the deepest layers of our skin to fight off free radicals, boost collagen production, and promote the exfoliation of outer skin cells. What this means for those in their 20s is that retinoids can help to clear your existing acne and fade sun damage, while also preventing future fine lines and wrinkles.

Skincare expert and dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross tells me that there are two main classes of retinoids. The first is more mild option called retinol, which is the only non-prescription retinoid that you can get over-the-counter. Gross states that retinol products are less irritating, so they're perfect for first-time users or for those with sensitive skin. The second, more concentrated class is a prescription strength derivative called Retin-A.

Now, I know that retinoids sound like a dream-come-true for skincare junkies, but they can have negative side effects: think dryness, redness, flaking, and UV sensitivity just to name a few. It's extra important to remember SPF during your retinoid treatments.

However, don't let the scary side effect deter you. Hammerman says that the best way to incorporate Retinoids into your skincare routine is by using a pea sized amount right before bed twice a week. Talk about an easy commitment! Wondering which retinoids you should be reaching for? Here are a few over-the-counter options that are perfect for helping out younger skin.

1. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, $15, Amazon

This fortified nighttime cream works to deeply penetrate your skin's outer layers to plump up tired skin and speed up cell turnover for a more even complexion.

2. Olay Regenerist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Treatment

Olay Regenerist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Treatment Cream, $24, Amazon

Worried about drying out your skin? Olay has you covered. This over-the-counter retinol treatment is formulated with deeply hydrating ingredients to help boost your skin's moisture barrier while it works its magic.

3. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross Overnight Serum, $58, Amazon

Heal your complexion with this powerful nighttime serum. It works to fight wrinkles, stimulate firmness, and retexturize the skin's surface all while your sleep.

Ultimately, if you're in your 20s, the key to keeping your skin looking healthy and strong is using retinoids sparingly. It's one of the best things you can do.

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