How To Use Retinol: A Beginner's Guide And FAQ

How To Use Retinol: A Beginner's Guide And FAQ

Posted by Kiri Yanchenko on

The number of skincare products containing retinoids has skyrocketed over the last few years. One of the newest and first to market to contain a probiotic and a bio fermented oligopeptide are AMPERNA® Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol serums.

You may have tried them or may still be hesitating, not really understanding how to use them and how they can help your skin.

Retinoids (commonly known as tretinoins) are a large family of compounds derived from Vitamin A. They can be applied to your skin using topical forms or taken orally. The strength of retinoids varies greatly from low doses available without a prescription to extremely high doses that require you to consult with a medical expert and obtain a prescription. Here are a few examples:


  • Retinoid esters – the weakest strength retinoid and can be a helpful solution for people with sensitive skin
  • Retinol – common in over the counter creams and lotions and because it isn’t high potency it will not overwhelm your skin


  • Retinoic acid – stronger form which is faster acting than retinol
  • Adapalene (Differin) – often used to treat acne
  • Isotretinoin – commonly know as Accutane, this oral medication is very strong and sometimes prescribed by dermatologists and doctors for severe acne. It is known to have several side effects so requires close monitoring from your health professional.

AMPERNA® How to use Retinol 

How Can Retinoids Help Your Skin?

Retinoids help cell growth renewal by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die quickly. Furthermore, they help to slow down collagen breakdown and help to thicken the deeper layer of the epidermis. They can also help to slow down the production of melanin (that causes dark pigmentation).

The visible benefits that are often marketed by skincare brands containing retinoids are help in softening wrinkles, help in treating acne, help in boosting collagen production, help in plumping skin and help with fading pigmentation.

AMPERNA® How to use Retinol

How to use Non-prescription Retinoids

If you have sensitive skin, aging skin or a particular skin problem, the retinoid product you use and frequency you apply it may vary.

For over the counter products, you can start by speaking with your beautician, skincare coach or local beauty store on what you want to achieve with retinoids.

For aging skin, the key to getting results can often be time. It is not unusual for it to take up to 6 months of ongoing use of the product to see visible results.

Whilst it is always recommended that you follow the instructions on the label, is it common for creams containing retinol to be applied in a small amount onto your face 2-3 times a week. It is also the norm to apply the cream before bed when you won’t be exposed to the sun. It is also extremely important to wear an SPF lotion during the day as your skin may be more sensitive.

It's important to practice sun sense whilst using active products, however sun sense is more than just wearing SPF.

Check out our AMPERNA® Pro+ Bio Soothing Day Mineral CC SPF15 which has been designed to help people with even the most sensitive skin. The unique adaptive moisturising formula is suitable for all skin tones. It includes AMPERNA®’s probiotic complex, is reef-safe and light enough to wear everyday by itself or under makeup.

It is also a good idea to conduct a patch taste. Read AMPERNA®’s patch test guidelines here and consider applying a moisturizer to your skin for the few weeks to act as a buffer.

If you want to consider getting results faster, you will need to speak to your doctor or dermatologist and understand if a prescription retinoid such as retinoic acid could be right for you. These can be significantly more potent than over the counter products and have some significant side effects ranging from triggering skin issues to causing depression and even birth defects in pregnant women.

AMPERNA® How to use Retinol

 A gentler approach, and a good choice for sensitive skin can be using products containing Granactive Retinoid which helps diminish signs of ageing whilst being gentler on skin that other forms of retinol. Granactive retinoids help skin turn over whilst helping to slow down the degeneration of collagen. Read more about this ingredient and its use in Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol RX [SUPERFOLIATE].

AMPERNA® How to use Retinol

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

When you fall pregnant what you put into and on your body can affect not only your well-being but that of your growing baby.

If you’ve been using oral or topical retinoids and fall pregnant the advice from the experts is to stop. If you are trying to fall pregnant is it best to stay away from them.

Whilst you’re breastfeeding, you should also cease using retinoids. Whilst it’s not proven how much passes through to your child through your milk, it is no worth taking any risks.

The reason for this advice is that there have been several studies that have shown taking high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child. An example is isotretinoin (a prescription treatment that helps treat acne) has been found to cause birth defects.

An ingredient you may not have heard of is the plant-based retinol alternative – Bakuchiol. It is a botanical ingredient distilled from the seeds and leaves of the Indian babchi plant, which has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to help skin conditions. AMPERNA® has just launched Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol ALT [SUPERADIANCE], a gentle leave on bakuchiol serum that is pregnancy safe.

AMPERNA® How to use Retinol

Skin Coaching

Kiri Yanchenko, founder of AMPERNA® helps her clients understand which skincare products will be right for them via her Holistic Skin Coaching Service. Her Telehealth service allows people to discuss their skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy glowing skin. Get in touch with Kiri today.




Blog article author

Written By Kiri Yanchenko

Kiri Yanchenko is the founder and CEO of AMPERNA®. Having had severe pustular acne and perioral dermatitis herself, she has a deep personal understanding of the challenges faced by having problem skin. She has over 10 years of experience in skincare and holistic skin coaching and is passionate about helping everyone feel comfortable in their own skin.

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