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Retinol is a powerful anti-acne agent that can be effective where more mild treatments are not. A retinol acne treatment contains high concentrations of vitamin A, which promotes overall skin health. The medication also helps to remove dead skin and debris that can clog pores, preventing further acne. Finally, retinol is known to have a mild effect on acne scars. Retinol should be applied following the directions below and keeping possible side effects in mind.
Choose your Treatment
Retinol is a primary ingredient in many different forms of acne treatment. When choosing a retinol solution, check the active ingredients label for more information. Over the counter sources of the medication typically have a 0.5% or 1% concentration. Start by using these creams, and if they do not manage to solve the problem, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a higher concentration prescription.
Clean the Affected Area
Before applying a retinol acne treatment, be sure to wash your face thoroughly. You should use a mild soap or cleanser that does not contain alcohol. After your face is clean, take some time to examine the areas where your acne is worse or where acne scarring is the most pronounced. Pay extra attention to those areas, possibly rinsing them one more time. The less debris there is between the treatment and your affected area, the more effective it will be.
Apply the Treatment
For over the counter retinol medications, simply follow the instructions on the label. For prescribed creams, you will want to make sure you are using a clean finger for application. If your hands experience dryness or you have broken skin that might get exposed to the medication, use a cotton swab or medical application instead. Rub the cream into your skin until it is no longer visible.
One of the most common side effects of this acne treatment is redness and dryness of the skin. If your skin is particularly sensitive or you are beginning to experience these side effects, there are ways to mitigate them. Give the medication approximately one hour to work then apply a small amount of moisturizer to your face. Be sure to apply the moisturizer evenly as concentrating too much in the areas affected by retinol might clog pores and undo what your medication has already accomplished. Retinol is also known to increase sun sensitivity in some cases, so be sure you wear sunscreen when you go outside, just in case.
You should give any retinol cream a full month to work to make sure all acne is removed. In some cases, the medication will help your acne clear up in a matter of days. Other cases may take two to three weeks, so do not worry if you do not get results immediately. Retinol will help diminish scarring, but you can also speed this process by eating foods that are high in vitamins A, C and E, which will help promote overall skin health.