Why You Need a Daytime Retinol Now
The latest crop of retinol products don't fight wrinkles and discoloration while you sleep -- they do it during the day. Find out how to use retinol, and why you should
Things we hate about retinols: the red, lizard-like skin you get for the first six to eight weeks when you're using one; having to be maniacal about sunscreen; and only being able to use them at night.
If retinols were a boyfriend, we'd be bitching to our friends about how hot-yet-annoying he is.
Which is why we were downright giddy when we found out there are now daytime retinols (yes, you read correctly) on the market. And dermatologists are calling them a game changer. Throw out everything you thought you knew about how to use retinols. With these new products, you can get all of the benefits of every dermatologist's favorite skin care ingredient, morning and night, without your skin peeling off your face.
Skip ahead to see the best new daytime retinol products.
Skeptical? So were we. But here’s the deal: The old retinols would bombard your skin with retinoic acid, which drastically increased cell turnover. That sloughing off of old cells eventually makes your skin look baby-butt soft and new -- but it causes peeling and redness until your skin gets used to it, which can be six weeks or never (depending on how sensitive your skin is). The new, over-the-counter retinols are delivered gradually; they're absorbed by your cells and converted to retinoic acid over the course of many hours, says New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD. You still get the turnover, but it's more controlled -- that's what makes them safe to use during the day. Plus, the new retinols also come mixed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, sunscreen, and moisturizers -- so they're even less irritating than they were before.
While the combination of retinols with every other ingredient you could possibly want sounds like the Holy Grail of skin care, there's a catch: You still have to be careful about SPF.
"It doesn't matter if you use them at night or during the day," says Miami dermatologist Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD. "Retinols change your skin in a way that makes it more sensitive to the sun." And here's where the marketing hype comes in: The fact that some of these daytime retinols contain SPF doesn't mean anything -- you should still apply more sunscreen on top.
There aren't a ton of daytime retinols on the market -- yet. But here are the ones we're most exited about, and how to figure out which one might be your new go-to.
SEE NEXT PAGE: Best overall
Health & beauty
Health & beauty