Retinols are skincare products often talked about in relation to addressing skin aging concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Some people don’t know that retinols can also be beneficial in treating acne. If you’re struggling with stubborn acne or have a particularly severe breakout, retinol use can unclog pores and help to clear skin more quickly. In this blog, we’ll review the benefits of retinol use as part of acne treatment plans and explore the top-recommended retinols for acne treatment.

What Is Acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition that occurs when pores become clogged. The sebaceous glands in our body secrete oil through the pores to keep the skin moisturized. At times, the oil can trap skin cells, bacteria, dirt, and other material beneath the skin, leading to breakouts. Acne breakouts can involve multiple types of blemishes. These range from small, irritating blemishes like whiteheads and blackheads to more severe, deep-seated papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Acne most often develops during the teen years when hormones change, but it can also be developed by adults, especially during times of hormonal fluctuation. Certain medications, genetics, and lifestyle factors may also contribute to an increased risk for acne development.

How Are Retinols Used for Acne Treatment?

How to Use Retinols to Treat Acne

Retinols are skincare ingredients derived from vitamin A that help to improve skin health by jump-starting collagen and elastin production and controlling the amount of sebum oil produced. The most common use for retinol is to improve overall skin tone and texture and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinols are usually topical, and they can be purchased over the counter in the form of creams, oils, and serums. There are also prescription-strength formulas called retinoids that provide similar results, but because of their stronger formulations, they need to be used more carefully under the observation of a skilled dermatologist to avoid damaging the skin. All retinols and retinoids need to be used as directed to avoid skin irritation.

When used regularly, retinol helps to prevent acne breakouts before they begin and clear up blemishes more quickly. Retinol will help to remove dead skin cells, dirt, grime, oils, and other matter from the surface of the skin and pores. The retinols will also be absorbed deeper into the skin stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. This increased production of collagen and elastin will keep skin healthier, reduce the size of pores, and can even diminish the appearance of acne scars over time.

Recommended Retinols for Acne Skincare Routines

If you’re interested in incorporating retinol into your acne skincare routine, you may not know which products will work best to prevent and treat acne flare-ups. Below, our dermatologists have curated a list of products that they would recommend for use as part of acne skincare routines. Remember, the use of retinol can cause skin irritation and inflammation. It’s essential to follow all usage directions and consult with a dermatologist right away if you notice adverse reactions related to retinol usage.

SkinCeuticals How to Use Retinols to Treat Acne0.5

Accelerating skin cell turnover can help reduce acne breakouts. It reduces the risk of skin cells being trapped beneath the skin, leading to blemishes. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 promotes healthy skin cell turnover while also reducing oiliness and increasing the production of collagen and elastin. This unique retinol is formulated to reduce irritation to the skin. The specialized packaging retains the retinol’s purity and potency. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 is recommended for use as part of the nighttime skincare routine. To avoid any skin irritation, dermatologists recommend using SkinCeuticals once or twice a week and gradually increasing usage as tolerated by the skin.

Revision How to Use Retinols to Treat AcneComplete 1.0

Retinols can be effective on their own delivering a range of results, but when they’re paired with other ingredients, the efficacy of retinol can be boosted. Revision Retinol Complete 1.0 uses a unique formula that combines antioxidants, botanical extracts, and time-release retinol to achieve dramatic results, including offering effective treatment for acne breakouts. Revision Retinol Complete 1.0 is recommended for use a few times each week as part of the nighttime skincare routine. Even though this product uses time-release retinol, it may still be too strong for those with sensitive skin. Consult with a dermatologist to create a plan to gradually introduce this retinol product to your skincare routine.

How to Use Retinols to Treat AcneBio Complete Serum

Some retinols can be hard on the skin. For those with sensitive skin, retinol usage may not be recommended. Sente Bio Complete Serum is the exception. The lightweight formula combines SENTE’s Heparan Sulfate Analog (HSA) with a slow-release retinol that makes this product gentler on the skin. It is safe and gentle for all skin types. Even those with sensitive skin can typically tolerate the use of SENTE Bio Complete Serum. This product is recommended for daily use in the evening.

Want a Personalized Retinol Recommendation?

If you’re struggling with acne, fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, enlarged pores, or other irregularities in skin tone and texture, the trusted dermatologists at U.S. Dermatology Partners can help you find the right retinol to enhance your skincare routine. These skilled, board-certified dermatologists curated the lists of dermatology products on DermSkincare, and they can offer you reliable and effective skincare recommendations. To get started, take just a few minutes to complete the online scheduling request form. A local U.S. Dermatology Partners team member will be in touch soon to finalize the details of your visit.