Let's talk about it.
A disclaimer: I'm not a certified expert, trained medical professional or anything close. However, I have become increasingly obsessed with skincare and finding a cleaner regiment. As my skin changes with age (hello 30s) my products also need to change to address certain issues. One product everyone believes is a cure-all is retinol/ retin-a/ etc. Before I get into it, I'll just say do your own research before starting a new product.
This is what I've found when it comes to retinol...
What is it? It's also known as Vitamin A (read more here). Yes, I think it will clear your skin right up! It might peel & flake, but that's apparently more from irritation from the product and not a desired side-effect. If you're peeling off in layers, you might be using too high of a dose. They say with anything in the Vitamin A family to start at a low dose and ease your skin into it (to avoid the previously mentioned peeling and irritation). I've also read that most retinol products take up to 12 weeks to notice their effectiveness. Read this article for other myths about retinol.
Now, is it safe?
As we should be aware of, the EU bans more than 1300 chemicals in their personal care products (see the entire list here). The US currently bans 11. You do the math. We are currently slathering our skin with loads of toxic chemicals on a daily basis. Is retinol one of them? I'm inclined to say yes. This article is my backup. However, upon further research, my final thoughts on it are retinol in a low dosage is considered ok but stay away from products including retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate (article). Thanks to brands like Beautycounter it's easier to find cleaner beauty products. I'm currently using a combination of the Overnight Resurfacing Peel and the Brightening Facial Oil as my retinol-type product. I was interested in the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream, but in very small print it says to avoid using while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you can't use it then, why should we use it now?
I'll say it again, READ YOUR LABELS. Most websites list every ingredient in skincare products, so read it carefully before purchasing. I also love the Think Dirty app which is a database where you can search your products to see the list of good and bad ingredients included.
Are you reading the labels of your products?