The Regimen

Yes, You Can Use Retinol in the Morning

Yes, You Can Use Retinol in the Morning 


If you’ve been hearing for years that you shouldn’t use retinol in the morning, prepare to have your skin care world view rocked. We are here to tell you that you can use retinol (vitamin A) any time you want. Morning. Night. Every day. It’s all okay.

 What you'll find in this blog:

Where does the nodaytime use of retinol come from?



Where does the myth of no retinol in the morning come from? Two things have fueled the belief. First, photosensitivity is associated with retinoid therapy. However, this sensitivity generally happens only when you begin using retinol for the first time. After few months, the skin’s response to UV radiation returns to normal. 


It doesn’t mean you need to avoid using your retinol serum in the morning. It just means you need to protect your skin with sunscreen, a hat, and avoid prolonged exposure during peak sun hours. You should be doing that anyway to avoid age-accelerating photodamage. And for the record, UV sensitivity occurs whether you use retinol in the morning or at night. It doesn’t magically dissipate in the 8 or so hours you’re sleeping.

The other concern fueling the “no daytime usage” myth surrounding retinol is the ingredient’s sensitivity to light and air. It’s true that these environmental factors degrade retinol. We house our serums in dark, airtight bottles for that reason. However, this concern is mainly limited to storage. Once absorbed by the skin, retinol retains its efficacy.

 Are there times when using retinoids at night makes more sense? Sure. But for reasons that have nothing to do with the above and everything to do with skin care strategy.

Many people like to boost their regimen with more than one serum, and while it’s perfectly fine to layer serums, you might want to alternate to stretch the life of your serums and to allow each to do its thing. Depending on your skin goals, you might want to use a mandelic acid and a retinol serum, for instance. In that case, you might use the mandelic in the morning and the retinol at night.


Bottom line: Retinol is a serial regenerist. It works at the deeper layers of skin to promote cell proliferation, collagen production, and to thicken the dermis. Its effects are cumulative, so regular usage is essential; optimally that means morning and night.


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