Why don’t I see a difference after using retinol to help repair sun damage?

I am a 32 year old female with a lot of sun exposure. I have been using SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 as recommended by your site for several months now. I don't see any difference in my skin and never experienced any redness or peeling or increased sensativity at all. Is the product working?

I’m glad you wrote!   Several things come to mind –  here are some things to think about:

  • With all retinoids whether retinol 1.o or the prescription versions, you will not see a difference, and in fact may look worse, if you don’t use a high zinc containing sunscreen every single morning.  Here are some good sunscreens.
  • Secondly, what signs of some damage are you seeking to improve?   Topicals like retinol, sunscreens, antioxidants etc.  will not improve deeper wrinkles generally but may improve very fine wrinkles.  They also will not improve redness, broken capillaries (telangectias) or deeply entrenched brown spots.  You’ll need a dermatologist to help you if you have a lot of damage;
  • All topicals are better at preventing new problems than fixing long standing ones;
  • You may have skin that is pretty tough and can easily now go up in strength to one of the prescription versions like Renova or Retin A (generic is tretinoin).

I hope this helps!  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
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