As far as skincare ingredients go, it’s hard to top retinol. Available in prescription and over-the-counter form under different names like retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl acetate, the vitamin A derivative is used to treat everything from acne to fine lines and dullness by increasing skin cell turnover.
However, retinol’s potent exfoliating powers come with a downside: They can be too intense at times. As such, it’s not uncommon for first-time users to experience dryness and irritation until their skin acclimates. (And some people don’t tolerate the ingredient at all.)
And, as I recently learned, even those of us who have used retinols before aren’t immune to its drying effects if proper precautions aren’t taken.