The One Common Myth About Retinol That's Completely False

Of all the myths and misconceptions out there about retinol, there is one that comes up over and over again that we were surprised to learn is untrue: You should only use it at night because it increases your risk of sunburn during the day. 

While it's true that retinols (and its varied forms) break down in direct sunlight, they don't actually make your skin more prone to sunburn.

In an article for Allure, Dana Sachs, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School, explains that "this misconception came about because in some early studies, people described putting on a retinoid, walking into the sun, and immediately burning. But that redness is likely related to heat exposure." Furthermore, "clinical studies have shown pretty definitively that retinoids do not lower the MED—or minimal erythemal dos—of human skin, which is the amount of UV light you can take before the skin burns."

The takeaway? The time of application is far less important than consistency of use and having patience

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...