Even though retinol is known nowadays for its incredible anti-aging action, it’s also a powerful tool against acne–whether you’re an adult or a teen. (Did you know that the first discoveries about retinol’s anti-aging properties were actually made in studies focused on treating acne?) Retinoids are often prescribed to teenagers looking to control acne breakouts, but those are not the only retinoids out there. There are also plenty of options available on the skincare market. If you’re looking for a retinol to target acne on teenage skin, we’re here to help you find it.
The first thing you need to know is that not all retinoids were created equal. The retinoids used in skincare products do not produce the same effects as those used in OTC medication, and may not be strong enough to solve a serious acne problem. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they don’t generate the same level of adverse effects. All in all, it all comes down to what your skin needs and is able to endure.
There are different formulas for different needs. In this post, we’ll guide you through four different concerns: acne (pimples and all), acne scars, post-inflammatory pigmentation (aka those little dark spots that pop up after a pimple has disappeared), and sun protection to use along with your retinoids.
Best retinol for teen acne
When using retinol on teenage skin, you’ll be focusing on handling those pesky blemishes and ensuring they won’t leave any marks. Please remember that, if you have cystic acne, it’s time to check with the doctor before trying on cosmetic products. Usually, a blend of retinol with salicylic acid is the way to go, but niacinamide is another ingredient that you may want to look for.
These formulas are usually super lightweight to make them easy to use and are usually affordable.
Best retinol for acne scars
While we know it’s super common to have scars after some really bad bouts of acne, most of them can’t be handled with cosmetics. The most common issue after acne on Caucasian skin is the ice pick scar. These tiny depressions on the skin will not be improved by cosmetics. In these cases, you will need to check with your doctor about having laser or other similar dermatological treatments.
However, if you’re just looking for a way to regenerate the skin after you messed with your blemishes, retinol may help. Look for something highly concentrated and fluid such as the SVR Ampoule A Concentrate. However, make sure to only use it after the wound has closed, or you will feel the sting.
Best retinol for dark spots caused by acne
We’ve mentioned that ice pick scarring is the most common side-effect of acne on Caucasian skin. On Asian, South American, or African descent skin tones, it’s definitely post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. We can also call them dark spots. They usually appear exactly on the same area where you had the spot, even if you haven’t picked at it. This is due to the fact that they are caused by inflammation, not by scarring. Azelaic acid usually helps, so picking a product that combines it with retinol can help you fade away those spots.
Best sunscreen to pair with retinoid treatments
Gone are the days of oily sunscreens that leave you feeling like you could fry an egg on your forehead given the right amount of heat. There are some very dry formulas that not only will not leave you greasy, but will also help with acne.
Retinol isn’t the only ingredient that will help teenage skin fight acne. You can also check salicylic acid and niacinamide, two great ingredients that help tackle this issue.
Pharmacy Technician & Beauty Writer