You may think that ingredients like retinol only promote youthful skin on your face, but think again. Board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, is here to set you straight. “Just as we use retinols on the face to help regulate skin cell turnover, prevent clogged pores, and improve overall texture and tone of the skin, retinols can be used on the body to have similar benefits. As a vitamin A derivative, it helps to boost collagen production, may help with blemishes and discoloration, can be used for rough and bumpy skin, and may even help with stretch marks,” she says.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait to start including retinol in your bodycare routine. But it can be particularly helpful if you’re experiencing dull or sagging skin. “Though there is no specific right time to start, generally, retinols can be especially helpful as we notice changes in the skin related to loss of collagen and skin cell turnover slowing down, which can be apparent in the 30s,” Garshick shares. “That said, you don’t have to wait until you see changes to incorporate a retinol. While it can be incorporated at any time, it should be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be incorporated if you have specific skincare concerns you are trying to address, such as skin brightening, or to improve the texture of the skin. If your skin is dry or sensitive, it may be best to decrease the frequency, and it’s important to always make sure to moisturize the skin regularly. Retinoids can also make you more sensitive to the sun, so it’s always important to remember sun protection!”
Applying a retinol body lotion is pretty simple, but Garshick and aesthetic nurse injector Revay Plunkett have a few different takes on how often you should use it. “It can be applied once daily, and it’s often recommended to use at night time. If you’re sensitive, it may be best to incorporate two to three times per week,” says Garshick. Plunkett agrees with a more cautious approach since retinoids can be quite strong. “Every other day or every couple of days is best,” she explains. “Your body doesn’t have the same amount of oil glands [as your face]. You don’t want to irritate sensitive parts of your body by over-applying a retinoid.” If you’re now fully intrigued by the idea of adding a retinol body lotion to your routine, keep scrolling for recs from the professionals and a few of my favorites.