If you’ve ever turned on the TV, read a magazine, or stood next to a beauty editor for too long, then you’ve already been inundated with facts about retinol—namely, that it’s the best thing ever, that it’ll completely change your skin/life, and that you need to be using it ASAP.
Seeing as you’ve probably ignored all of this unsolicited advice thus far (“Ugh, I’ll add it to my to-do list,” you say), I would like to present to you this Reddit post that will completely and totally change your mind after approximately one second, thanks to its photo of a woman’s insane before-and-after retinol results.
Get Ready For It
In a post titled “Hard work and retinol rlly make a difference,” Reddit user Egotr4p shared a side-by-side photo of her skin before and after starting retinol. “I never thought I would be where I am now,” she writes in the comments. The left photo shows the user’s broken-out and irritated skin, next to a photo of her current smooth, bright, acne-free skin after two years of using retinol. “I did not go to a derm,” she writes, “although I had access to RX retinol.”
According to the rest of her comments, the Egotr4p uses tretinoin .025 percent—a prescription-strength retinoid that’s available only via a prescription (though, don’t worry, you can get the same results with over-the-counter options, too).
Why It Works
If you’re wondering WTF is in retinol that allows it to create such drastic before-and-afters, it’s not so much the ingredients, but what they does to your skin. Retinoids (the umbrella term for all vitamin-A derivatives, like retinol) sink into your skin and trigger faster cell turnover and collagen production, creating newer, smoother, skin. And all of that means pores stay clear, breakouts diminish, fine lines soften, and acne scars fade. Retinol really is a freaking queen.
Of course, Egotr4p adds that retinol hasn’t been the only change she’s made to her routine in the last few years—she also went vegan, which has “improved the texture of my skin and frequency of pimples appearing,” she says. (Fact: Dairy actually can contribute to acne and inflammatory skin conditions.)
But don’t freak if you’re not ready to completely change your diet—retinol will still get you noticeable results within just a few months, as long as you stay diligent with it. Just be aware—starting retinol can, annoyingly, cause a few weeks of irritation and breakouts, so to mitigate the side effects, go slowly: Apply a pea-size drop of retinol over your entire face just one night a week for one week, two nights a week for two weeks, three nights a week for three weeks, and then every other night indefinitely.
Now, are you finally convinced to use a retinol? I'm going to go ahead and hope your answer is yes. Otherwise, you are a masochist, and I can't help that.