This Before-and-After Retinol Photo Is Going Viral on Reddit

*Buys 10 tubes of retinol immediately*

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(Image credit: Reddit/@ Egotr4p)

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 (opens in new tab)—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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), “although I had access to RX retinol.”

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(Image credit: Reddit/@egotr4p)

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 (opens in new tab). (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.

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Chloe Metzger
Beauty Editor

Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in AllureHealthFitnessMarie ClaireStyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.