Retinol body lotions seem to have popped up out of nowhere as a new way to take care of the skin on your body, but retinol has long been an ingredient that can do wonders for aging skin.The skin on our bodies has been long been overlooked compared to our faces, but this seems to be changing thanks to a newfound interest in body care.
Retinol in body lotion is my new favorite way to take care of the skin on my body. It’s convenient and there are a number of options, some of them very affordable, which allow you to reduce and remove signs of aging on your body while also adding in some hydration.
There are a few guidelines I like to follow to make the most of my retinol for maximum effectiveness, as well as avoid the dryness and irritation that can also come with retinol. This guide is a thorough primer to how to use retinol body lotion (and if you want to see my reviews of 4 different retinol body lotions, check them out here!)
What Does Retinol Body Lotion Do
Retinol in body lotion (or in facial skincare) has loads of benefits for anti-aging. Retinol is derived from vitamin A and science to back up its effectiveness. Some of its benefits are:
Makes skin smoother and softer
Retinol increases cell turnover, which is another way of saying it makes you shed dead skin cells and grow new ones which lead to smoother and softer skin.
Removes and reduces fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles
Fine lines, age spots and wrinkles are all signs of aging skin, but retinol works to get rid of these sign while also working to prevent them.
Evens out and brightens skin
Retinol also has a hand in reducing hyperpigmentation and spots caused by damage, as well as evening out one’s skin tone.
Body Retinol vs. Face Retinol
Body retinols tend to have less retinol than a face cream, in part because your face tends to have more concentrated issues with regards to fine lines, aging spots, and hyperpigmentation. You can use your face retinol on your body, but facial creams are often more expensive and buying a retinol just for your body tends to be more affordable.
How to How to Use Retinol Body Lotion for Maximum Retinol Absorption
Using a retinol body lotion is similar to using any other body lotion, but these tips will help you get maximum absorption so you can make the most of your rental routine.
Cleansing your skin before you apply body lotion will clear your skin of any dirt or oil that is covering your pores. Use a gentle body wash or soap.
2. Exfoliate once a week (on a day when you’re not using retinol)
Exfoliating is a great way to make sure your pores aren’t clogged and the retinol is able to penetrate your skin. Be careful of over-exfoliating though which can irritate your skin. Also, it’s a good idea to exfoliate on a day when you’re not using retinol body lotion, especially if your exfoliant contains AHAs or BHAs as these can increase dryness and irritation when used with retinol.
3. Make sure your skin is dry
It’s best to apply retinol to completely dry skin because Moisture on the skin can dilute the retinol and reduce its effectiveness.
4. Use a small amount
While it may seem like applying a lot will give you maximum benefits, you only need to apply a little to get maximum benefits.
5. Apply sunscreen
It’s important to apply sunscreen after your body retinol routine. Even if you are applying lotion only at night, retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. A sunscreen will protect your skin and avoid damage and irritation that can arise from retinol use in the sun.
How Often To Use Retinol Body Lotion
When starting a retinol routine, you’ll want to start small to avoid irritation. Using too much too face can cause dryness and redness, so begin by using it once a week and then scaling up if your skin is taking well to that.
Should You Use Retinol On Your Whole Body?
You can use retinol anywhere on your limbs and torso, such like a regular body lotion, but some prefer to use it only on the areas where it seems to be needed most like their hands, neck, feet, or chest. These are areas most susceptible to aging and using body retinol only on a few areas can make applying more manageable than having to slather down your whole body.
Wherever you’ve applied body retinol (and even where you haven’t) it’s important to always remember to follow up with sunscreen!
What Not To Use With Retinol Body Lotion
Retinol can be irritating to the skin, especially to sensitive skin and skin that is not used to retinol, but other ingredients can increase its potential to be an irritant, like:
BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) and AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
It’s best to apply these on days when you are not also applying retinol
Often used in acne treatments, benzoyl peroxide can be drying and irritating especially when used with retinol
Hair Removal Products
These products can make the skin more sensitive which can make retinol more irritating
Is It OK to Mix Retinol with Body Lotion?
While it’s ok to mix your facial retinol with body lotion, it will likely be less effective since it is being diluted. Retinols are generally most effective in their original formulation.
Wherever you are using retinol, pay attention to the concentration of your retinol and the sensitivity of that part of your skin and whether that strength of retinol is compatible.
How to Use Retinol Body Lotion Conclusion
Retinol body lotion is a no-brainer if you’re looking for a way to reduce signs of aging on your body. Applying it consistently to your effected areas can lead to some great results, but don't expect anything quick. Retinol can take weeks to months to work, but if you are playing the long game, retinol can have huge effects on the appearance of your skin in the years to come!