Retinol Is the Miracle Skincare Product Every Man Should Consider

Inside Hook

Skincare TikTok, aka #SkinTok, has been persuading me to incorporate a topical retinol into my skincare routine for months now, and finally succeeded.

Dermatologists and people with enviable, vibrant-looking skin have long been boasting about the benefits of vitamin A derivative retinoids, particularly the one most commonly known as retinol, for its anti-aging properties and ability to clear up acne and acne scars. But among the myriad positive reviews and recommendations (most by certified doctors), some users remain unconvinced, noting the vitamin A derivative has caused their skin to peel and burn. Which is true: retinoids can cause irritable side effects if they’re not applied correctly. If they are, though, they’re the gold standard when it comes to fighting acne and wrinkles.

To figure out what, exactly, “correct application” looks like, we dialed up Dr. Muneeb Shah, a dermatologist based in North Carolina who makes educational skincare videos on TikTok, where he’s known to his 6.3 million followers as the @dermdoctor. Below, he shares some notes on why incorporating a topical retinol into your routine can benefit your skin, as well as how to use it safely and successfully.

First, what’s the difference between retinol and retinoid?

Skincare products are confusing. For one, there are, like, a bazillion of them. Second, many have similar-sounding names that make it even harder to remember what exactly you’re applying to your face. Retinol and retinoid are sometimes used interchangeably, and that’s not technically incorrect, but it can get confusing.

Essentially, retinoid makes up an entire body of compounds derived from vitamin A. Most retinoids require a prescription due to their potency, but retinol is a type of retinoid you can purchase over-the-counter as a cream, gel, serum or moisturizer, since they’re a weaker form of vitamin A — but still the strongest OTC retinoid you can buy.