Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.

Patients always ask me, “When will dermatologists invent a true skin fitness cream?’ Well, we already have! The miracle ingredient is retinol! Second only to sunblocks, retinol formulations are beloved by skin experts and considered a key to obtaining and maintaining youthful looking skin. I reached out to some of the most respected beauty experts in the aesthetic industry to get their personal views and recommendations on retinols!

What Is Retinol Exactly?
“A derivative of vitamin A, it’s well established that retinols help address acne but many people are pleasantly surprised to know that retinol creams have powerful aesthetic benefits too,” says aesthetic godmother Meg Driscoll. “That’s because of their mechanism of action; retinols increase skin cell turnover resulting in smoother skin and collagen production! My favorite retinol is AlphaRet Overnight Cream from Skin Better!”

Who Should Use Retinol?
“Retinols are for nearly anyone who wants to improve their skin!” says dermatologist Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should refrain from using them, however. That said, I otherwise recommend a retinol product to every eligible patient I see. No single skin care ingredient is more useful. I personally recommend Renewal Retinol from Alastin Skincare.”

When Should You Start Using Retinol?
“The right time to use a retinol is at night simply because retinols can make our skin more sensitive and sunlight decreases their efficacy,” explains Camille Morgan, director of skincare sales and education at LaserAway Beauty. “As we age, collagen levels in the skin start decreasing more rapidly. This is especially true when we hit our 30s. Retinols can help unclog pores, exfoliate and smooth skin, and help maintain collagen! I’m extremely biased but I strongly suggest using LaserAway Beauty‘s My Hero Retinol Repair Night Serum – you will awake to skin that is remarkably radiant and has a healthy glow.”

Where Should You Apply Retinol?
“Retinols are nearly always applied to the face,” aesthetic nurse Corey Ordoyne says. “But you can use them in other areas as well! As long as you aren’t too aggressive and start with a small amount, retinols can be applied to the neck, the chest and even the decolletage. You do have to be careful around delicate eye skin as well as around the corners of the mouth but as a general rule, a nighttime retinol should be applied to the entire face and just a pearl-sized amount is enough for the entire face – a little goes a long way!”

What’s the Best Way to Introduce Retinol Into a Routine?
“If you’ve never used a retinol, start slowly. Start with twice a week, two to three days days apart, gradually increasing frequency to every other night, and then advancing to each evening or as tolerated,” says Dr. Rahul Mehta, vice president of research & development at SkinMedica. Retinol Complex comes in different strengths (0.25, 0.5, and 1.0) and this allows consumers to customize their treatment and improve the appearance of skin aging with minimal irritation, allowing for continued use and better results over time!”

What Are the Benefits to Using Retinol?
“The reason why you should use retinols is because of the improvements in your skin that you’ll see!” says aesthetic nurse practitioner Dr. Morgan Wolf. “After eight weeks of using a quality retinol you’ll notice that your skin experiences the three S’: It will be smoother, softer, and more supple! You have to be patient and not overdo it but nearly every single person who tries a night-time retinol sticks with it because of the great result it offers!”