Your Cart

Discounted Addons

Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
$13.98 $27.95

🔥PRIME DAY SALE! Add an extra 10% savings + Free US Shipping over $50: Code: PRIME🔥

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


Does Retinol Help with Acne? (What You Need To Know)

When it comes to skincare, retinol has gained a solid reputation for its anti-aging properties. But does retinol help with acne?

In this blog post, we'll explore the science behind retinol, its potential benefits for acne-prone skin, and how to use it safely and effectively. So, buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of retinol and acne.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Retinol can effectively treat acne by promoting skin cell turnover, reducing inflammation, and regulating oil production.

  • Exposed Skin Care is a comprehensive acne treatment system that combines science and nature, offering a more suitable solution for sensitive skin and severe acne.

  • Retinol has anti-aging benefits, but a complete acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care addresses all aspects of acne and skin health.

  • Choosing the right acne treatment depends on your skin type, sensitivity, and specific concerns; a comprehensive approach to skincare can lead to clearer, healthier skin.

 Woman using retinol on her face with dropper

What is Retinol?

Before we delve into the effects of retinol on acne, let's first understand what retinol is. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune system function. It's a popular ingredient in many skincare products, particularly those targeting aging and sun-damaged skin.

Retinol vs. Retinoids

It's essential to differentiate between retinol and retinoids, as these terms are often used interchangeably. Retinoids are a family of compounds derived from vitamin A, while retinol is a specific type of retinoid. Prescription retinoids, like tretinoin and adapalene, are stronger and typically used to treat more severe skin conditions, while over-the-counter retinol products are generally milder and used for anti-aging purposes.

How Does Retinol Help with Acne?

Retinol can indeed be beneficial for acne-prone skin thanks to its various properties:

  1. Exfoliation: Retinol speeds up the process of cell turnover, which means it helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. This can lead to a reduction in acne breakouts.

  2. Anti-inflammatory: Retinol has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the redness and inflammation often associated with acne.

  3. Regulating oil production: Retinol can help regulate sebum production, reducing the amount of oil on the skin and, consequently, the likelihood of acne breakouts.

Choosing the Right Retinol Product for Acne

When selecting a retinol product to help with acne, consider the following factors:

  • Strength: Over-the-counter retinol products are available in different strengths, typically ranging from 0.1% to 1%. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase as your skin adjusts.

  • Formulation: Look for non-comedogenic and oil-free formulations to avoid clogging pores or exacerbating acne.

  • Ingredients: Choose products with added soothing or hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or ceramides to help counteract potential irritation.

Retinol Serums vs. Creams for Acne-Prone Skin

When considering using retinol for acne, choosing between retinol serums and creams is important.

Retinol serums are usually lighter and absorb more quickly into the skin, which can be beneficial for acne-prone skin, particularly for those with oily or combination skin.

On the other hand, retinol creams tend to be more moisturizing and may be more suitable for those with dry or sensitive skin.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While retinol can be an effective acne treatment, it's important to be aware of potential side effects and take precautions:

  1. Irritation: Retinol can cause skin irritation, dryness, redness, and peeling, especially when first introduced. To minimize these side effects, start with a lower concentration and gradually increase the frequency of use as your skin adjusts.

  1. Sun sensitivity: Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn and sun damage. Always apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and wear protective clothing outdoors.

  2. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Retinoids, including retinol, are not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as they can potentially cause harm to the developing baby. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider before using retinol products.

Alternatives to Retinol for Treating Acne

If you have sensitive skin or find that retinol is too irritating, there are alternative acne treatments to consider.

Salicylic acid is a common over-the-counter ingredient that can help treat acne by exfoliating the skin and unclogging pores.

For more severe acne, a prescription retinoid, like tretinoin or adapalene, may be recommended by a dermatologist. These topical retinoids are more potent and specifically designed to treat skin conditions like acne, but they can also be more irritating than over-the-counter retinol products.

Salicylic and other acids

Incorporating Retinol into Your Skincare Routine

To maximize the benefits of using retinol for acne, it's essential to incorporate it into your skincare routine correctly.

Start by using a retinol serum or cream once or twice a week at night, allowing your skin to adjust to the product. Gradually increase the frequency of use, ensuring you're not experiencing excessive irritation.

When using retinol for acne, avoid combining it with other potent active ingredients, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can lead to increased irritation. Instead, opt for soothing or hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide in other steps of your skincare routine. Always cleanse your skin before applying retinol and follow up with a moisturizer to minimize dryness.

Remember that retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 during the day.

Why Exposed Skin Care is a Better Option for Managing Acne than Retinol

While retinol can be an effective treatment for acne-prone skin, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with sensitive skin or severe acne.

Exposed basic kit

In such cases, Exposed Skin Care can be a better alternative. Below are the features and benefits of Exposed Skin Care that make it an excellent option for managing acne:

  • High-quality ingredients and manufacturing: Exposed Skin Care products are made in the United States and Canada, ensuring the highest product quality and safety.

  • Proprietary, scientifically-based formula: Exposed Skin Care combines the best ingredients from science and nature, providing a spa-quality, prescription-strength skin care experience at home.

  • Effective acne treatment without a prescription: Exposed Skin Care treats acne as effectively as prescription medications without the risks and hassle of regularly visiting a dermatologist.

  • Comprehensive skincare for all: Exposed Skin Care is designed for both men and women, treating acne and providing general skincare for teens and adults alike.

  • No need to change your routine: Exposed Skin Care will clear your skin without requiring you to alter your diet or established routines.

  • Affordable and convenient: Exposed Skin Care is more cost-effective than seeing a dermatologist and ships directly to your door, allowing you to maintain a simple, twice-daily skincare routine from home.

  • Industry-leading guarantee: Exposed Skin Care offers an unconditional money-back guarantee on your first Member kit within one year of purchase if you don't achieve a reduction in acne and smoother skin. They also accept returns of unopened orders within 30 days of delivery, reflecting their confidence in the product's effectiveness.

  • Friendly and responsive customer support: Exposed Skin Care's customer support team is available at 1-866-404-7656 to assist with orders, questions, or concerns, providing a reliable and personalized service.

Considering the benefits of Exposed Skin Care, it can be a superior option for managing acne compared to retinol, particularly for those with sensitive skin, severe acne, or looking for a comprehensive and affordable skincare solution.



while retinol has proven to be an effective treatment for acne-prone skin due to its ability to promote skin cell turnover, reduce inflammation, and regulate oil production, it may not be the ideal solution for everyone. For those with sensitive skin or severe acne, a complete acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care can provide a more comprehensive and effective approach to managing acne.

Exposed Skin Care combines the power of science and nature, offering a spa-quality, prescription-strength skincare experience at home. Its proprietary formula treats acne and provides general skincare for both men and women of all ages. Furthermore, it is more affordable and convenient compared to regular dermatologist visits and prescription retinoids.

Additionally, retinol is known for its anti-aging benefits, such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, because it can increase skin cell turnover and promote collagen production.

However, these benefits may not be sufficient for those seeking a complete acne solution. A comprehensive acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care addresses multiple aspects of acne and skin health, making it a more suitable choice for many individuals.

It's essential to consider your skin type, sensitivity, and specific concerns when choosing an acne treatment. While retinol and its derivative, retinoic acid, can play a significant role in a skincare routine, it is crucial to weigh the benefits of using retinol against the advantages of a complete acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care. By focusing on a comprehensive approach to skincare, you can achieve clearer, healthier skin and enjoy the confidence that comes with it.


Q: Does retinol help with acne scars?

Retinol can help improve the appearance of acne scars by promoting cell turnover and collagen production, which can smooth the skin's texture and reduce discoloration. However, the effectiveness may vary depending on the type and severity of the scars.

Q: How long does it take for retinol to work on acne?

The time it takes for retinol to show visible results on acne can vary, but most people start noticing improvements within 6-12 weeks of consistent use. Patience and persistence are key when using retinol products.

Q: Can I use retinol with other acne treatments?

It is possible to use retinol in conjunction with other acne treatments, but it's essential to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional first. Some combinations, like retinol and benzoyl peroxide, can cause increased irritation and reduce the effectiveness of both ingredients. Using retinol with other soothing or hydrating ingredients, like niacinamide or hyaluronic acid, is generally safer.

Q: Does retinol help with acne for all skin types?

Retinol can be effective for various skin types, but its effectiveness may vary depending on factors like skin sensitivity, the severity of acne, and the concentration of retinol used. Always consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine the best retinol product and regimen for your skin type.