Retinol Isn't Actually That Scary—We've Got the Study Notes to Prove It

While a few basic skincare ingredients have become household names—vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid—the substance that can really get a crowd of skincare buffs talking is retinol. We’ve all heard of it, but after discussions both in and outside the office, it’s now crystal clear that we’re not all exactly sure what it is—or how it works—and quite frankly, we’re a little bit scared of the stuff. That’s where I come in.

In an effort to get educated, I contacted both a top dermatologist and a celebrity esthetician for the full rundown, because two brains—and well-cared-for faces—are certainly better than one. Below you’ll see that Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group and celebrity facialist Renée Rouleau have so many incredible insights that make the whole retinol situation a lot clearer.