Does Retinol Help with Acne?

Does Retinol Help with Acne?

03 May 2024


Whether you're a skincare beginner or a veteran, you've likely heard of the benefits of retinol, which plays a vital role in any effective skincare routine. This highly sought-after ingredient is a must-have to protect your skin from premature signs of aging. It's commonly applied as a serum and is essential for maintaining your youthful complexion.

While looking for new ingredients or products to add to your routine, you may wonder: Can retinol help with other skin insecurities and imperfections? Does retinol help with acne, blemishes, or dark spots?

While retinol may be known and loved as the holy grail of anti-aging, there are many other benefits to incorporating this ingredient into your routine. 

In this blog, we'll look at what retinol can do for your skin and how to use it as an effective acne treatment. 



What is Retinol?

Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is considered one of the most effective skincare ingredients for anti-aging. It's a core component in many serums and can help maintain the natural appearance of your complexion.

Retinol's ability to help aid cell turnover and collagen production makes it different from other skincare ingredients. Retinol attaches to receptors on the skin's surface, which helps eliminate dead skin cells and makes room for new, healthy cells. 

That's not the only benefit of using retinol in your skincare routine. Many of the common advantages include:

● Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

● Increasing cell turnover and cell production

● Eliminating hyperpigmentation and reducing the appearance of dark spots and acne scars

● Helping promote collagen production

● Evening out of skin tone and texture 

● Regulating sebum production 

● Eliminating bacteria and unclog pores 


How Retinol Helps with Acne



So, does retinol help with acne as well? The short answer is yes. Retinol for acne is more common than you might think. 

Retinol works to regulate oil production, clear pores, and reduce inflammation, all of which can improve your skin's integrity and help you achieve a cleansed complexion.  There are many reasons why retinol is good for acne; 


Inhibits The Growth of Propionibacterium Acnes 


This is an acne-causing bacteria that causes breakouts and blemishes. Retinol can help eliminate this bacteria, keeping acne breakouts at bay and unclogging your pores. 


Regulate Sebum Production


Individuals with acne or oily-prone skin often struggle with excess sebum production. Excess sebum production can clog your pores and cause inflammation, breakouts, and redness. 


Gentle Exfoliation


Retinol has exfoliating properties that can help with cellular turnover, minimize black or whiteheads, and prevent future breakouts.



What to Know Before Applying

To fully experience the benefits of retinol for acne, look for a high-quality serums containing high concentrations, or pure forms of retinol. Before you start to use retinol for acne, you'll want to:


Slowly Introduce Retinol Into Your Routine


It's best to take your time with introducing retinol for acne into your routine. Retinol is an active skincare ingredient that can cause dryness, redness, and irritation if you aren't careful.


Try a Patch Test


If you have sensitive skin, you may want to consider patch testing it on a different area of skin first, for example on the inside of your elbow, to see if you have any negative reactions to the formula. 


Always Use Retinol at Night


Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so it's best to use retinol at night as part of your nighttime routine. During the day, you can switch it out for a vitamin C or a hyaluronic acid serum, and always remember to wear SPF.


Stay Consistent


To get the most out of retinol for acne, you must stay consistent with your regimen and remember that it takes time to see results. 



How to Apply Retinol



If you want to experience the effects of retinol for acne, you'll want to focus on building a skincare routine that features a high-quality retinol serum. Here's how to build a nighttime routine around retinol:


Gentle Cleanser


You'll always want to start with a gentle cleanser during your nighttime routine. A cleanser will help eliminate acne-causing bacteria and unclog your pores. Starting with a cleanser will also help you create a clean, clear complexion and help the serums and creams you use fully absorb into the skin. 




An exfoliant can help buff away dead skin cells and allow new cell growth. If you have sensitive skin, you'll want to be mindful of pairing exfoliants with a retinol serum. Instead, consider skin cycling - this skincare trend encourages you to cycle through exfoliants and retinol on alternate days to help you protect your skin barrier and maximize the efficiency of the ingredients.


The Essence, our 3-in-1 exfoliant, toner, and hydrating essence, is gentle enough to use daily and is suitable for all skin types, including acne and oily-prone skin. Throughout our 12-week user trials, all participants reported that their skin feels soft, smooth, and hydrated, while 84% also noted improved skin balance and soothing.


Retinol Serum


Gently massage the serum on your dry face, neck, and décolleté. Use smooth, sweeping motions across your forehead,  cheeks and T-zone. 


The Retinol Serum is our potent blend of Pure Retinol, Marine Ectoine, and Purifying Zinc Complex. We've paired it with our patented  TFC8® technology to help guide nutrients to the cells, making it easier to treat specific skincare concerns. Our retinol serum can also optimize the skin microbiome and prevent the overgrowth of unwanted bacteria that cause acne. In our 12-week user trials, we observed a remarkable 90% reduction in post-acne marks and a 29% decrease in skin sebum levels.




Once you've given your retinol serum some time to absorb into your skin thoroughly, you can finish your nighttime routine with your everyday moisturizer. Your moisturizer should help lock in hydration and prevent transepidermal moisture loss. 


If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, consider using The Cream, our lightweight moisturizer specifically formulated for those with blemish-prone or oily skin types. It's an effective yet gentle formula that can help reduce redness and normalize your skin barrier while keeping inflammation at bay. During user trials, 75% agreed that The Cream visibly diminishes the size and redness of acne blemishes. 



Possible Side Effects

Like most skincare ingredients, there are some side effects to the consistent use of retinol for acne. To ensure you don't disrupt your skin barrier or cause more harm than good, you should always listen to your skin's needs and be mindful of how it reacts to a potent retinol serum. 

Here are some possible side effects to look out for when using retinol for acne:


Redness or Irritation


If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, you’ll want to ease retinol into your routine. Continued and consistent use can sometimes cause unwanted redness and irritation. Instead, you’ll want to use it once every other day and slowly work your way into using it more. After a few weeks, your skin should acclimate to retinol. 


Skin Sensitivities


Retinol can also make your skin more sensitive if you aren’t careful. If you notice any irritation, you may want to consider trying a different formula or consider a skin cycling routine. 


Allergic Reactions


Retinol may cause allergic reactions. If you notice any redness, swelling, dryness, or burning, retinol may not be the best choice for your unique skin type. 


Acne Flare-ups


Some individuals experience the opposite effects of retinol for acne. If you notice additional flare-ups, blackheads, or unwanted blemishes, you may want to reduce your usage or speak with a healthcare provider to create a treatment plan.



Experience Retinol for Acne With Augustinus Bader



Retinol is a clinically-proven must-have for your skincare routine. Whether your concerns are acne, wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation, there are many ways to benefit from retinol. 

At Augustinus Bader, we've spent over 30+ years researching and formulating products that help you achieve visible results. What makes our retinol different from other formulas is that it’s combined with Professor Bader’s patented TFC8 technology in order to create the optimal environment for skin cellular renewal, making it gentle enough for everyday use. 

Explore our skincare collection today to get started.


Reduces lines and blemishes for clear, smooth, even skin
From CA$255.00
Part gentle exfoliant, part toner, part hydrating essence
From CA$43.00
Light moisturizer for combination to oily skin
From CA$130.00