If your eyes sparkle at skin success stories, you've stumbled upon gold today. Thankfully, everyone's starting to truly adopt the millennial mantra of skin first. With that idea in mind, we're all truly committed to achieving a clean canvas, which, in a dream world, entails blemish-free, glowing, poreless skin. One of the star ingredients known to get you damn near close to that is retinol.
You'll hear nearly every dermatologist and esthetician say you should add retinol if it's not already part of your skincare routine. A vitamin A derivative used in skincare products for anti-aging and acne purposes, it's a proven acne-fighting ingredient that diminishes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, and sun spots. It's known to work fast and effectively, which is why you see it in so many products.
It works—that's for sure. This fact was proven in a recent viral Reddit thread about a woman's skin transformation that she credits retinol for. If you've questioned incorporating retinol in your skin regimen before, this photo showing her inflamed, acne-prone skin that has evolved into glowing, blemish-free skin two years later will have your mind made up that retinol is no joke. It's truly transformative.
Reddit user Egotr4p posted this photo titled, "Hard work and retinol rlly make a difference," which has since racked up hundreds of comments and shares. Many users were congratulating her on her skin transformation and she responded, "Thank you so, so much. I never thought I would be where I am now."
She also openly shared that a few years prior to posting her before photo she battled with severe cystic acne. She wrote: "God I know. I had horrible cystic acne a year or two before the left picture and i felt so so alone, and would cry almost daily. thank you for this comment. acne shaming is realllllll."
If you too would like to make magic happen on your skin, she shared that she used a prescription retinol called Tretinoin 0.025%. "I did not go to a derm, although I had access to RX retinol," she wrote in her comments. Her diet played a major part as well. "I don't think that was the only thing that really helped me though, although definitely a part of it all. Going vegan has improved the texture of my skin and frequency of pimples appearing as well as the other actives in my routine."
There you go, friends. It's about what you put into your body as well. "Diet is a part of skincare too for sure! I would recommend to literally everyone to give up or cut down on dairy products at least," she wrote. And she's right. Renée Rouleau, Byrdie's go-to esthetician, also confirmed that dairy definitely contributes to acne flare-ups. "The hypothesis is that since the majority of milk in the U.S. comes from pregnant cows (and some cows are given growth hormones), the hormone levels in milk may play a role in excess sebum production, which promotes acne," Rouleau told Byrdie.
We're not saying you have to go vegan; retinol will do the job. Its skin powers have been confirmed to us time and again by expert dermatologists. "Retinoids are the absolute backbone of an acne treatment since they treat acne by de-clogging pores," Melissa Levin, MD, told Byrdie. "They also work to normalize skin cell turnover and act as an anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, retinoids have been proven to improve skin discoloration and texture and, therefore, restore the skin from prior outbreaks."
If you want a skin glow-up just as good as this Reddit user's, start with the below retinol-based serums that have been backed by dermatologists as some of the best on the market (at every price point).
Read more about the skin benefits of each of these in depth, according to dermatologists.