Retinol Is a Magical Acne Treatment—Here's How to Use It

When most people think of retinol, they think of its anti-aging properties, how it stimulates collagen production, and how it decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. What most people don't think of, however, is its acne-fighting capabilities. I, for one, swear by applying a single drop of my Perricone MD OVM Instant Tightening Serum With Retinol ($155) to an emerging blemish after I wash my face. Come morning, the spot will have shrunk visibly.

According to Lamees Hamdan, founder and CEO of Shiffa, retinol works wonders for improving the state of acneic skin, thanks to its chemical composition. It is, after all, a derivative of vitamin A. "Vitamin A derivatives help speed cell turnover to stop dead cells from clogging pores and causing some forms of acne," she explains. "Since they exfoliate the upper layers of the skin, they also allow anti-acne creams and gels to penetrate better, enhancing their results (even if you prefer going the more natural anti-acne route and like using tea tree essential oil)." In short, retinol could be the one acne-banishing ingredient that your skincare routine is missing. You just have to know how best to use it, which is where skincare experts like Hamdan come in.