Retinol Oil: All The Benefits Without The Irritation

Retinol has become a much-talked-about beauty product in recent years. Many people praise it for its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which helps give the skin a more youthful look. However, the over-the-counter treatment doesn't come without its downsides. Applying the product to the skin may result in dryness, redness, and irritation, especially for those using it for the first time. While these are all commonly reported side effects, they can be easy to resolve. For some, slowly building up skin tolerance by initially applying less of the product helps ward off these unwanted effects. However, for individuals with particularly sensitive skin, even these measures may not help. That's where retinol oil comes in.


Before furiously searching for alternatives to the much-loved treatment, it's worth giving retinol oil a shot. This nifty little product comes with a wide range of benefits and certainly gives other retinol products a run for their money. What makes retinol oil so special? We're glad you asked.

Retinol oil combats dryness and irritation

Experiencing dryness, redness, peeling, and itching when you use retinol products is par for the course. Many people decide to endure these issues so that they can enjoy retinol's benefits. Some slowly build up to full doses of the powerful stuff, which allows their skin to adjust to its effects, while others incorporate intensely moisturizing, soothing, and healing products into their skincare routine. This works out well for a number of retinol users. But what should you do when none of that does the truck? The fact is, some people's skin is simply too sensitive to ever get used to straight-up retinol, no matter what tricks or approaches they might try. Should they simply accept a retinol-free life?


No, they shouldn't — and it's all down to retinol oil. This nifty little product could be the answer to all your retinol woes. While conventional retinol products can be harsh on the skin, thanks to high skin cell turnover, retinol oil actually combats dryness and irritation. How does it do this? The secret is in the second word: oil. Speaking to Allure, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi explained it simply: "Retinol oils put the retinol in an oil base." This oil helps moisturize the skin, thus fighting retinol's characteristic irritation.

It's just as effective as non oil-based retinol

Retinol, which often comes in the form of a topical cream, serum, or gel, can cause significant improvements in the skin. But those with sensitive skin are forced into a tough choice: Do they want to accept those benefits at the cost of flaking, itching, and irritation? Retinol oil seems like a dream come true for them, but they might be wondering if there's a catch. Is retinol oil truly as effective as non-oil-based retinol products? Thankfully, the answer is yes. Retinol oil is equally effective as its counterparts, which means you can reap the full benefits of this product with minimal irritation — in other words, a complete win-win for your skin.


With consistent use of retinol oil, you'll likely see major improvements in fine lines and visible pores, among other problem areas. However, the key word here is "consistent" — your outcomes largely depend upon how often you use the product and how correctly. But if you're not a skincare newbie, you've probably already got a routine you know how to stick to, and will have no trouble incorporating retinol oil into it. 

Other ingredients help soothe your skin

Some retinol oils don't just rely on the oil itself to soothe the skin — they contain other ingredients as well. Talking to Bustle, dermatologist Dr. Julie Russak explained that ingredients such as algae, marula seed oil, and sea buckthorn extract can help to minimize irritation due to their anti-inflammatory and hydrating qualities. These qualities actively combat retinol's most intense side effects, which means that you should see less redness and irritation when using it. This is excellent news if you have sensitive skin – in fact, you may already be familiar with these products, as they're widely-known to be suited towards your skin type. However, Russak also mentions that if you suffer from acne, the oil could aggravate breakouts. If this is an issue for you, you should definitely keep this in mind. To work around this, try to only apply your retinol oil to areas less prone to breakouts. 


Alongside the ingredients mentioned above, keep your eyes peeled for elements like squalane, licorice root, jojoba oil, chia seed oil, hemp seed oil, and cacay. All of these ingredients have soothing properties that you can find in a variety of different retinol oils.

Retinol oil is ideal for individuals with dry skin

If you're someone with naturally dry skin, then the harsh and irritating effects of many retinol products may have caused you to steer clear of using them. However, using retinol oil could help to solve this problem. As well as helping to minimize irritation and redness, retinol oil is also hydrating, making it a perfect option for dry skin.


But how exactly does retinol oil work to combat dry skin? Facial oils work to keep your skin hydrated by reducing water loss, meaning that more moisture is retained in the skin, according to Dr. Alok Vij. This, in turn, helps keep your skin moisturized and calm, which often leads to a more radiant appearance. This same process applies to retinol oils. While the retinol remains intense, the oil goes to work, retaining water and keeping your skin in healthy, hydrated shape. So, not only are retinol oils less irritating for individuals with sensitive skin, they're also actively great for combating dry skin.