Can You Use Retinol Creams on Your Body, Too?

If you’re a skincare guru, you’re probably no stranger to the many benefits of retinol, like getting rid of acne, smoothing lines and wrinkles, evening your skin tone and texture, and lots more. But there has been some confusion floating around about how to reap those same benefits for your body, not just your face.


There are a number of retinol body lotions available that are specifically formulated to use on your chest, back, arms, thighs, and other areas. But before you jump right in, take a look at the answers to some of the most common questions about how and when to use retinol for your body.

What’s the Best Type of Retinol to Use on Your Body?

You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Why can’t I just use the retinol cream I already have for my face on my body?” Not so fast! Not only is the retinol you use for your face probably on the pricey side, but it’s also super concentrated. Your face has more hair follicles and oil glands than anywhere else on your body, so it’s able to tolerate a higher concentration of ingredients like retinol, whereas your body might develop adverse effects like dryness, redness, and irritation if you were to use that high of a concentration.


The other advantage of using a retinol cream specifically formulated for your body is that you can custom-tailor that lotion to meet your skin’s unique needs based on skin type. For example, very dry skin can benefit from using a retinol lotion that contains moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. If you’re looking to treat sun damage or slow down the aging process, look for a retinol body lotion that contains antioxidants like vitamin C.

How Often Should You Use Retinol Body Lotion?

The key to seeing success with any retinol product is to gradually introduce it to your skin and find the “sweet spot” of how often you can apply the lotion without experiencing the negative side effects of retinoid dermatitis. Follow these general guidelines when beginning any new retinol product for your body:

  • Start by applying a small amount to an inconspicuous area of your body, such as the inside of your arm. Once you know that your skin can tolerate that amount, you can begin to use it on larger areas of your body.
  • Start by applying the retinol body lotion only once or twice per week to allow your skin time to adjust to the new ingredient.
  • Slowly increase the frequency that you use the retinol product, working up to a daily application. If you have sensitive or very dry skin, you might only be able to apply retinol every few days, and that’s just fine!

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Retinol Body Lotions?

Retinol body creams can be an excellent option for women and men alike, and virtually all age groups. Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center’s own Dr. Azza Halim explained to DermStore that not only does retinol help to treat existing signs of aging, but it can also prevent fine lines and wrinkles from showing up in the first place.


Whether you’re looking to treat “backne,” smooth rough, bumpy skin, or get rid of cellulite, a retinol body cream could be the perfect solution for you. That said, there are a few groups of people who may not be good candidates for retinol body products. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are recommended to avoid retinol products for the face and body.


Additionally, people with very sensitive or dry skin should talk with their skincare provider before starting a retinol body cream, since retinol can make dryness worse if not used properly.

Do Retinol Body Creams Tighten Skin?

Yes, retinol for your body can help to tighten skin and improve the appearance of cellulite, since retinol stimulates collagen production and the natural cell renewal process. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks or months to see visible results from retinol body lotion, so don’t give up if you don’t see an immediate improvement overnight!


However, if you are looking for more dramatic skin-tightening or cellulite reduction results, you might consider in-office treatment options like EMSCULPT NEO® or VelaShape™. These treatments are non-invasive, don’t require downtime, and can achieve excellent results in a relatively short amount of time.


For more information on how EMSCULPT, VelaShape, or other body contouring treatments work, or to book a consultation, please contact us online or call our Boca Raton & Fort Lauderdale office today at 561-462-0377.