A woman should worry about the side effects of a retinol skin cream if she is pregnant or plans to become pregnant, according to the National Institutes of Health and WebMD. Retinol and other retinoids have been linked to birth defects.
Other people who need to exercise care when using retinol skin cream are those who spend time in the sun, says WebMD. It is best for people who must use retinol while in the sun to apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 and cover the skin. People should also not use more retinol than their doctor prescribes. Using too much can dry, irritate and inflame skin.