Side effects from using retinol include sensitivity to the sun, dryness, peeling and skin irritation. More serious side effects include blistering, swelling and crusting, according to WebMD.
Side effects may be reduced if retinol users take a few precautions. They should limit sun exposure, use a high-SPF sunscreen and wear protective clothing, such as a hat. Those using retinols should also use a moisturizer to reduce the chances of dry skin and peeling, suggests WebMD.
Retinol users should only use the amount prescribed and as directed to reduce the risk of side effects. Exposing the skin to more retinol does not increase the positive effects, although it does increase the severity of side effects, warns WebMD. Side effects often lessen with time.
Although it was original developed for acne, doctors prescribe retinol treatment for a variety of skin issues including wrinkles, acne, warts and psoriasis, says WebMD. Though it does come in pill form, it is commonly prescribed as a topical cream. Retinol works as acne cream by clearing pores, which allows other medications to better penetrate the skin.
Retinol also helps produce collagen and stimulates blood vessels, which is why it works as a wrinkle and dark spot treatment, explains WebMD.