10 More Frequently Asked Questions About FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5

Skin Care


I’m really happy to report FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 has been selling like hotcakes!  Our early feedback has been great as well, with the following comments coming in over the course of the past week (I only know one of these people for the record haha):

  • “Wow!  I really did wake up with smoother skin, thank you.” -D.D.
  • “It drinks in so fast!” -Y.Y.
  • “The product is wonderful!  I’ve used it for 4 days now, and the result is really amazing, my skin is very smooth and glowing!” -L.V.
  • “I love it!  Thank you, Nicki!” -J.M.

With that said, lots of questions have continued to roll in, and I’m more than happy to answer them!

[RELATED:  10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5]

1.) Is it OK for acne?

Retinoids fight acne by preventing skin cells from being stuck together; cleansing the pores; and decreasing sebum production.

Absolutely!  Retinoids fight acne in three ways:

  • Reducing the positive and negative charges and transglutaminase that make skin cells sticky. This may sound like science fiction, but bear with me: Skin cells tend to stick together in acne-prone patients, but use of retinoids has “superior ability to eradicate existing comedones and to prevent the formation of new ones” (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1995), reducing the cohesiveness of pimples (Clinical Therapies, 1992).
  • Removing material that clogs the pores. In addition to BHAs, AHAs, and comedone extractions, retinoids can also be used to remove pore-clogging material (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2002).
  • Decreasing the level of sebum. Topical retinoids (as well as oral ones) reduce sebaceous gland activity (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2002).

For the ultra-scientific: I know some of these studies include tretinoin, not retinol. But retinol is converted to all-trans retinoic acid in the skin, and has been quantified as 1/20 as potent (Clinics in Dermatology, 2001).  So 0.5% retinol is equivalent to about 0.025% tretinoin, from my best estimates.

2.) Am I too young to use it?

Most dermatologists recommend that you don’t start quite this young! Rather, age 25 is a good general time for most people to start. It varies, though, depending on sun exposure, environmental stressors, lifestyle, etc.

In a word: No. Most dermatologists recommend that all patients start to use retinoids around age 25, earlier in locations with sunny climates, where patients tend to show the signs of sun damage very early. Cell turnover in the skin naturally decreases about 7% for each decade of life after age 20, so it is the perfect time to start using retinoids in one’s mid-twenties.  There is also no detriment to starting sooner, particularly for those with acne.

3.)  How is this different than Retin-A Micro?

Retin-A Micro is a lightweight gel with microencapsulated tretinoin. FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is a lightweight gel with microencapsulated retinol.

Retin-A Micro is a lightweight gel with microencapsulated 0.02-0.04% tretinoin.

FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is a lightweight gel with microencapsulated 0.5% retinol.

Because retinol needs to be converted to retinaldehyde and then all-trans retinoic acid in order to be active within the skin, it is about 1/20 as potent as tretinoin (Clinics in Dermatology, 2001). So expect 0.5% retinol effects to be like 0.025% tretinoin.

4.)  When you say there might be an “adjustment period,” what does this mean?

An adjustment period with mild redness, irritation, or desquamation (mild skin flaking) can be expected. The difference between this and a bad reaction is that an adjustment period improves with gradual built-up use over time.

Mild redness, irritation, and desquamation (flakiness) are the most common side effects when using any retinoid (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2002). Granted, ours is microencapsulated, so the retinol is slowly released into the skin over the course of eight hours, which makes it somewhat more gentle. I have sensitive skin, and I was able to use it more quickly than with other retinoids in the past. But, truth be told, I don’t know if this is because of the microencapsulation, aloe, and witch hazel in our product, or the tolerance I’ve built up in my skin from using other retinol creams. Maybe both?

We advise applying small amounts at less frequent intervals (once every two to three days) to start. Do not use it with other treatment products to start, like alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids. Applying a soothing moisturizer afterwards is great.

5.)  Is an “adjustment period” even desirable in skin care products?

In a perfect world, we could all get the benefits of treatments like retinoids, peels, and laser treatments with no irritation at all. In reality, people have varying degrees of sensitivity to the treatments, but the vast majority can become tolerant of the treatments over time, with little or no irritation. This is why retinol creams are often sold as 0.5%, 1.0%, and 1.5% – you can “work up” as your skin tolerates higher concentrations.

Most of the time, yes. Think about someone’s skin after a glycolic acid peel: Red, raw, irritated. But within a few days, their skin improves. And within a week, their skin looks better than ever. Next thing you know, they’re lined up for their next appointment!

However, there is the “other” kind of period after using a product: Red, raw, irritated. And then it just gets worse.

The key to recognizing if a product is too strong for your skin is if the problem gets worse, not better, over time. Give it two weeks:  If it’s gotten worse, it’s probably not for you. That said, FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 has soothing aloe and witch hazel, and also retinol in a sustained-release microencapsulated form, so it should be gentle for your skin.  But we have a money-back guarantee, just in case.  🙂

6.)  It tingles!  Is this normal?

Experts vary on whether they believe skin tingling with a new product is a good thing or not. In my opinion, certain ingredients (like alcohol) will always tingle, but it’s what they are used in context with that makes a product a must-buy or not.

Skin tingling is one of those funny issues in skin care. Some people experience it with nearly everything; others never do. Some experts say it means blood flow is increasing to the skin, enabling the product to work; others say it’s a bad thing, triggering inflammation.

I’m in the middle: Your skin’s sensory receptors will react to types of compounds, like temperature receptors record hot/cold. Let’s say your skin tingles with any serum that contains alcohol. If you apply just alcohol to your skin, yes, this tingling indicates a bad thing. But if you apply antioxidants embedded in an alcohol (like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic) to your skin, then no, this tingling is not a bad thing. It’s all a matter of context.

FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 causes a slight tingle for a second or two in the skin for most people. But considering the beneficial ingredients embedded in the formulation, I would say this tingling is fine — I like it, actually.

7.)  Is retinol better than Differin (adapalene) or Tazorac (tazarotene)?

For the ultra-scientific – Scientifically speaking, retinoids are different because they bind to different receptors. Retin-A (tretinoin) binds to RXR and RAR receptors as all-trans retinoic acid is converted to cis-retinoic acid. Retinol is converted to retinaldehyde, then all-trans retinoic acid, and partially to cis-retinoic acid within the skin, which is why more retinol (0.5%) than tretinoin (0.025%) is needed for the same effects. Adapalene and tazarotene bind to only RAR receptors. Adapalene is more stable than tretinoin, whereas tazarotene helps psoriasis plaques.

Not better — just different.

Differin (Adapalene) is preferred by some with sensitive skin because it has been shown to be less irritating than tretinoin (International Journal of Dermatology, 2001).  Adapalene is also more chemically stable than tretinoin (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1997). For the ultra-scientific, adapalene binds to only type RAR retinoid receptors, whereas tretinoin binds to both RARs and RXRs. I believe this is the reason most dermatologists still prescribe tretinoin by default.

Tazorac (Tazarotene) is excellent for plaque psoriasis and superficial damage, like sunspots, as much of its action is focused on the uppermost layers of skin (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2002). For acne, 0.1% tretinoin has been shown to have similar efficacy to 0.1% adapalene or 0.025% tretinoin (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2000). For the ultra-scientific, Tazorac binds to only type RAR retinoid receptors, whereas tretinoin binds to both RARs and RXRs.

8.)  Why does it contain alcohol?

No, you wouldn’t want to apply straight rubbing alcohol to your skin. But in a formulation, alcohol thins the solution and helps absorption.

A few reasons: First, as a part of our solvent system, alcohol helps to thin the solution and deliver the ingredient deeper within the skin.  This is well-known amongst cosmetic chemists, such as The Beauty Brains, who have said, “If [ethanol] is helping another ingredient ‘stimulate epidermal renewal’ then it may be well worth it.” Our goal here is to thin out the solution, not to dry your skin!

Second, alcohol is pretty much necessary for our product to have the lightweight, fast-absorbing quality that it does  It is made so those with dry skin can apply FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 follow!ed by a moisturizer, whereas those with oily or acne-prone skin don’t need anything but FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5!

9.)  Is it safe during shipping to Warm Locations?

Retinol is stable in temperatures up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (source: BASF). The rumor retinol is unstable is true, but stems from the fact that retinol is both difficult to work with and sensitive to light. That is why our product was made with caution by skilled professionals, and is sealed in an opaque, airtight container.

10.)  Can I sell this in a spa, salon, or physician’s office?

FutureDerm Time Release Retinol

Select wholesale orders of 10 or more are available; please contact nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com for more information.

To Buy, Please Visit Our Web Shop

Smoother skin the next day, we promise.  We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee!

If you have more questions, please, let me know!  🙂

Check our bestsellers!

  • Alex

    So after Retinol has converted to its other forms within the skin, it doesn’t bind to both RARs and RXRs receptors? Or does it?

  • Susan

    Is there a chance that longterm use of Retinol could thin the epidermis of the skin? I know it can actually thicken the dermis but I have read articles that say one of the downsides to longterm use of retinoids is thinning of the skin and I have also read articles proclaiming it is a myth.

    Also you are beautiful and amazing!

  • @Sarah – No, the product is not tested on animals!

  • @Marz – So glad you love it! 🙂

  • @Fernando – There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Retinol is not as strong as tretinoin, because it must be converted to trans-retinoic acid in the skin to be effective, whereas tretinoin is active in applied form. However, this also makes it more gentle, and studies show retinol penetrates the skin better than tretinoin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9284094 So it’s give-and-take.

  • Sarah

    Is the retinol tested on animals?

  • Marz

    Just received my shipment today. i had my first application it feels so light on the skin i don’t think i need to apply anything on top of it.
    I’m very excited about your product Nicki. I’m waiting for you to introduce a day treatment that has strong antioxidant and sun protection as well.
    Wish you all the best.

  • Fernando

    Hey, Nicki,

    Why do you use a retinol product and not a prescription retinoid? Is it a matter of personal preference or are there any advantages to using retinol over prescription retinoids, besides the minor irritating potential?


  • Crista

    What’s the specific form of alcohol in this product? The term “alcohol” is pretty generic. Thanks!

  • As I’ve started to test your product for review, I would have eventually asked you the question about why alcohol was in the list of ingredients. Thank you for the great explanation!! I also really appreciate that you’ve been writing posts to respond to questions about FutureDerm’s Retinol!

Recent Posts