10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 – Answered!

Personal/Inspirational, Skin Care


One great thing about having a blog and launching a skin care product is that our readers have a slew of great questions.  Through comments, e-mail, our Facebook page, and Twitter, we’ve received the following questions again and again.  So here are our answers!:

1.)  How long does a bottle last?

A bottle of FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 lasts for 4-8 weeks. Why the spread?  Those who have non-sensitive skin or have used retinol in the past are able to use it nightly, so a bottle should last 4-6 weeks.  However, those who have sensitive skin or who are new to retinol should start with one use every 2-3 days the first 2 weeks, and gradually work up to nighttime use.  So the bottle should last 6-8 weeks.

2.)  How much do I use?

Shake well, and then apply a pea-sized amount (1 plunge) to your face.  Another pea-size amount (another plunge) should be sufficient for your neck and decolletage.

3.)  Is this product like Retin-A Micro Gel?

Yes!  Well, except FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is non-prescription retinol, whereas Retin-A Micro Gel is prescription tretinoin.  The differences?  One, retinol is about 20x weaker, because it has to be converted to tretinoin in the skin in order to be active.  Two, retinol penetrates deeper in the skin than tretinoin (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1997).  We designed our product to be like the “Retin-A Micro Gel” of the over-the-counter retinols.

4.)  What is it good for?

5.)  Can I use this product with acidic products?

Nope.  Like any other retinol, FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 needs enzymes called retinyl ester hydrolases to convert it to tretinoin within the skin.  But this process is optimized at a neutral pH (4.5-7).  This is why you’ll hear expert derms say they don’t advise using retinol with vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) or salicyclic acid or glycolic acid – acidic pH is too low for optimal activity.  Will you still get effects?  Sure, but you’re not maximizing the effects of the retinol.  And that’s not fair to anyone – most of all you!

5.)  Can I use this product with other products?

Definitely.  One advantage to FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 being a lightweight gel is that you can apply other skin care products over it.  Two of my favorites for use over top?  Niacinamide, like Olay Pro-X or Olay Regenerist, or peptides, as in MLA Skin Care.  Both I find to be soothing and a nice complement to retinol.

6.)  Is there an adjustment period?

We try to minimize irritation:  We included witch hazel, aloe, and microencapsulated the retinol so it is time-released over the course of 8 hours, instead of giving you that boom! pow! pow! mega-dose all at once.  That said, it still is 0.5% retinol.  And for those who have sensitive skin or who have never used retinol before, there will be some mild redness, dryness, and irritation.  We recommend using the product once every 2-3 days to start, and gradually working up to nightly use as your skin tolerates it.  Trust us:  it’s worth it!

7.)  What does it feel like on the skin?

Shake well! Next, press down for one full pump. FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 starts out as an opaque gel.
Then FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 dries within a second.

FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 goes on like a lightweight, opaque gel.  It glides across the skin smoothly, and absorbs into your skin within a second.  It has a truly amazing “break time” from gel form to liquid, which is one of our favorite elements about it:  You don’t have to wait for 30 minutes to apply your next moisturizer like with some other treatments.  You can just move from ours to the next seamlessly.

8.)  How long does it take to see effects?

I was so excited when this particular formulation was complete:  I woke up the next morning, and my skin felt smoother.  I knew it was The One.

That said, if you are using FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 nightly, it is realistic to notice a significant difference in fine lines and wrinkles within 3-4 weeks.  I know there are studies that show 0.5% retinol makes a measurable difference in fine lines and wrinkles in 1-2 weeks, and I’m sure ours does too, but when we’re talking noticeable and measurable, I want to be honest here.  It is a tremendous product, but it’s going to take a few weeks to visibly notice a difference in fine lines and wrinkles.  Noticing skin sagging improvement takes even longer, about 6-8 weeks.  But it is well worth it – trust me!

9.)  Is there anyone who can’t use it?

If you are nursing or pregnant, we don’t recommend it.  Though retinol has never directly been associated with birth defects, it is a form of vitamin A, and other forms of vitamin A (think Accutane) are toxic to the fetus.  So not if you are nursing or pregnant.

If you are getting hair removal waxing, do not use the product within one week of your treatment.  Retinol can make the skin more sensitive to these treatments.

Finally, if you have rosacea or eczema, talk to your dermatologist.  While many patients with rosacea find they can tolerate retinoids if they start at a very low level and gradually work up, some cannot tolerate them at all from day one.

10.)  Do You Use It Yourself?  Does This Mean You No Longer Evaluate Anyone Else’s Products Fairly?

FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is my nightly staple – my skin has never been smoother, and I’ve never been happier!

But, truth be told, I refuse to let having my own line of products interfere with our reviews of other brands. While there are inevitably times when this will be difficult – it’s hard to tout Skinceuticals CE Ferulic as often, for instance, when I have my own CE Ferulic in development – the FutureDerm blog is, and has always been, about introducing the consumer to the science.  If and when a product is better in some fashion, I will admit it.  Because it’s better to lose a sale in the short-term but maintain trust with our readers in the long-term.  So it’s going to be a test in my pride, but I believe in the products we’re developing and that they’re all innovative, highly effective, and scientifically-proven in independent literature.  FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 is just the start!

If you want to try FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5, please go to our Shopify page now!

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  • Mrs E

    I ordered FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5 as soon as it was launched. I loved it so much so that I ordered a few more last week. The bottles arrived today but unfortunately the mailman left the box under the California sun for a few hours. I immediately put the bottles into the refrigerator but the cardboard box that contained the bottles felt pretty hot to me (it’s almost 90F at the moment… Was the content damaged/affected?

  • Dee

    Thanks for the info! Just the other day I received a package with molten contents; I just never know how long something might sit in a hot van or warehouse along the way. I think I’ll keep a close eye on weather reports and wait for a cool spot in the first part of September. Thanks, again. I appreciate knowing more about the product’s stability.

  • Daphna

    At what age would you recommend starting to use retinol?

  • Ria

    I’m using Differin at the moment (the acne has pretty much disappeared; but I keep using it for acne prevention and anti-aging reasons and overall skin health). I do like the sound of your product and would love to try, but I was wondering, are the effects of retinol “better” than adapalene? Also, what is the shelf life of unopened products?

  • @Dee – Retinol is stable in formulations at temperatures up to 20 degrees celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit): file:///Users/Nicki/Downloads/BASF%20Vitamin%20A.pdf

    With that said, we have a few options. We could send it to you in September, when temperatures are traditionally cooler. We could also arrange to have some sort of fridge pack involved, though this might get messy. What do you think?

  • @mimi – I would love to say, “Oh, wait for ours! ” Or, “buy FutureDerm’s 0.5% anyway!” But, truth be told, we have the vitamin CE Ferulic in development for September, and then we’re going to see how well sales go. If they do well, we’ll release another product in November/December. And then apply for venture capital and try to release a whole exciting line next year!

    But, again, one step at a time. I can’t promise that we will have a FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 1.0% anytime soon. The soonest would probably be next March, and that’s optimistic! Of course, we are really optimistic around here, so who knows? 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  • @Hair Instyler – Are you breast-feeding? If you are breast-feeding, most physicians recommend avoiding all products with excess vitamin A, including retinol/tretinoin creams. While the real side effects have been associated with the form of vitamin A in Accutane, it is still not advisable to play with fire, so to speak. Hope that helps.

  • @Angela – Great! Thanks so much! Please, let me know how you like it 🙂

  • @E Tan – I think so, definitely. Retinol helps with mottled and rough skin because it increases cell turnover, or exfoliation. Ours penetrates into the skin quickly and well, and then the sustained release of retinol over eight hours works like magic overnight. (That is probably the most unscientific thing I will ever say, lol, but it is true!) When you wake up the next day, your skin will feel noticeably smoother. I would be shocked if it didn’t. Let me know how it works for you 🙂

  • @Jaybee – Prescription tretinoin works directly within the skin. Retinol, like ours, needs to be converted to tretinoin by enzymes (retinyl ester hydrolases) within the skin in order to be active. For that reason, tretinoin is about 20x more potent than retinol. So 0.04% prescription tretinoin = 0.8% retinol. 0.02% prescription tretinoin = 0.4% retinol. These are approximations, but you get the idea. 🙂

    With that said, retinol has also been shown in studies to penetrate the skin more deeply than tretinoin (please see #3, above). So that’s in retinol’s favor for effects.

    While retinol is somewhat less irritating than tretinoin, there still may be some redness, mild dryness, and irritation. This is why we recommend only using the product once every 2-3 days to start, and gradually working up to nightly use.

    Our product is microencapsulated, which helps the irritation a bit by giving a sustained release over the course of eight hours, rather than giving the full dose of retinol right up front. However, I will not say that it is completely non-irritating; rather, there will likely be an adjustment period.

    But, I will say, from day one, if you apply it at night, you will wake up the next morning with smoother skin! That is a fact!

  • @BooBooNinja – Retinol has a shelf life of about 1-2 years. I know that is quite a range, but it varies depending on the formulation. With ours, I will say 1 year, and use as soon as you can after opening. Our product is in an airtight pump, but any retinol/antioxidant should be used as quickly as you can after you open it for optimal effects. Does this help?

  • @Kandyce – Nope! Great question! Retin-A and Retin-A Micro area quite different. I feel bad referring you to another post, but it’s the easiest way to ensure that you get the full answer: https://www.futurederm.com/2012/07/15/whats-the-difference-retin-a-and-retin-a-micro/

    If you still have questions, please, let me know. 🙂

  • @Kristina – I’ve been using one full pump for my face and one full pump for the neck/decolletage area. But face size will vary. Definitely no more than 3 pumps for the entire area though – hope this helps!

  • Dee

    I live in an area with hot temperatures (90s, 100s). Will the retinol be damaged by getting hot while in transit if I order it online?

  • mi mi

    Hi Nicki

    I would love to try FutureDerm retino. I am already using Retinol 1.0 from Skinceuticals. Since this one is lower in concentration, do you think it will be effective for me, are you planning to come out with highter concentrated ones. I should wait ??

  • Hair Instyler

    I just to know we can use this after giving birth to baby… if have infant baby then can we use this product.

  • Angela

    Awesome! I’m ordering some right now 🙂

  • May

    Hi, Nicki! One question that’s always bothered me about retinol is the potential irritation factor.

    I have a “one strike and you’re out policy” when it comes to facial products: if a product causes my skin to react, then I kick it to the curb pronto. That’s actually why I never again touched retinol after an RoC product gave me a rash 6 years ago (granted, back then, I was clueless as to the wonders of retinol – I was just trying out random products at the time).

    Retinol is known to cause initial discomfort for a lot of people, yet it’s still recommended to keep using it (albeit not as frequently as once a day) until the skin adjusts. My question is, if I’m going to put my skin through the discomfort of “breaking in” retinol, then does that mean I should also give a second chance to those hundreds of other “reject” products?

    I guess ultimately, what I’m wondering is, what is “best practice” when it comes to trying out facial products? I thought my previous “one strike and you’re out” policy was pretty ironclad, but now I’m not so sure anymore!

    I hope my concern makes sense. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Emilee

    What are your thoughts on applying both retinol and retinoic acid at the same time to get the benefits of both (in terms of penetrability and strength)? I have an Rx for Ziana for my acne prone skin which has tretinoin. Could I apply your retinol product as well?

  • Thanks for sharing the info…I go with 8th question..If i apply this product..How long will it take to bring good effects on my skin? Since my skin is very rough and rigid..Will it be helpful for me?

  • Jaybee

    I tried retain a micro but it caused constant peeling. I cut back to using it only every other day, then once every three or four days. Still, lots of peeling. Would your product cause this reaction as well? It sounds like it may not, so I am hopeful about it. Thanks!

  • BooBooNinja

    Thanks for your response!
    My last question — what is the shelf life of each bottle?

  • kandyce

    Is the retin-a gel the same as the retin-a in the pump formula? Just trying to get perspective.

  • Kristina

    ” Because it’s better to lose a sale in the short-term but maintain trust with our readers in the long-term. ”

    LOVE that…you’re awesome 🙂

    And is one full pump all we need?! I’m concerned that even if it glides over smoothly….that won’t be enough to cover every inch of my face. And I

  • @Laura – Ours needs to be shaken before each use. It’s just the nature of the gel, unfortunately. Green Cream is similar – it too needs to be shaken. This is not the case for all retinoid treatments, but the lighter/more gel-like ones should be shaken to ensure maximum efficacy. Hope this helps!

  • Laura

    Should all retinol products be shaken before each use? I got Green Cream on your recommendation and want to make sure I’m using it right.

  • @BooBooNinja – Well, it’s really a question of optimization. You can put retinol at a pH of 2.0 and it’s still going to work, just not as well as if you had the retinol at a pH of 4.5-7.0. With that said, if you wait between the salicyclic/glycolic acid product and the retinol product, you’re increasing the margin of efficacy. But it’s hard to know how long it would take for the skin to snap completely back from the acidic range – probably not long, but it all depends on the concentration/strength of the acid, the amount used, the delivery system, etc. If you must use both on the same night, waiting is the best policy, definitely!

  • BooBooNinja

    Thanks for answering these questions!
    I was wondering about #5. Is it okay to use a retinol product over a salicylic (or glycolic) acid product if you’ve first allowed the acid to absorb into the skin for 15-20 mins?

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