How to Treat Skin Burned by Retinol Cream

Updated April 17, 2017

Retinol is a fat-soluble form of vitamin A which is widely used in the treatment of acne and ageing skin. Retinol helps to speed up the process by which the skin exfoliates, or sheds the dead cells, and also stimulates collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. Although there are many benefits of retinol, there are also some side effects, the severity of which depends on the strength of the retinol and how often it is used. Side effects can include stinging, itchiness, scaling or flaking, redness, and even minor burns. Minor burns caused by retinol are fairly easy to treat and should heal quickly.

Wash the burnt area twice a day with a mild moisturising cleanser and water. Pat the area dry with a clean towel, preferably with one that is made from soft cotton fibres.

Apply a light fragrance-free moisturiser, or aloe vera gel, to the area after each cleanse. Products containing fragrances can further irritate the skin and cause even more redness and discomfort. Avoid using any heavy creams or lotions until the area is completely healed.

Apply a mild hydrocortisone cream to the area burnt by retinol one to two times per day to reduce inflammation.


Cool the burnt area by applying a cold wet cloth to it for approximately five minutes. Avoid using any harsh soaps, detergents, or cosmetics until the area burnt by retinol cream has healed.

Things You'll Need

  • Moisturising cleanser
  • Towel
  • Fragrance free moisturiser
  • Hydrocortisone cream
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About the Author

Shannon Moudry has been a writer for over 15 years. She has written online content for Text Broker, Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.