Some common side effects of retinoids are sensitivity to the sun, peeling, and redness. Good news, though! Side effects can be significantly minimized with good instructions and proper use. For example, your skin will better tolerate retinoids if you start with an appropriate strength or by applying a moisturizer before the retinoid. Applying SPF will also mitigate your sensitivity to the sun (We’re assuming you’re already using daily SPF, though, right?). Keep in mind that your skin’s response to UV rays will return to normal after a few months. Side effects are also temporary, usually lasting 2-4 weeks as your skin learns to tolerate the product.
For those prone to acne, there may be a two to four-week “purging” period where you experience acne breakouts before your skin clears up. Patience is key. Over the past 40+ years, no systemic side-effects or risks on the long-term treatment of topical retinoids have been observed.