Here's How To Make Sure You're Picking The Right Retinol Product

Dubbed the holy grail by many experts, retinol is one of the most popular ingredients in skincare in recent times. According to dermatologist Heather Rogers, retinol, which is one in a family of vitamin A derivatives called retinoids, is recommended by most dermatologists and is known for its anti-aging properties (via Modern Dermatology). Other retinoids, which include tretinoin and adapalene, are also used in skincare but are higher in potency. This makes retinol one of the retinoids with the lowest potency. Plus, it's an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment, thus a much safer option for beginners (via Skin Spa New York).

While retinol's anti-aging ability makes the ingredient quite popular, it's not the only thing the ingredient is good for. Other benefits of incorporating retinol into your routine include improving skin's overall appearance and texture by increasing elastin and collagen production. Retinol also improves your skin's texture by increasing the rate of cellular turnover in the dermis and helps in the treatment of acne and hyperpigmentation (via Healthline). However, with the number of products on the market and the level of hype the ingredient gets, it's not always easy to tell which retinol product is a fit for you. 

Trying to pick the right retinol product to add to your stash? Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Go for retinol products in air-tight, UV-protected packaging

Just like niacinamide and vitamin C, which are also skincare ingredients, retinol is quickly rendered inactive when exposed to environmental factors like light and heat (via Healthing). Exposure to air (oxygen) can also cause retinol to be deactivated. This means the retinol product will have no desired effects on your skin. Vitamins are generally unstable and need good preservation methods to keep them active for a longer time. Basically, your retinol product should not come in clear packaging or packaging that allows a lot of air in. Instead, go for products in air-tight, opaque bottles or packaging (via Renée Rouleau). Packaging made with tinted glass and plastic squeeze tubes is a good place to start. This will ensure light and air do not get to your retinol.

Another helpful tip for you is to keep your retinol, as well as your other skincare products, away from direct sunlight and heat. You get the most out of your product this way, making it last much longer.

Go for retinol products from credible skincare brands

Before skincare products are released to the market for purchase, a lot of formulation and testing is usually carried out. For vitamins in skincare, their delicate nature makes the formulation process more rigid. Due to the sheer strength of retinol on the skin, it's important to be wary of the brands you buy from. Go for retinol products from well-known brands with publicly-available information on their formulation process. Also, look out for ingredient lists and the position of retinol on the ingredient list. A product with no ingredient list on its label or one with a very high percentage of retinol present in the formula may not be the safest option, as higher percentages do not always equal higher effectiveness (via Skin Rocks).

Reviews from experts are also very helpful in ensuring you pick a good retinol product (via Spa Sciences). Skincare blogs, your personal dermatologist, certified estheticians, and even other skincare enthusiasts can help you know what other people think of the product and what to look out for. Now that you know how retinol functions, and how it relates to its packaging and oxygen, go forth and find the best retinol-infused products. And always remember that it's best used at night.