How do you know which over-the-counter retinol skin products are worth buying? We'll break it down to a few simple tips.
There are hundreds of retinol skin products to choose from. Are some better than others? How do you know which is best, you can't always go by price?
We'll show some easy tips on how to select the most effective and best product for your money.
We all know that retinols are important for anti-aging skin care, but how much are you getting in your facial cream or serum?
How do you know if it's going to be effective?
The ingredient list and the packaging can help guide you to select an effective retinol product that will offer the best anti-aging results.
First – How much retinol does the skin cream actually contain? Is there an amount, strength, or percentage listed anywhere?
Check the back of the label before you buy any retinol cream.
Read the ingredient on the back to see where ( the ingredient retinol or vitamin A) is on the list. The closer to the bottom, the less it contains.
You could be paying extra money for a regular moisturizer cream that happens to have a small amount of retinol in it.
But are you going to experience the benefits with just a small amount thrown in as window dressing?
Second – How is it packaged? Does come in a jar or a tube that gets exposed to the air and light each time you use it?
This is very important because retinols are sensitive to oxygen and light and the longer their exposed - the quick they degrade and the less effect they become.
That’s why I’m a big fan of retinol creams and serums that come in airtight pump bottles. In order for retinol to really be effective against skin aging, a small amount needs to convert to tretinoin (retinoic acid).
The main difference between prescription retinoids (like Retin-A or Renova) and over-the-counter retinol is that prescription retinoids do not require conversion and begin to work on the skin immediately. So prescription retinoids are more potent.
That’s why for the best results, it’s a good idea to select high quality retinol skin products.
This is a good retinol for beginners. Retinol creams can be a bit irritating until your skin adjusts to it.
But the Obagi retinol cream contains entrapped retinol micro-sponges. So it slowly releases retinol onto the skin. Plus, it contains shea butter, so your skin stays super soft and hydrated.
This 1% retinol lightweight serum can be used alone or under your face cream or moisturizer. It can also be layered under another retinol cream if you need extra oomph! Read: Why Retinol Serums?
I'm currently testing this retinol product. It contains the highest amount of retinol plus vitamin C and E.
NOTE: I love retinol serums because I don't have to purchase yet, Another Cream! I already have a favorite moisturizer cream (CFF CBD facial moisturizer) and do not wish to add more creams to my facial regime. But with serums, like retinol, all I have to do is add a few drops to my CBD moisturizer and I can control how strong or weak I want my retinol treatment to be.
Green Cream Retinol is a favorite among many users, and now I understand why. They offer several levels/strengths of retinol creams (ranging from 0.3% to 0.9%) making it suitable for different skin types.
This product contains retinol (which is the whole vitamin A molecule, not an ester form.) Retinol acts more closely like the prescription retinoic acid – but without the intense irritation.
Since retinol converts to retinoic acid faster – results appear sooner.
The Packaging? This product line comes in airtight pump bottles that are also opaque.
Many people ask me about drugstore retinol creams like Roc retinol skin cream...
While I always loved Roc skincare products – I noticed the main ingredient "retinol" is way down the list. And it doesn't list the percentage of retinols in the products so you don't know how potent it is.
So what can you do if you already have these creams at home? Here is a cheap tip how you can "amp-up" your current face cream with more retinol.
So now that you know what to look for in retinol skin products. Here are some cautions to be aware of…
Remember, even over-the-counter retinols may cause dry skin, flaking, or peeling, especially for those with sensitive skin.
So it's best to slowly by using it a few times a week to see how your skin reacts. Here are some tips to reduce retinol side effects.
One final thought – most over-the-counter retinol skin products available at your local drugstore are not very strong.
But if you’re looking for ones with a little more oomph (without a prescription) consider shopping online and keep the percentage and the packaging in mind.
Got questions about retinol skincare products? We're happy to help. Send your questions here.
A: Retinols help your skin look younger, firmer, with fewer lines, wrinkles, brown spots and discoloration. And it improves skin tone.
It accomplishes these anti-aging effects in a number of ways.
First, retinols help increase collagen production for firmer skin. Second, it helps stimulate the production of new blood vessels, which improves skin tone and color. Third, it helps increase skin cell turnover, which reduces discoloration, age spots and rough dry patchy skin.
A: When first starting your retinol treatment, you should use retinols once a week. Everyone is different, so it's best to start slowly and experiment to see how your skin will react.
Once your skin has adjusted to the retinol treatment, you only need to use it about two to three times a week to maintain results.
Retinols can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so it's best to use it at night, and you must use a sunscreen daily.
A: When starting your retinol treatment, you should avoid using any skin product that can cause irritation. Especially, in the first few months.
You should avoid using any exfoliating acids such as Alpha Hydroxy or Beta Hydroxy (AHA/BHA) acids and any serums or creams that contain high amounts of vitamin C. And, just to note: benzoly peroxide (mostly used for acne skin) will cancel out retinol, so avoid those too. If you're under the care of a dermatologist for acne or other treatment, always inform them if you plan to use over-the-counter retinol products.
A: Yes! Always use a moisturizer when undergoing retinol treatment. In fact, if your skin is very sensitive, you should apply your moisturizer first, then the retinol. Or consider mixing your retinol together with your moisturizer.
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