In one of our Worthee Actives, we shared with you the biochemical mechanism of how retinoids beautifully transform your skin. You finally know that retinol is the most potent form of cosmetic retinoid based on decades of research proving its countless benefits. But do you know how to incorporate it into your daily routine? Or that not all products containing retinol are really worth the money?
Worry not, we are going to cover everything you need to take note of, from before buying the products to the right ways you can use them in order to achieve your dream radiant skin. By itself, this amazing anti-ageing superstar certainly works greatly. But formulating a product is not easy, at least not as simple as mixing retinol together with other cream-based skincare in a jar and declaring it done. Retinol belongs to a delicate group of ingredients. It requires special packaging done in the hands of expert cosmetic chemists, in order to truly maximize its potency and stability in a product formulation.
How to Choose the Right Retinol Product?
Step 1: Check the Packaging
One extremely crucial note you need to know while shopping for products with retinol is; do not buy the product if it’s in clear and open air-friendly packaging. Like antioxidants and vitamin C, retinol (vitamin A) is fairly unstable. This is because all forms of vitamin A break down quickly upon exposure to air and light. Unlike high-strength vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), you can hardly notice if your retinol has lost its strength by observing the change in colour. Basically, there is a high chance that you wouldn’t even know if your retinol product has been rendered useless most of the time.
What that means: no jar packaging! The act of opening the jar lid will allow the intrusion of air to deteriorate not only retinol but all other beneficial ingredients inside it. Not only that, since everything is in a jar, you will have to dip your finger in order to get the product out. This form of contact will only contaminate the product through the spreading of bacteria from your fingertips.
Jar packaging is a company’s trick to sell their items – it does nothing good to the product besides making it look pretty on the shelf. So if you are a rational skincare conscious person, you should always search for retinol products packaged in opaque, air-tight containers such as pumps or foil tubes instead.
Step 2: Check the Strength
You have perfectly secured yourself some nicely-packaged retinol products, now what you need to do is; check the strength of the retinol!
A lot of cosmetic companies tend to avoid including the concentration of an ingredient on the product description, so do not get too excited even if you spot retinol on the list. One sole reason why it isn’t mentioned is usually when the concentrations are below 0.001% and they know it would discourage people from buying the product. So while the item may contain retinol, it is pretty much useless, as an ingredient with a low concentration does not really function on the skin. Take note of this: all research showing the benefits of retinol use a concentration of 0.01% and above.
What you can do if you encounter a situation like this is to take the initiative to email or call the company and inquire about the retinol strength of their products. Remember that you have the right to know as a consumer. If the concentration is 0.01% and more, consider it. If they don’t reply, go for another product. After all, there are countless amazing retinol products in the market nowadays.
However, higher strength does not always mean better outcomes. Everything eventually depends on your skin type and skin concerns too.
Mild strength retinol products (0.01% - 0.09%) are excellent for extra sensitive skin, and people of all other skin types looking for long-term maintenance of healthy-looking skin.
Worthee Cosmetics products with 0.05% retinol
- Garden of Wisdom RetiStar Retinol Serum, anti-ageing retinol formulation that impressively protects skin against stubborn signs of photoaging and clears acne-related concerns
- Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 5 0.05% Retinal Serum, a youth-preserving serum that diminishes and prevents signs of ageing without any potential irritation
- The INKEY List Retinol Serum, an advanced double-strength retinoid formulation that noticeably directs skin to metabolize youthfully
Note that products with this concentration also exist in the form of moisturizers and cream because the mild strength is perfectly fine for experiments of all skin types.
Moderate strength retinol products (0.1% to 0.49%) are well recommended for those dealing with difficult concerns like fine lines, uneven skin tone, bumps and the like. At 0.1%, most skin types can still use it every day while people with extra sensitive skin should experiment with concentrations that are higher than that to see how their skin reacts to it.
Worthee Cosmetics products with 0.1% to 0.49% retinol
- Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 10 0.1% Retinal Serum, a high-strength, faster-acting than retinol, youth-extending potion
- The Ordinary Retinol Serum 0.2% in Squalane, a gentle strength retinol formulation that aids in restoring dryness
- Minimalist Retinol 0.3% + Q10, a highly stable & powerful anti-ageing face serum packed with Retinol and antioxidant Coenzyme Q10
High strength retinol treatments (0.5% to 1%) provide more rapid results in targeting advanced concerns like deeper wrinkles, obvious loss of firmness and lack of radiance. For this concentration, the preferred usage is for three times a week at night, which is an ideal time for most people.
Worthee Cosmetics product with 0.5% retinol
- The Ordinary Retinol Serum 0.5% in Squalane, a high strength retinol formulation that dramatically gets rid of ageing signs
Worthee Cosmetics product with 1% retinol
- The Ordinary Retinol Serum 1% in Squalane, a very high strength retinol formulation that diminishes noticeable, stubborn signs of ageing
How to Apply Your Retinoid Products?
At this stage, you should’ve found the brilliantly-packaged retinol treatment suitable for your skin type and skin concerns. You have learned everything that you need to know before buying the product, but how about the correct ways to use it?
These are the little things that you should be aware of when putting retinol on your skin:
- Use only a pea-sized amount. Using more does not make the retinol work any faster.
- Ensure the rest of your skincare products are free from any irritants.
- Retinol increases the cellular turnover rate and transepidermal water loss which makes your skin dry. Putting on moisture-attracting humectants that draw moisture from the surroundings and deliver it back into the skin, will help you stay hydrated while you’re in your retinol routine.
- Sunscreens! Make sure to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 at all times. Remember that every potent anti-ageing treatments work hand in hand with frequent and diligent use of sunscreen.
- Always avoid using facial scrubs, microdermabrasion or at-home chemical peels while using high strength retinol, unless under the supervision of a certified dermatologist.
- Stop using your retinol product at least 1 week before facial waxing to prevent your skin from getting wax burns.
Your Sharing: What is the ingredient concentration level that you usually go for in general?