This week Randy and I talk about how to pick the right retinol anti-aging product.
This week’s question is a good one because “retinol” is easily confused with “retinoic acid,” a similar chemical that goes by a couple of different names. They both belong to a family of chemicals known as retinoids. Here’s the scoop on how to keep them straight.
Not all retinoids are the same
Retinoic acid (also known as Retin-A, tretinoin and sometimes by brand names like Accutane) is a prescription drug used to treat acne. While it is primarily known for its anti-acne properties, dermatologists noticed that it can also even out complexion and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This makes it one of the most valuable anti-aging ingredients. However, retinoic acid is not available in any cosmetic. It can only be purchased with a prescription from your doctor.
Retinol is NOT a prescription drug. It is the alcohol form of retinoic acid. That means it’s chemically related, and does have some similar skin refining properties, however it is not nearly as effective as the acid.
Another problem with retinol is that it is not very stable and is easily oxidized. That means that exposure to oxygen, light, or even other ingredients in the same formula can render this ingredient even less effective.
How much retinol should I look for in cosmetic products?
The original question asked which over-the-counter product has the most retinol. Actually a better question to ask is which cosmetic product has done the best job of stabilizing retinol in their formula. In the last few years new technologies have been developed to allow formulators to stabilize retinol by encapsulating it with inert materials. If a product uses this kind of technology their product will be more effective: a product with 2% retinol that is not encapsulated may be less effective than a product with 0.5% retinol that is encapsulated.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Do your homework before spending a lot of money on a retinol containing face cream. Look for some reassurance that the product uses encapsulating technology to protect its precious ingredient.
Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:
- Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
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Though cosmetic level Retinol do not thin your skin but prescription Retinoic acid dose and is a Contraindication many skin and beauty treatments like waxing as the skin becomes very thin.
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Looking for a great and effective products with a friendly budget, so here’s my question…Is it safe to use Roc Retinol Evening eye,face,serum etc creams but during the day use a different brand like Estee Lauder or a Vit C rich, sunscreen eye,serum,face cream etc safely? Or mixing Retinol with other strong elements might give me a bad reaction?
Thank You! 🙂
Will AHAs or kojic acid when used with retinol reduce the effectiveness of both? Does using an AHA lower the pH too low for optimial conversion of retinol to retinoic acid? Would encapsulating the retinol prevent this?