Retinols and Resurfacing Serums

How to shop for the best retinol products

As with all skincare products your retinol should be manufactured by a company located in a region with strict regulatory and labelling requirements.

Labelling of Retinol

When shopping for skincare online choose a brand with a commitment to clean science together with publications of white papers. These are signals that you are buying from the right source. Also, be sure that an expiry date or preparation date is clearly printed on the label.

Format of Retinol

It is best to choose a microencapsulated format. This ensures a slow time-released delivery of the serum to your skin. Non-encapsulated products will expose your skin to all of the potency up front, creating inflammation and pain. 

Only purchase retinoids if packaged in an opaque pump container that minimizes exposure to light and air.

How Potent Should Your Retinol Be?

In Canada it is rare to find (permitted) retinols in excess of 1% and percentages that exceed this concentration are only available by prescription from a physician, and are reserved for unique cases. We strongly recommend that you start with 0.25% unless you have used retinol previously (in the same skincare brand) and that your skin has built resiliency to the resurfacing agent.  Always consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional before incorporating retinols into your skincare routine.

What is Retinol good for?

Retinol is added to creams and serums that are meant to go on your skin. These can boost the amount of collagen that your body makes, plumping out the skin, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids also reduce acne, pore size appearance, and improves skin tone and colour, reducing mottled patches. Retinol may be the second-best anti-aging tool next to a broad-spectrum sunblock.

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative and part of the retinoid family along with retinaldehyde (retinal), retinyl palmitate and retinal acetate. Prescription retinoid products like tretinoin (Rein-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), aldapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac) are more potent than retinol, but come with a higher chance of irritation.

Using a retinol-based product may make the top layer of your skin dry and flaky. It’s best to apply it at night and wear moisturizer and sunscreen the next morning. 

How long does it take for Retinoids to Work?

The benefits of retinol can be noticed in as early as 6 to 8 weeks.

The Science of Retinoids

Dr. Albert M. Kilgman, together with his colleagues, first identified the use of retinoid acid as a treatment for acne and wrinkles in 1986.  Retinol use in treating aging skin by increasing firmness, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and improving skin tone and texture are backed by over 40 years of established research and more than 700 published studies.

Retinol Usage Tips

Never use retinol:
– If pregnant (or planning to become pregnant)
– If lactating
– During the day
– Avoid jars. All forms of Vitamin A break down and oxidize when exposed to air and light (turning yellow and then brown).

Use retinol:
– In the evening only and wash your face in the morning
– Together with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater

There has been much debate and controversy whether retinol is safe to use during the day in conjunction with a sunblock.

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative and part of the retinoid family along with retinaldehyde (retinal), retinyl palmitate and retinal acetate.  As a Vitamin A it is destroyed by UV light and can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. In the U.S., The National Toxicology Program has concluded that retinyl palmitate may speed up the development of skin tumours when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight. [1]

[1] NTP report: “Photocarcinogenesis study of retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate” August 2012 April 6, 2015

Side Effects of Using Retinoids

Mild redness, peeling and irritation can occur when you begin using retinol products.
Using retinoids or retinol during the day or in proximity with unprotected exposure to sunlight (UV rays) could risk your increase of sunburn and risk of tumours.

Best retinol serums

Based on our retinol shopping guidelines above we highly recommend the AlumierMD retinol product collection for the best retinol serum. Not only are they manufactured in Canada but as an authorized provider we have direct access to their educational platform. Like you, we’re learning more every day about how to use retinol effectively. 

These retinol products contain soothing and hydrating ingredients like niacinamide (vitamin B3), aloe and sodium hyaluronate.

Questions About Retinol? Get in touch!

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