A derivative of vitamin A, retinols are an essential ingredient in anti-ageing skincare routines. They’ve been proven to boost skin cell turnover, encourage collagen production and unclog pores. While it sounds like you should head out and grab a bottle (heck, bottles maybe) of retinol-based product, there are things you need to note before purchasing them.

As retinols are photosensitive, any exposure to light would render them ineffective so they should always come in a dark or opaque bottle (and never jars). When incorporating retinols, go for the lowest strength and work your way up, especially if you have sensitive skin. There will be redness and sometimes dryness that follow, and unless it is really severe (always do a patch test first), it is safe to continue its use.

Don’t expect immediate or overnight results as retinols usually produce noticeable difference only after six weeks or even longer depending on the strength you use. Think of it as a marathon, and slow and steady wins the race to beautiful skin.

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