I don’t get it.
Would you buy a delicate designer dress that’s “dry clean” only and put it in the washing and drying machine?
Of course not. You know that’s like throwing $1000 down the toilet. *shudders*
Yet that’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re buying a retinol cream packaged in a jar. Here’s why:
What The Heck Is Retinol?
First things first. This post is all about retinol, but everything I say in this paragraph (and the next one, for that matter) is true for all form of Vitamin A (retinoids). Retinol happens to be the most used so it gets the spotlight.
Retinol is an antiaging superstar. It fights wrinkles in three different ways:
- It speeds up cellular turnover (skin’s natural exfoliating process)
- It destroys free radicals
- It boosts collagen production
There’s more. Retinol also busts acne and fades dark spots.
All good reasons to use it, don’t you think?
Why You Should Never Put Retinol In A Jar
Retinol is a superstar. Ans superstars are diva.
Retinol is very unstable. Every time it’s exposed to light and air, it oxidises a little (i.e., it loses a bit of its effectiveness) until it stops working completely.
The more often you force it to come in contact with its enemies (i.e., every time you open that jar), the sooner retinol becomes useless.
Usually, it takes about a month for retinol to go bad in a jar. After that, your moisturiser still works. But now, it’s just a basic moisturizing lotion without any antiaging properties anymore.
Sure, you could make the most of it by using retinol every morning and night, but that’s not a good idea (especially if you’re a retinol newbie). Retinol is also irritating. That’s why derms recommend you start with a small concentration once or twice a week and slowly build up dose and frequency (I’ve outlined exactly how to do that in this post).
While we’re on the subject, this doesn’t apply to jars only. Any type of packaging that exposes retinol to light and air is a no-go. That includes see-through bottles, too.
Fun fact: when researchers first started playing around with retinol, they thought it was useless. That’s because they were using retinol that had been exposed to too much light for their experiments. No wonder it wasn’t working!
What To Do Instead
You should totally keep using your retinol. But from now on, get your fix only from products that take good care of retinol and protect it from harm.
In other words, opt for products that come in opaque tubes and bottles with a pump dispenser. It’s also a good idea to store them in a dark place.
This way, your retinol will keep working until you reach the end of the bottle. No more throwing your money away!
If you don’t know where to start, check out this post with my fave retinol picks. They’re all packaged the right way.
Do you pay attention to packaging when you buy skincare products with retinol? Share your experience in the comments below.