Name for the entire vitamin A molecule. Retinol has value for skin on several fronts: It’s a skin-restoring ingredient and an antioxidant, allowing it to improve a variety of skin concerns.
Packaging is still a key issue, so any container that lets in air (like jar packaging) or sunlight (clear containers) just won’t cut it, which applies to most state-of-the-art skincare ingredients. Lots of retinol products come in unacceptable packaging; these should be avoided because the retinol will most likely be (or quickly become) ineffective.
Many consumers are concerned about the percentage of retinol in anti-aging products such as serums or moisturizers. Although the percentage can make a difference (especially if it’s too low), it is not helpful in understanding how a retinol product will benefit your skin. Far more important is the delivery system, packaging, and the other ingredients present with the retinol. Using a product with a range of anti-aging ingredients plus retinol is far more valuable for skin than using a product with only a supposedly high percentage of retinol. Skin needs far more than any one ingredient can provide. It doesn’t make sense to fixate on the percentage of retinol when so many other elements are also important.
References for this information:
Dermatoendocrinology, July 2012, issue 3, pages 308-319
The Journal of Pathology, January 2007, issue 2, pages 241-251