If a Dermatologist’s House Was on Fire, She’d Save Her Fam and *This* Skin-Care Product

Welcome to ‘Dear Derm,’ our brand-new series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. 

There's one skin-care ingredient out there (aside from SPF, that is), that's recommended by dermatologists every single day of the week. Whether you're 15 and dealing with acne and uneven texture or 50 and combatting wrinkles and dark spots, chances are that this skin savior can help. That's exactly why board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, jokes that if her house were on fire, it's the one thing she'd save (after her family, that is).

The ingredient in question, of course, is retinol, a potent vitamin A derivative that's basically like glass skin in a bottle. It can do a whole laundry list of different things for your complexion, including fighting acne, speeding up cell turnover, and stimulating collagen when used properly; however, when slathered on incorrectly, it can result in flakiness and skin irritation.

So how do you find the sweet spot that makes retinol so good you'd save it from the burning embers? In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Dr. Gohara breaks down everything you need to know about skin care's most significant—and admittedly most complex—ingredient. "If you asked 100 dermatologists the one thing that they all agreed on, besides sunscreen of course, is that everyone should be using it if their skin can handle it," says Dr. Gohara.

To help retinol reach its potential for your skin, you've got to know a few key things: which type will work best for your skin type (Dr. Gohara has an easy trick to figure this out), the ingredients that you should never, ever pair it with (c'mon, you know we'd never leave you hanging on that one!), and the very best drugstore retinoid you can find. All that burning intel, is just a video away.

Check out the ingredient that Dr. Gohara calls the "Little Black Dress" of skincare, plus the best retinol for every skin concern

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