Retinoids are all the rage when it comes to skin care. But if you are considering adding retinoids to your skin care routine, you may not know what to use and why. For example, you may hear multiple terms being thrown around – retinoids, retinol, Retin-A.
Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that contain Vitamin A and its derivatives. Keep reading to learn more about Vitamin A and how it can help boost your overall skin health.
What Is the Difference Between Retinol and Retin-A?
Retinol and Retin-A are both Vitamin A derivatives under the chemical class of retinoids; the primary difference is that Retin-A is a stronger and more potent type of retinoid.
- Retinol is a gentler Vitamin A derivative that can be added to topical skin care products and used without a prescription. When retinol is applied to the skin, it must work with enzymes in the skin to convert to retinoic acid before it becomes effective. You must use retinol products consistently for several months before you start to see results.
- Retin-A is a stronger Vitamin A derivative that can only be used with a prescription. Retin-A is the naturally occurring retinoic acid, which means it is stronger and more immediately effective than retinols, which have to undergo a conversion process. You can see results from using Retin-A in as few as one to two weeks. Retin-A is the brand name for prescription tretinoin, which was FDA-approved to treat sun damage, wrinkles, and acne in 1971.
What Skin Benefits Do Retinoids Have?
Retinoids have powerful anti-aging and acne fighting properties. When applied to the skin topically, retinoids stimulate collagen growth, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reverse the effect of sun damage, fade age spots, and even out areas of hyperpigmentation. Retinoids also increase blood flow to the skin and promote cell turnover – as a result, they brighten and smooth your skin’s texture and tone.
Retinoids also help fight moderate to severe acne. It works by unclogging pores, where trapped dirt, oils, and acne bacteria mix and cause breakouts. Tretinoin (the brand name of Retin-A) is a medication that is FDA-approved to treat acne. It keeps skin pores clear, increases new skin cell turnover, and decreases fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Tretinoin and over-the-counter retinol products have the same benefits for your skin, but retinols need longer to take effect and start showing results.
How Can I Incorporate Retinoids Into My Skin Care Routine?
Start slowly. Your skin needs time to build up a tolerance for retinoic acid. It’s common to experience retinoid dermatitis after introducing Vitamin A products into your skin care routine – your skin may have redness, itchiness, burning, peeling, and flaking for the first few weeks. These side effects may be worse if you are using prescription-strength retinoids. If you have sensitive or normal skin, without major trouble areas you are trying to treat, then start by using an over-the-counter retinol cream or serum one to two days a week. As you age and your skin needs more care, you can advance to applying a stronger product more frequently, or you can obtain a prescription for tretinoin.
If you already have moderate to severe acne, and you want to use retinoids for acne treatment, talk to your dermatologist about the benefits of prescription strength Retin-A.
This July, see the effects of retinoids for yourself: Ageless Allure Medispa is offering a special HydraFacial MD with Retinol Plus Mask treatment for only $149 for 70 minutes. You will receive a deep cleansing and exfoliating treatment with HydraFacial technology, followed by a Jan Marini Retinol Plus Mask to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This special package also includes your choice of anti-aging or acne LED light therapy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.