The Difference Between Retinol And Retin A

The Difference Between Retinol And Retin A

Retinoids are one of the buzzwords most associated with anti-aging effects in beauty circles. We generally think of them as a word to look for in a night cream or similar product that helps to combat and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Retinoids is a group name though and can lead to some uncertainty if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at on a given product. Retinol is one of the most commonly used forms, but Retin A is also used in products. This can leave you wondering what the difference is between the two and if one is better than another. Anyone in-the-know in beauty circles likes to know these things as they make a big difference. After all, there’s a clear difference between alpha and beta hydroxy acids in skin care. Let’s try and make retinoids a little more understandable than they usually are so that you can answer the next time someone asks a question on what product is the best.

Understanding Retinoids
It is important that you first understand what a retinoid is to make the distinctions between them make sense. Retinoids are, simply put, chemicals derivatives of vitamin A. They are used frequently to help boost skin health by encouraging cell turnover rate and boosting natural repair processes. This makes them immensely useful in the treatment of both acne and the signs of aging. We’ve known about them for a long time as well given many “all natural” products tend to be made from plant material high in the vitamin. Retinoids are a bit more concentrated in products you can buy though as they’ve generally been isolated from their initial source to improve their effectiveness. As retinoids, Retin A and retinol both have a place in skincare, but it is actually just a bit different due to varying levels of potency.

Retin A
This is a brand name form of tretinoin, an acidic form of vitamin A. Tretinoin is actually the more potent option when compared next to retinol as it is the closest to the source material. Some people don’t even make a distinction between tretinoin and vitamin A. This compound is typically found in prescription level products designed to have the most potent effects possible for the person applying them. Naturally, that also makes it one of the ones that is most likely to cause side effects due to its sheer strength. It is important to note that these are seldom particularly bad, but dryness and redness are particular concerns to look out for when using tretinoin products. This is doubly true for anyone who skin has dry skin. As a result, tretinoin products typically work best for people with oily to normal skin that won’t dry out as easily.

If you’ve used a night cream before, then you’ve probably used a product containing retinol. This derivative of vitamin A is much more removed from the source and as a result isn’t nearly as potent as tretinoin product. That doesn’t make them any less useful though. Products containing retinol are much more accessible to people with dry and sensitive skin given they aren’t as likely to cause side effects and are frequently used in moisturizing products. This counteracts the potential side effects by keeping the skin moist and healthy while the retinol has time to work. As a result, this retinoid is the one that is most frequently used in over-the-counter products as the chances of actual harm are relatively low. All retinoids do come with the warning that they shouldn’t be used be anyone who is pregnant or nursing though.

Retin A and retinol are different forms of vitamin A that the skin care industry has figured out how to properly use. They can help boost collagen and elastin production in the skin as well as helping to encourage your skin to shed a bit more. This leads to brighter, healthier, and smoother skin overall when used appropriately. The main difference between the two kinds of ingredient lies in their potency with Retin A, a tretinoin product, being far more potent than retinol in exchange for being more likely to irritate the skin. Both are quite useful to anyone trying to keep their skin as healthy and youthful as possible though.


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