top of page

Retinol and Tretinoin: A Brief Explainer on the Benefits of the Most Popular Retinoids

Updated: Apr 7

What are Retinoids?

Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that act by stimulating the cells in the skin to increase their turnover so that they can replace dead cells with new ones. Retinoids can be either natural or synthetic and are prescribed for acne, psoriasis, ichthyosis, sun-damaged skin, and wrinkles.

Retinoids, such as tretinoin and retinol, are believed to be effective against aging. Tretinoin is a retinoid available by prescription, while retinol is available over the counter. While tretinoin is used for treating acne and its pesky marks, retinol is one of the milder retinoids, used for its anti-aging benefits.

How do they work?

Retinoids are a mainstay in the anti-aging industry because of their ability to act on a number of problems that can cause premature aging. These compounds work by causing superficial skin exfoliation and boosting collagen production at the same time. Retinoids are also powerful antioxidants and get rid of wrinkles.

More potent agents like Tretinoin and Adapalene also reduce sebum production and fight acne-forming bacteria.

What are the benefits of using retinoids?

Retinoids are known to be one of the most effective treatments for wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, they can even help you with other cosmetic issues, such as hyperpigmentation or acne marks. They help protect the skin from sun damage and give it a healthy glow.

Are there any side effects to consider when using Retinoids?

The usage of retinoids can make your skin sensitive to the sun and cause dryness. It is, therefore, advised to use retinol only at night. After cleansing your face, wait for at least 20 minutes before applying retinol. But if your instant-gratification-seeking morning self chooses not to wait 20 minutes and ends up applying retinol prematurely, there are so many ways it can go wrong! First of all, any moisture left behind may interact with your retinol and turn your skin firey red the next morning. Moisture can make retinoids super active leading to side effects like redness, inflammation, and skin peeling.

You should always wear sunscreen while stepping outside or doing any activity. After starting the usage of retinoids, your skin might purge for the first few weeks, but this problem goes away with time.

The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is my all-time favorite.

There are many different retinoids on the market, so it is important to be sure to find one that is right for you. Some retinoids are better for treating wrinkles than others, and some are better suited for specific areas of the skin. Speaking with your doctor about which retinoid is best for you is important.

bottom of page