What Are Retinoids?
Retinoids are a group of ingredients that include retinol and retin-a, both derivatives of vitamin A that help promote skin cell turnover, in turn improving the appearance of acne, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin elasticity.
So what's the difference between retinol and retin-a? Retinol is the over the counter version of tretinonin, or retinoic acid, and is often gentler on the skin. This is because the skin must convert the retinol into retinoic acid once it's topically applied, which means slower results but fewer side effects. The trade off of using gentler retinols is that they need to be used consistently for a few months before results can be expected.
Retin-a on the other hand is prescription strength tretinoin, or retinoic acid, and doesn't need to be broken down further, making it 100 times stronger than over the counter retinol creams. This results in much faster benefits, but also the possiblity of more severe side effects including itching, burning, peeling, and redness.
Both retional and retin-a can be used to treat both severe acne as well as premature and mature aging because of it's promotion of skin cell turnover, but the most important part about using these ingredients is to remember that they increase the skins sensitivity to the sun, so using an SPF of 30 or higher is paramount!
Retinol/retin-a is safe for all skin types and tones and gives a whole host of benefits to all ages of skin.