Blog Medical Spa Scottsdale The Perfect Dose

Retinoids 101

Conveniently located to serve Scottsdale, Phoenix, & Chandler.

There are many names in the skincare world thrown around when it comes to anti-aging. Retin-A, Retinol, and Retinoids. It can get a little confusing. I’m sure many of you are wondering what the heck is the difference.

Retin-A versus Retinol

Retin -A is Vitamin A. Retinoids work by speeding up cell turnover, exfoliating the skin, and promoting new skin cells. They help clear out blocked pores and soften fine lines and wrinkles. Often times Retin-A is prescribed to treat acne and is used as an antiaging treatment. Topical retinoids include Tretinoin, Differin, and Tazorac. These medications are prescription strength and must be prescribed by a provider. Retin-A results can often be seen around 6-8 weeks.

Retinol is the over the counter version of Retin-A. Retinol doesn’t work as quickly as Retin-A. Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A. It can help make your skin look brighter, feel softer, and smoother. Retinol doesn’t actually affect the skin directly. It requires an enzyme in the skin to convert the retinol to retinoic acid. Once converted then it becomes effective. This process takes around 6 months to fully reap the benefits. This is a good option for patients with sensitive skin.

The choice between using Retin-A or Retinol is YOURS. So make the decision based on your individual goals and skin type

SO why do people choose Retinol over Retin-A?

Retin-A is often time more irritating to the skin initially and therefore some people are unable to tolerate it. Your skin will peel, and you may experience redness and flaking. These symptoms will subside however once your skin gets used to the product. If you have sensitive skin I recommend slowly adding retinol into your skin care regimen and eventually working your way up to Retin-A. Adding hyaluronic acid to your Retinoid and hydrating your skin in the mornings will help minimize the adverse side effects. You can also start using the products a few times a week and gradually increase the frequency of use as your skin tolerates. Whether you suffer from acne or are simply looking to slow down the aging process, retinoids are a MUST HAVE in your skincare regimen.

When should you use them?

Retin-A and Retinol should be used at night time after cleansing and toning your skin Retinoids make your skin photosensitive (sensitive to light) so sunscreen is a MUST every morning.

Disclaimer: Retinoids cannot be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding so please be sure to talk to your provider and adjust your skincare regimen during this time

Kristen Herzog