Considered the “gold standard” of skincare, retinoid products are one of the most studied skincare ingredients in history. The benefits of these products for healthier, more youthful skin are endless and there are over 30 years of research to back them. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.
What is the Difference Between Retinoids and Retinol?
Although the words “retinoid” and “retinol” are used interchangeably, they are not the same. Retinoids use prescription-strength ingredients and are recommended for chronic acne, acne scarring, stretch marks, fine lines and wrinkles, and much more. They have a high concentration of retinoic acid, which has the ability to connect to almost any skin cell receptor site. They work faster and are exfoliate the skin and boost collagen production more aggressively.
Retinol is the over-the-counter version of retinoid and is usually found in skincare products. It is the smallest and purest molecule in the vitamin A family and works more gradually than retinoids.
Key Benefits of Retinoids
- Increases cell turnover: Retinoids penetrate the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) to stimulate cellular activity which increases cell turnover. This helps reverse photodamage such as dark spots by expediting the rate pigmented cells are removed.
- Boosts collagen to smooth wrinkles: Vitamin and its derivatives help stimulate collagen production, which boosts skin elasticity and thickness. This results in an improvement of wrinkles, acne, and discoloration.
- Prevents and treats acne: Retinoids help unclog pores and make them appear smaller by decreasing the activity of enzymes that form oil and fat. This keeps the skin free of dead cells, bacteria, and sebum buildup.
How to Use Retinoids
- Take it slow: It takes time for your skin to get used to the ingredient. Dr. Ellie Zarnegar advises patients to use the product one time a week for one week, then two times a week for two weeks, and so on. The most important tip is to listen to your skin - if you experience dryness, redness, or stinging, then decrease the frequency. Also, note that a pea-size amount is enough for the entire face.
- Buffer: “Buffering” is mixing the retinoid product with a moisturizer to help your skin adjust and reduce irritation. If you have dry or sensitive skin, layer your retinoid product over a hydrating serum such as hyaluronic acid.
- Be careful what you mix it with: Dr. Ellie recommends avoiding anything that could further irritate the skin such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or benzoyl peroxide. Since retinoids are fat-soluble and AHAs are water-soluble, they can actually block each other’s function on the skin.
- Use at night: it is best to use a retinoid product at night since they can break down quickly when exposed to the sun. The nighttime is also when the skin repairs itself, so antiaging ingredients are more effective when used before bedtime.
Upgrade Your Skincare Routine Today
At Essential Aesthetics, we offer a variety of medical-grade skincare products, including prescription-strength retinoid cream. Call or text us at (925) 855-1773
or request a consultation online
to learn more.