Retinols, Retinoids, and Retin-A: Everything you Need to Know

by Anush Bichakhchyan

We have been hearing about retinol here and there and never talked about its role in skincare. In fact, retinol is responsible for making our skin smooth and flawless, fights against fine lines and maintains healthy glow. With all its qualities retinol still remains one of the most mystical ingredients in beauty industry. It is time to find out everything about retinol, retinoids and Retin-A.


Retinol and other retinoids like retinol palmitate and retinoid acid are derivatives of vitamin A, key nutrient responsible for cell turnover. Sometimes retinol and retinoids are confused with Retin-A or the latter is referred to as the type of retinol. Retin-A is the brand name of the acne medication so let’s leave Retin-A and get back to our retinol.

Retinol is a long term solution to increase collagen production. It is a practical solution to address early signs of aging. 

Retinoids vs. Retinols

Retinol and retinoids are both part of vitamin A family. The difference is the intensity and effect on skin. Retinol is weaker than retinoid but retinoids are mostly available by prescription. 


The primary benefit is, course, younger skin. It is possible to reduce the appearance of wrinkles without surgical intervention. Due to increased turnover skin regenerates faster, pores get softer and skin get cleaner. 


Just like any ingredient, retinol and retinoids may have side effects. Retinoid acid can cause irritation, redness, scaling and burning. High-concentrated products should be treated very carefully. By time skin may get used to the ingredient and built a tolerance. It is recommended to start slowly, using retinol every third night, then every other night and finally, when skin is no longer irritated, use it every night. 


It is advised to use retinol-based skincare products at night because sunlight can destabilize the ingredient and make it less effective. The regenerating process during night will become twice as effective with retinol-containing skincare. 

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With love,

Arkive - by Anush Bichakhchyan

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