In the world of beauty and beauty products, the words retinol and retinoids get used a lot – often interchangeably. Although the terms sound the same, they are different. What is the difference? Which one is better for you?
Retinol And Retinoids
Both, retinol and retinoids are forms of vitamin A. Both are used for their anti-aging properties, but they do not work in the same time frames. FDA approval exists for retinoids and are procured only with a doctors prescription. Retinols can be procured over the counter.
Retinoid and retinol, are both derived from vitamin A. However, they have different molecular structures. The molecule structure of retinols causes it to convert relatively slowly compared to retinoids. Essentially, all retinols are retinoids. However, all retinoids are not retinols.
Retinol vs. Retinoids – The Difference
Typically, retinoids are more potent than retinols. Retinoids contain a more potent concentration of the active ingredient retinoic acid. Also, vitamin A’s molecular structure in the form of retinoid enables it to act on the skin cells at a more rapid rate compared to retinols.
Retinols, provide similar results as retinoids. But, due to the lower concentration of the active ingredient and different molecular structure, it takes more time for similar results to be seen. This is because retinols are in the form of esters. Ester forms inherently require several more steps for them to be converted to the active ingredient retinoic acid. But for their slower action, retinols are as effective as retinoids. They are also gentler on the skin.
Retinoids have undergone clinical trials to test their effectiveness for treating acne. They have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and can be purchased only against a prescription by a doctor.
Retinol can be bought over the counter without a prescription. Several commercially available brands contain retinol. Each brand contains varying low concentrations of retinoid making it slow acting. These products are recommended by dermatologists for their anti-aging properties and to treat acne scarring.
What Should You Use?
Given time, retinol is as effective as retinoid for most people as an anti-aging solution. However, if you are looking for a solution for acne or are looking to reverse severe acne scarring retinoids are better. The higher concentration of retinoids will enable a more rapid epidermal turn over and collagen growth to provide faster results.
To be able to use a retinoid, you will first need to see a dermatologist. This is a reason many people opt to use retinols instead. However, it is always a good idea to consult a dermatologist before deciding on what would best suit your skin.
Consulting a dermatologist is also recommended because these products can, during initial use, cause some side effects. Side effects such as redness of skin, dry skin and flaking are seen in some users. A dermatologist will be able to give the best advice depending on your skin type.
Retinol And Retinoids Explained By Dr. Shieh
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Samira is a Middle-Eastern beauty expert passionate about skincare and makeup. Samira lived in different Arabic countries and worked in some of the most prestigious beauty centres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. That is how Samira acquired most of her knowledge about beauty and the Arabic skincare rituals.