Retinoids are the Wonder Woman of skincare products. Renowned for its ability to stimulate skin-cell turnover making it your first line of defense against acne, wrinkles and fine lines, dark spots and more. If you’ve heard of retinoids then you’ve probably heard of retinol vs retinoid —which has similar superpowers of their own.
Of course, it’s easy to confuse the two since they share the first six letters in their names.
So who wins in the contest of retinol vs retinoid? Keep reading to find out.
Retinol Vs Retinoid: Here’s What You Need to Know
Retinoid is actually an umbrella term that retinol falls under along with Retin-A, despite the fact that it is still considered a different product. This umbrella term refers to a class of ingredients related to vitamin A, which are naturally occurring compounds within our bodies. These compounds are vital to our immune function and tissue repair.
Both retinol and retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, and they both have to get converted into something called retinoic acid by skin enzymes in order to be absorbed. More importantly, it’s important to understand the differences in the products that you’re buying if they contain a type of retinoid.
So, What’s the Difference?
Retinols are over the counter (OTC) products such as creams, serums, and oils that can be bought without a prescription. Of course, this also means that they contain a lower concentration of the active ingredient. Due to the lower concentration, results will happen more gradually—up to twelve weeks.
With OTC retinol products, it takes a few more steps to convert into the necessary retinoic acid. But the retinol benefits of clear, smooth, and glowing skin are very much worth the wait.
Retinoids have a much higher concentration of the active ingredient, which also means that you need a prescription to get a retinoid product. Prescription retinoids don’t have to be converted by skin enzymes because they readily absorb. In addition, you’ll see results much quicker—up to six weeks.
Of course, with a higher concentration of retinoids, there’s a chance you’ll experience some skin irritation. This doesn’t typically happen with retinol products since they are usually crafted with moisturizers and antioxidants.
When and How to Use Which One
If you’ve never used either of the two before, it’s suggested that you start with a retinol product and work your way up. But before starting a regimen with a heavy-duty retinoid, talk to your dermatologist first, as they will suggest and prescribe the right one for you.
It’s recommended that when beginning your regimen with a retinoid or retinol, you start by applying it to clean, dry skin—post toner—every three nights before bed. After the first two weeks, you can start applying it every two nights.
If all goes well you can start using your products every night. Just keep in mind that sunlight deactivates retinoic acid, so you should only apply the products at night. It will also make your skin a bit photo-sensitive, so be sure to apply an SPF during the day to keep from burning.
So, it looks like in the contest of retinol vs retinoid creams, both come out as winners. Just remember, it’s always a good idea to consult your dermatologist before using retinoids.
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