Is there difference between Retinol and Retin-A?
The short answer is, yes!
- Both are retinoids which are derived from Vitamin A
- Both are powerful treatments for acne prone skin
- Both unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin
As an acne treatment topical retinoids work to reduce outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. Topical retinoids are used for moderate to severe acne that has not responded to other treatments.
As an anti-aging treatment, retinoids work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles get their start.
The difference is that some retinoid preparations come is prescription strength and some are over-the-counter products. Prescriptions strength retinoids are generally considered to be “100 times” more potent than retinol-containing products sold without prescription.
Prescription level forms of retinoids fall into the following groups:
- Tretinoin – brands include Rentin-A, Rentin-A Micro, Renova, and Atralin
- Tazorotene – brands include Tzorac, Avage
- Adapalene – brands include Differin
Many dermatologists find Tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than Tretinoin. Adapalene is considered the gentlest but may be less effective that other prescription strength retinoids.
While prescription formulas yield the most impressive results, over-the-counter retinoid, called Retinol, can also improve lines and discoloration. Because retinol is gradually converted into retinoic acid (the active ingredient in the prescription creams) it is less potent and will take longer to show results. Look for products with 0.1 percent retinol like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep WrinkleNight Cream. Also look for products packaged in aluminum tubes – this protects the formula from degrading from air and light.
More About Retinoids
Retinoids can cause dryness, redness, and flaking as it works to resurface the skin. But you can avoid these side effects if you begin using retinoid creams every other night or every third night until your skin becomes used to it.
Wait 15 minutes after washing your face before you apply a retinoid
Use one pea-size dab to cover your whole face.
Apply a basic moisturizer after a few minutes to prevent dryness.