There’s no denying that Retinoids are an incredibly popular skincare ingredient.
It’s common in skincare products targeting wrinkles and unhealthy skin.
But you might be wondering if Retinoids really work?
Perhaps you may be uncertain about Retinoids side effects.
Or, maybe you’re wondering which is better, Retinol or Retinoids!
The importance of Retinoids were discovered around World War 1 and further studies showed how closely Retinoids and the skin are linked.
Actually, Retinoids have a much larger role in the body than just in the skin.
- developing embryos
- organ development (ex: liver, heart, kidneys)
- cell growth
- cell modification
Lets find out what makes Retinoids such an excellent skincare ingredient.
(And some warnings when using Retinoids as well!)
Which is better for skincare: Retinol or Retinoid?
Retinoids are an incredibly popular skincare active ingredient.
But, you might have noticed some skincare products are labeled “Retinol” and others “Retinoid”.
Close enough so it must be the same thing, right?
Well, not really.
Retinol is actually Vitamin A and Retinoids are a group of molecules that are derived from Vitamin A.
(Since Retinoids have a similar structure as Vitamin A, they can be labeled Vitamin A as well.)
Vitamin A is the first vitamin approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an anti-wrinkle agent that changes appearance of the skin surface and has anti-aging effects.Zasada & Budzisz, 2019
Some members of the Retinoid family are:
*Prescription needed in the U.S.
- Retinoic Acid*
- Retinyl Esters
- Retinyl Palmitate
Skincare products labeled “Retinoid” use any combination of these Retinoids, and you won’t know which unless you read the ingredient list carefully!
It turns out, some Retinoids are better than other for skincare.
Does Retinoids actually work in skincare?
Retinoid’s anti-aging properties are widely promoted and praised.
But, these claims actually have a solid scientific backing.
- strengthens skin structure, causing less wrinkles.
- reduce water loss, keeping the skin hydrated.
- prevents Collagen damage and sagging skin.
- increase skin protein and Keratin production.
- causes dark pigments to spread out evenly.
- decreases hyperpigmentation.
- promotes smoother skin by increasing new skin production.
With more than two decades of experimentation, there is a vast amount of evidence that regular retinoid use over several months results in clinical improvement in skin texture, wrinkles, and pigmentation.Levin & Momim, 2010
Remember, not all Retinoids are equal
The anti-wrinkle, skin strengthening properties of Retinoids make this skincare ingredient an amazing addition to any skincare routine.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that different Retinoids have different effectiveness.
Typically, Tretinoin is prescribed to treat skin with severe acne conditions as well as acne scarring.
A few warnings to consider when using Retinoids
If Retinoids are such great anti-aging skincare ingredients, why isn’t it used in all skincare products?
Well, it turns out, there’s a few things to be careful with when using Retinoids.
The most common side effects known as “Retinoid Reaction” are:
- Drying skin
- Skin irritation
Finally, scientists advise pregnant women to avoid using Retinoids because Retinoids “are known to cause teratogenicity/embryotoxicity.”
Future of Retinoids and skincare
In summary, Retinoids can be an amazing addition to any skincare routine.
If you’ve had irritability issues with Retinoids in the past, there’s some good news!
The next generation of Retinoids is currently being researched by scientists.
New nano-particle Retinoids that are just as effective while being smaller, more shelf stable and most importantly, less irritating to the skin.
If successful, these new Retinoids may one day be as common as glycerin in skincare products.
- Retinol (0.07%) & Vitamin C (3.5%)
- This mixture “could reverse, at least in part, skin changes induced by both chronological and photo-aging.”
- Retinol (0.3%) & Hydroquinone (4%)
- Combination showed better results in treating fine lines and wrinkles within 16 weeks.
- Retinol (0.1%) & Glycolic Acid (an AHA) (8%)
- Combination improved skin appearance more than using either skincare ingredients alone.
For now, Retinoids continue to be valuable and play an important role in skincare!
After sunscreens, many believe topical retinoids are the most important drug class to combat and reverse the signs of aging.Levin & Momin, 2010
- Mukherjee, S., Date, A., Patravale, V., Korting, H., Roeder, A., Weindl, G. (2006). Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety.
- Zasada, M., Budzisz, E. (2019). Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments.
- Levin, J., Momin, S. (2010). How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?
- Leyden, J., Stein-Gold, L., Weiss, J. (2017). Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne.
- Tran, D., Townley, J., Barnes, T., Greive, K. (2015). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin.