As we grow older, our skin develops wrinkles, fine lines, acne and also tends to lose its elasticity. In today’s day and age, with so many anti-aging alternatives available, we tend to wonder which ones are really beneficial for our skin. Two such products are retinol and retinoids. Retin-based skin care products have proven their ability to fight acne and wrinkles, increase cell turnover, boost collagen and even the skin tone.

What is retinol?

What is retinol?

Retinol is a cosmetic ingredient used in skin care products for more than 30 years, sold in non-prescription formulas. Also known as Vitamin A, it is an anti-aging ingredient that reduces fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, sun damage, dull skin, etc. When applied, it converts into retinoic acid within the skin. It seeps into the skin slowly into the skin, over a period of a few hours. Retinol is ideal for sensitive, reactive skin types with less sun damage.

Retinol is used if:

  • Your skin is thin, dry or sensitive.
  • You are under 35 years of age.
  • You don’t have major acne issues.
  • You are already using vitamin A for wrinkle prevention, lighting discolouration and reducing pore sizes and smoothing.

What are the benefits of retinol?

  • It slows down the effects and signs of aging on the skin.
  • It rejuvenates the skin, making it look more vibrant, clear and youthful.
  • Because of its tiny structure, retinol penetrates deep into the skin to smooth wrinkles and improve the skin.
  • Retinol users experience minimal skin redness and irritation.
  • It improves skin elasticity, smoothens wrinkles and lines and moisturizes the skin.
  • It contains retinoic acid which stimulated cell regeneration.

What is retinoid?

What is retinoid?

Retinoids are man-made synthetic compounds that are synthesized to emulate vitamin A. They are topical or oral products, that help with acne, anti-aging and hyper-pigmentation.  The stronger forms of retinoids are available only in prescription formulae and work to provide smoother-looking skin. Also known as tretinoin, this vitamin A derivative unclogs pores, boosts collagen to reduce fine lines, and speeds cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin - sometimes in as little as four weeks. When applied to the skin, it gets converted into retinoic acid which binds to the receptors and activates the cell maturation process in the skin. It is stronger, more potent and faster acting than retinol.

Retinoid is used if:

  • Your skin is not sensitive.
  • You are over 35 years of age with a long history of sun damage.
  • Your skin is scarred from acne from your younger years.
  • You have melasma (dark brown spots or patches) from the sun, heat, pregnancy or hormones.

What are the benefits of retinoids?

  • They unclog pores, allowing other medicated creams and gels to work better.
  • They reduce acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. By clearing acne, they may also reduce the formation of acne scars.
  • It produces new collagen and treats wrinkles.
  • They treat oil production, bacteria that cause acne, and inflammation.
  • It stimulates new blood vessels in the skin, giving the skin a rosy appearance, fading age spots, and reducing precancerous skin spots called actinic keratosis.
  • They also help in correcting hyperpigmentation by limiting the development of melanin and clearing up sun spots.
  • When used consistently, retinoids keep your skin clear, even out skin tone, repair sun damage, and prevent pre-mature aging.

Also be sure to consider the following while using retinol and retinoids:

  • Avoid using other products alongside.
  • They need to be applied at bedtime.
  • The skin should be cleansed about 20 minutes before application to keep the dryness and redness to a minimum.
  • The skin should be moisturized after application as it seals the medication onto your skin.
  • A sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 should be used.

  • Image credits:, Dermarollerstone