Retinol, Retin A, and Tretinoin. What's the difference?
Retin-A is a prescription-only tretinoin cream. Tretinoin is another name for retinoic acid.
Retin-A products are stronger than the average retinol cream. The extra strength is known to assist with blemishes, reduction in wrinkles, boosted skin elasticity—but also major side effects. Due to its strength, Retin-A can cause itching, scaling, burning, peeling, and extreme redness when using the medication.
Retinol, on the other hand, is known to assist with wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, dark spots and of course, cell turnover, without the side effects.
Every skincare company wishes they had a miracle wrinkle cure in a bottle. Some even make false claims. You know, "Our product that will turn back the clock 20 years," kind of claims. Sadly, skincare products can't work miracles. Even a plastic surgeon can only shave off about 10 years.
Retinol is a form of retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A. It works its magic by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing texture, and diminishing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. This is especially important after 50 when age spots and wrinkles seem to appear overnight.
Here's why: As we age, skin cells stop maturing and pile up. Retinol works on a molecular level to normalize cell turnover, basically telling your cells to renew themselves regularly, sweeping away the old cells.
While results aren't as quick as Retin-A, averaging about 8-10 weeks, they're worth the wait!
If you've got sensitive skin, retinol is a milder--yet equally effective--alternative to Retin-A. Remember to use your Retinols at night and use a moisturizer with SPF during the day.
In a recent Harvard Medical School article titled, "Do retinoids really reduce wrinkles," it's reported:
"Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin, which improves skin color. Additional benefits include fading age spots and softening rough patches of skin."
For more information on the benefits of Retinol, check out this article from Stanford Medicine. They call Retinol the "Gold Standard" of perfect-aging ingredients.