Retinoids. Retinols. Retin A. Simplified


Vitamin A, Retin A, Retinol. Various names, forms, results and a vast topic in the world of Skin. Retinoids can yield fantastic results on skin when used correctly and do just the opposite when used incorrectly. 

Retinoids. Different forms of the fat soluble Vitamin A. Retinoids are known and widely used for their 2 main and powerful functions. Desquamation, the sloughing off of dead skin cells, preventing them from binding together and clogging pores while smoothing skin tone and texture and boosting collagen production. Retinoids work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath and preventing the breakdown of collagen. Skin contains retinoic acid receptors, RARs, and retinoids bind to them, which then activate skins cellular responses. Retinoids improve the cellular function of aged, damaged skin at a molecular level, changing the DNA in your cells. Retinoids communicate with your cells through these RARs and aid your cells in functioning at their highest level possible. The goal of every form of retinoid is to convert to retinoic acid so the above process can occur. 

Natural and Synthetic. Retinoids are available in 2 formsNatural retinoids are naturally derived and work by activating all of your skin’s retinoic acid receptors, RARs, together as a whole. Once scientists figured out how retinoic acid worked, they created synthetic retinoids to mimic the effects of natural retinoids. These synthetic retinoids only target certain RARs, depending on desired results, instead of activating all RARs like natural retinoids do.  

Natural Retinoids. In over the counter products, such as retinol and retinaldehyde, the conversion process to retinoic acid requires a more enzymatic processes, yielding a gradual and more time released form. This takes more time to see results but lessens irritation to the skin, especially sensitive skin types seeking results without the added irritation. 

Retinol. A gentle and effective form of Vitamin A that is kinder to skin types than prescription retinoids. A gradual conversion/enzymatic processes of retinol to retinoic acid makes this form of Vitamin A less irritating and overwhelming to the skin, which preventing the irritations that can occur with prescriptions. 

Retinaldehyde. Powerful enough to help combat breakouts without inflaming skin. Retinaldehyde is superior in repairing connective tissue from environmental damage and it is the immediate and closest precursor to retinoic acid.

 Synthetic Retinoids. Adapalen, Tazaroten, Isotretinoin, Tazorac 

All retinoids provide best results over time and have cumulative effects. The healthier the skin and tissue is when beginning a Vitamin A regimen, natural or synthetic, the more responsive and less sensitive skin will be during the adaptive process and the easier the conversion to retinoic acid. Overuse is the number 1 cause of skin irritations while using retinoids. Over exfoliation of skin disrupts your acid mantle, our protective skin barrier, which causes a host of skin irritations in itself including redness, flakiness, dryness, acne and an over production of oil as the skin works to try and protect itself from external elements. Begin retinoid use every other night, or as directed by physician, increasing gradually as skin adapts.


Jen | Mininal Beauty