• Suzi Sailer

Anti-Aging: Vitamin A, Tretinoin, Retin-A, Tazarotene, Adapalene, Retinol... What's the difference?




Hello from Refresh! We haven’t written a blog in…well…way too long, so today we are jumping back into it. I want to talk about just about every skin care expert's favorite ingredient...Retinoids! There is more than 30 years of research and clinical trials that demonstrate the benefits of retinoids. You see them everywhere from Target, to makeup counters, medical provider offices. So, what is the difference between all of the products, and what is the buzz all about? Let’s start from the top with the two types, Retinol and Retinoids. They are both powerful derivatives of vitamin A. Retinol is considered the "over-the-counter" version of the ingredient. Most often it is found as an ingredient in anti-aging products at a lower percentage. You will see this ingredient in many products, but is common at both drug stores and department stores. Retinoids on the other hand (such as tretinoin, tazarotene, Retin-A, and high-strength adapalene), are prescription strength, and found in products carried/prescribed by practitioners for anti-aging & acne purposes. This may leave you wondering is one better than the other? Prescription strengths are stronger and more potent, therefore are more effective and offer deeper benefits. Your provider can also determine which prescription would suit your skin's specific needs. So, English please….That’s great and all, but what is the purpose & benefits of Retinol & Retinoids? They increase cellular turnover which helps to reverse photo damage (dark-spots). They boost collagen which smoothes wrinkles. So basically, more collagen=less wrinkles. Retinol & Retinoids stimulate collagen production which in turn boosts the skin’s elasticity & thickness. (Side note-did you know that collagen production drastically starts reducing after you turn 28?). They also help unclog pores which can make them appear smaller. Are you starting to see why skin care experts are obsessed with Retinoids?! If you’re interested in starting a regimen, I would recommend a skincare consult. This helps us weigh out your skin’s specific needs and also gives us the opportunity to give you a prescription so you can reap the benefits of prescription strength retinoids. Once we have determined what’s best for you, our practitioners will ease you into the product. Your skin will have to get used to it. So, we advise patients to start by applying it once to twice a week in the beginning can help. Your cells actually hang onto the product for three days, so you do not need to use it more frequently (this honestly is a waste of product & can cause unnecessary redness/dryness). You only need a pea size amount for your entire face…it’s that strong and powerful! We also recommend mixing the retinol/retinoid with a pure moisturizer to minimize irritation from the product. DO NOT use it when going in the sun! (So if you’re planning a trip to the beach, leave your retinoid at home!). Also important to note is that as with adding any medical grade skin care product to your routine, mild skin purging can occur. This is not acne, but can resemble it. This is due to the increased cellular turnover & does not mean you should stop using the product. It means you need to push through it & it will resolve in 2 weeks or less (this is actually a good sign!). Side note worth mentioning, Retinoids are not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers however we do have some alternatives that we can offer for this special group of women! Leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, or what you’d like to hear more about!

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