Retinol and tretinoin are both topical treatments that have been proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They are both derived from Vitamin A and both have been clinically shown to speed up skin cell turnover, increase collagen, and decrease inflammation.
Both are effective and should be used under the supervision of a dermatologist to avoid side effects such as sun sensitivity. Felix can help you determine which treatment is right for your skin type and concerns.
1. Tretinoin is stronger
Retinol and tretinoin both belong to the vitamin A family of skincare products. However, retinol is the natural form of Vitamin A while tretinoin is a chemically modified version of it. It converts to retinaldehyde, then retinoic acid (tretinoin) through the oxidation of its alcohol end group.
Both retinol and tretinoin speed up the skin’s cell turnover process, which helps reduce fine lines and even out skin tone. They also increase collagen to firm and plump the skin. However, tretinoin is much stronger than retinol and requires a prescription. It can cause severe side effects, so it’s important to use it only as directed by a doctor or dermatologist.
Tretinoin is available in topical creams and gels with strengths ranging from 0.025% to 0.05% and up. It’s important to start with a low dose and work up to higher levels as your skin gets used to it. It can take a few weeks or months for your skin to show the results you want.
2. It’s more expensive
Retinol and retinoic acid are both vitamin A products that help keep pores clear, soften fine lines, fade discoloration, and generally improve skin texture. But retinol is found in many different skin care products that are available over-the-counter (OTC), while tretinoin can only be bought with a doctor’s prescription. This makes tretinoin much more expensive, which is why many people choose to start with a low-strength product that contains retinol before trying a stronger version of the drug.
When used correctly, tretinoin can give you a more even skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, & prevent sun damage, among other benefits. But it’s important to talk with your dermatologist before deciding to try it and to make sure it’s the right choice for you.
Retinol can also cause side effects, but these are usually mild and short-lived. It’s also not recommended for use during pregnancy since the high amounts of vitamin A that enter the system could affect foetal development.
3. It’s more likely to cause side effects
Both retinol and tretinoin can cause side effects, such as irritated skin, dryness, redness, peeling, itching, and swelling. But if you and your dermatologist determine that tretinoin is the best choice, you can minimize them by starting slow and building up gradually. You should also use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day while on tretinoin, as it can increase sun sensitivity.
Both products stimulate collagen growth and help with the elasticity of your skin, giving it a brighter and more youthful appearance. They can also reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Both products are safe for most people, but you should avoid using retinol and tretinoin if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
The most common side effects of tretinoin are pruritus, skin pain, dermatitis, erythema, and pharyngitis. These side effects typically occur within the first few weeks of treatment and can be managed with over-the-counter topical steroid creams. You can also reduce your risk of side effects by avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods.
4. It’s more effective
Both tretinoin and retinol stimulate skin “turnover,” which is when your face sheds dead skin cells to reveal healthier, more toned skin underneath. Both products are helpful in treating cystic acne and other skin conditions like psoriasis and hyperpigmentation. However, tretinoin is more effective than retinol at reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Because of its higher potency, tretinoin needs to be applied once or twice a day and can cause some major side effects including redness, dryness and peeling (Buchanan, 2016). To minimize these risks, Dr. Zeichner recommends using a moisturizer before applying tretinoin.
Retinol, on the other hand, can be found in a variety of skincare products available over the counter. It is less harsh than tretinoin and doesn’t take as long for the anti-aging benefits to take effect because it requires your body to convert it into retinoic acid. However, the strength of OTC retinol can be hard to determine since it is not required to list its concentration. tretinoin vs retinol