You're not alone. It's time to clear the air.
Retinol is a must for anyone who wants fresher skin with fewer wrinkles. But how do you know the difference between Retinol and Retinoic Acid, and how do you know which is right for you?
Retin - A + Glossary
Tretinoin / Retinoic Acid
Tretinoin, Retinoic Acid, retinoids, retinals, and retinol: what’s the difference?
Tretinoin and Retinoic Acid are the same ingredients, just with a different name. Tretinoin is only available via a prescription from your doctor or dermatologist because it is the most potent form of this vitamin-A derivative.
How does Tretinoin work?
Tretinoin works by speeding up the skin’s natural cell turnover rate, (aka, how quickly your skin renews). Think of cell turnover as the skin’s natural way of exfoliating itself: old cells are naturally shed from your skin’s surface to make way for newer, plumper, fresher cells to rise to the top.
Teenage and twenty-something skin has a rapid renewal rate. But as we age, this process slows and results in various undesirable skin concerns including wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration (aka, dark spots). Tretinoin encourages skin to renew at a faster rate, much like it did when you were in your teens, and this helps skin look smoother, less wrinkled, and more even in tone.
How Tretinoin helps clear acne and acne scars
Tretinoin is proven to help clear blackheads and whiteheads and can be effective in clearing inflammatory acne (pimples that are painful, red, and swollen). Tretinoin helps address some of acne’s biggest triggers: dead skin cells that clog pores, bacteria, and excess oil production. Tretinoin’s ability to stimulate cell renewal helps clear away dead skin cells so they won’t clog pores. Tretinoin can also help regulate the overproduction of oil (oil often acts as a glue for dead skin cells, bonding them to skin and enhancing their pore-clogging ability). Tretinoin encourages quicker cell turnover which helps open the pores, and this can help release bad bacteria that’s known to incite acne.
It’s this same cell renewal process that helps minimize the intensity of acne scars. By encouraging newer and plumper skin cells to the surface, Tretinoin can help scars look smoother and less deep. And, continued use can keep the look of even deep acne scars at bay for the long run.
Treating acne and acne scars with a Tretinoin cream can be a delicate balance due to its potential to cause dryness and irritation. A skincare professional can help you design a skincare program that mitigates Tretinoin side effects like dryness while helping to clear acne.
How Tretinoin helps minimize wrinkles
Tretinoin does more than just speed surface cell turnover. It also helps increase collagen production, and collagen production is essential to smooth, firm, and taught skin. By increasing collagen production, tretinoin can work as a preventative wrinkle treatment, considering the loss of collagen is one factor that contributes to wrinkle formation. When combined with Tretinoin’s ability to encourage surface cell turnover, which also helps rid skin of dulling cells that can intensify the look of wrinkles, it’s an incredible all-around anti-aging treatment.
How Retinoic Acid helps fade dark spots
Also known as hyperpigmentation, dark spots are some of the most stubborn signs of aging and can contribute to the look of aged skin as much as a wrinkle. A Tretinoin cream encourages cell renewal and the sloughing of surface, or epidermal cells. By sloughing off dull and discolored surface cells, the visible pigmentation is minimized and the skin looks more even-toned. Retinoic Acid can also help decrease the amount of melanin, which is especially helpful in targeting dark spots that are triggered by excess melanin production in response to overstimulation by persistent UV damage.
Available through a prescription only, VI Derm Retinoic Serum with 0.1% Tretinoin is an incredible treatment for patients who are struggling with stubborn dark spots. It contains fast-acting, prescription-grade 0.1% Tretinoin (pure Retinoic Acid) plus Vitamin C—a proven skin brightener—to diffuse dark spots and Vitamin E – a nourishing skin hydrator to minimize redness and irritation. To amp up brightening results, pair VI Derm Retinoic Serum with prescription Skin Lightening Complex 4% Hydroquinone – which also includes Kojic Acid and Licorice Root – for dramatic and rapid brightening results. VI Derm paraben-free Retinoic Serum delivers dermatologist-grade results, and the elegant formula feels and wears comfortably as part of almost any skincare regimen.
When used consistently and in combination with SPF, dark spots should begin to fade within 3-4 months of treatment.
Did you know?
Using VI Derm Retinoic Serum with 0.1% Tretinoin with soothing + moisturizing ingredients like Vitamin E can greatly reduce redness and irritation.
Retinals / Retinols
Retinals and retinol are also Vitamin A derivatives that are sold over the counter as treatment serums and creams. Retinals and retinol are effective in treating wrinkles and acne, however, they don’t work as quickly as Tretinoin. Why? Retinals and retinol have to be converted by the skin into Retinoic Acid before they can be efficacious, whereas Tretinoin is already Retinoic Acid and isn’t slowed or weakened by the skin’s conversion process. It’s this difference in speed and strength that gives Tretinoin status as a drug and why it must be prescribed, whereas retinals and retinol can be purchased without a prescription. Lastly, retinoids simply refer to the family of all Vitamin A products.
How do I know which retinoid to choose?
VI Derm has made it simple!
If you're experiencing some of the first signs of aging and are curious about adding retinol into your routine, try VI Derm Retinol Age-Defying Treatment Moisturizer. This moisturizer with Retinol is gentler on the skin, can be used morning and night, and doesn't require a prescription.
If you're more serious about correcting the most stubborn signs of skin aging, photodamage, and active acne, ask your dermatologist or skin care professional about VI Derm Retinoic Serum with 0.1% Tretinoin. Available by prescription only, this serum contains fast-acting, prescription-grade 0.1% Tretinoin (pure Retinoic Acid) plus vitamin C to diffuse dark spots.
What’s the best way to introduce Tretinoin cream into your skincare regimen?
There are ways to offset potential irritation, redness, and itching that can be experienced when you first start using a Tretinoin cream. You can start with a nighttime application of Tretinoin cream, like VI Derm Retinoic Serum, along with a recovery balm, like VI Derm Post-Treatment Repair Cream. Or, you can apply your VI Derm Post-Treatment Repair Cream in the morning to aid in soothing, recovery, and skin repair. VI Derm Post-Treatment Repair Cream was developed to optimize skin recovery by instantly reducing any redness and irritation and is incredibly effective at neutralizing potential Tretinoin side effects. It also prevents water loss in the skin, helping prevent the dryness (which can trigger itching and irritation) that is sometimes triggered by a Tretinoin cream. Always consult with your dermatologist or skin care professional to ensure the right treatment regimen for you.