Retinols Debunked

What is all this talk about Retinoids, Retinols, and Retin A?

With basic store brands jumping on the Retinoid bandwagon it can be hard to tell what ingredients are best for your skin conditions. Retinoids are forms of Vitamin A that increase cell turnover and boost collagen and elastin production to smooth skin texture, lighten hyperpigmentation, and decrease fine lines. The molecules travel into the layers of dead skin cells to dissolve the bonds that hold the dead layers together for easy removal. This boost in light exfoliation is great for all skin types, excluding ultra sensitive and rosacea skin.

Retinoid, Retinol, Retin A. What's the difference? All come from the same place- Vitamin A. Retinoid is a general term used for many versions of this engineered form of Vitamin A. Retinol is one type of Retinoid. Retin A is a brand name for a prescription Retinoid based cream.

The difference in the chemical names of Retinoids comes from how they are engineered to be absorbed into the skin and the strength of the formulation. They can also range from pharmaceutical to non pharmaceutical grades. We'll be taking a closer look at the non pharmaceutical grades that are found in products we can purchase 'over the counter' or without a prescription. There are three different types: retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinol.

The least potent form and that found in most store products is retinyl palmitate. This form is less irritating to the skin because it has to undergo a series of biological conversions within the skin to be absorbed to the depth of the skin required to see results; it is also very stable so it can sit on a shelf for years. In most cosmeceutical products (those found at your aesthetician or med spa office) retinaldehyde or retinol will be found. These versions of Vitamin A only need to undergo a few biological changes after they are applied to the skin to gain the maximum benefits. With having fewer changes to undergo, the ingredient can travel deeper for faster, better results.

PCA Skin offers a variety of products that contain Retinols. A&C Synergy Serum's key ingredient is Retinol and also contains Vitamin C and other ingredients to control oil and bacteria for a clear, even tone making it a great choice for oily or acneic skin. Retinol Renewal Serum also contains Retinol to increase cell turnover for healthy skin. This serum can be used in any skin type, except rosacea. Retinyl palmitate is blended with potent Vitamins C and E in the C-Strength cream to minimize fine lines by strengthening the skin. This light cream treatment is perfect for mature skin types.

Whatever the product line you choose to use, look at the ingredient listing for the type of Retinoid it contains. Using a Retinoid product as a part of a nightly home care routine can aid in the treatment of skin conditions being addressed by your skin care professional.