Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Retinoids are all vitamin A derivatives. Once used to treat acne and scarring. It was discovered that the increased cell turnover had a entirely positive effect for ageing issues, such as fine line & wrinkles and photo-pigmentation.
Most skin types will benefit. However, they should be avoided by those suffering with rosacea or eczema.
There are 3 main types of retinoid:
Retinyl Palmitate is a very mild retinoid that can be found in many over the counter beauty products. It is stable, but very slow to work, as it lacks potency. It is therefore, unlikely to deliver noticeable results for deep seated issues.
Retinol is more potent and can be found in good quality cosmeceutical brands. As retinol is an unstable ingredient, it should come in a air-sealed dispenser to prevent oxidisation. Strengths vary, usually from 0.5% to 1%. Retinol is clinically proven to deliver results. However there are protocols to using it. Only use at night, as retinol is broken down by sunlight. It is advised to build up slowly, only using once in the first week and building up to no more than four times a week on alternate days. The skin will tighten and may shed. The skin can become photosensitive during use, so use of a broad spectrum high factor SPF is a daily non-negotiable must!
Retin-A is a prescription only product for use on severe acne. It is highly potent, but should only be used when medically required.
Hopefully that helps demystify the world of retinoids. With guidance and a good quality retinol your skin can definitely see very impressive change.