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Do You Really Need Tretinoin & Retinol for Anti-Aging?

October 1, 2018

I am always getting questions about Tretinoin and Retinol. What are they? How are they different? Do they really work for anti-aging? Today, I want to clear all of this up for you.

By: Kaitlyn, NP


What is Tretinoin?

Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative, and it is used purely to help increase cell turnover. What that means is when you put it on your skin, it causes those dead cells on the top of our skin to basically flake off, which brings up healthy, more youthful and vibrant skin. Tretinoin is often in an ingredient in chemical peels.

So then what is Retinol?

Now Tretinoin is the purest form, so after Tretinoin we have Retinol. Retinol is about 20 times weaker than Tretinoin, so it basically does the same thing but it’s not nearly as strong. This means it’s not going to create as much of a result and it’s not going to cause as much of that dry, flaky result that we experience from Tretinoin.

Setting the Right Expectations

Oftentimes, when patients start using these products, I don’t think the end result or the side effects are fully explained. Since the products are causing dead skin cells to come off, there is going to be some flaking, some dryness, some irritation, which actually causes a lot of patients to stop using the products. But these are normal results of these skincare products.

If you stop using Retinol or Tretinoin long enough, you won’t flake anymore. In fact, you’ll be able to use those products every single night and not experience any irritation.

Where do I buy Tretinoin or Retinol? 

Tretinoin is prescription-only, so you should only be obtaining it from a medical office. If you are buying these products online from websites, I’d be very leery about the actual quality of the products that you’re buying.

A lot of skin care products will have just a little bit of Retinol in them. For example, ZO Skin Health, one of the lines that we carry in the MedSpa, actually puts a little bit of Retinol in a lot of their products. They believe the more Retinol you get on the skin, the better the results are going to be.

When should I use Retinol?

Retinol is a product that should only be used at night. Both Tretinoin and Retinol products are designed to cause irritation to the skin, so if you’re putting them on in the morning and then leave your house, you’re exposing yourself to the sun. You can actually burn your skin far more than if you weren’t using these products.

Does everyone need Retinol?

A lot of people ask me if everyone needs Retinol. I think that everyone can find a benefit in Retinol. If you have very dry or sensitive skin, you probably will need to use this at a very gradual pace, but everyone find benefits.

You’ll definitely see improvement in:

  • Lines and wrinkles (it’s an anti-aging ingredient)
  • Acne or oily, congested skin
  • Dull skin

If you do experience some dryness, you can always use a moisturizer with it.

Have more questions?

If you have any questions about Tretinoin and Retinol, you can call our office at 513-791-9474.

Rather see us in person? You can now reserve a slot at our special Skin Care Consultation Day on Tuesday, 10/23. Every private, one-on-one consultation will go over your Visia Facial Analysis results, provide you a personalized plan, and more. There are only 12 slots, so call us before space fill up and you miss you!