I have often mentioned my reservations about retinols vs the more powerful retinoids like Retin A. When applied to the skin, retinols have to convert themselves to a true retinoid before they can be effective. Researchers estimate that a retinol is only 25% as effective as a Retin A. For example, a .1% Retinol ( a very common concentration) is equal to a .025 Retin A– which is actually the mildest Retin A on the market. And then there is the problem that most retinol products don’t say how much of the power stuff they actually contain. You can’t know if a product is to weak to be effective or too strong and irritating.
I stayed away from retinol products until wandering in the exhibit hall of a derm conference, I picked up free samples of .5% Retinol from Skinceuticals. I was intrigued. A .5% retinol is at least equal to my current .1% Retin A Micro. ( I know this is a lot of math but staywith me– its worth it). And then there was the question of price. .5% Retinol ( they need to work on the name) is just $50/ tube– a lot better than the $300 price tag of my Retin A Micro. But price is not that important if it didn’t deliver beauty benefits. After just three days, I had new respect for retinols. I could put it on shortly after washing my face without developing dryness or irritation–yet I could see a fresher, brighter skin. What I loved best about Retin A is that relieved my pale, pasty skin tones and replaces them with pinker, happier looking skin. This retinol product delivered the same “pinking” but without the dryness.
To keep my skin from getting bored, I’ve been alternating between .5% Retinol and .1% Retin A Micro. I liked the results so much, that when I had finished my samples, I paid retail for a full size tube. Next I want to see if I can use it before and after an office anti-aging procedure. IPL and lasers make my skin especially sensitive and I need to suspend Retin A for as much as a week. Next time, I’m going to see if I can use .5%Retinol the next day to avoid a break in beauty routinue. What has your experience been with retinol products.? How did they compare to Retin A for you?
For more information, I’ve written a guide to Retin A. Like my Facebook Fan Page and you can download the four page guide for free.