Retinol vs Retinoid

Retinol and retinoid  sound so similar, its easy to think they are the same thing.  Not really.  Retinoids , available only by prescription,  have been proven to  change aging skin, starting deep in the lower layers of the skin.  Countless studies  have shown that retinoids can both prevent and reverse UV damage, increase circulation and reduce aging inflammation. Because retinoids make organic changes in the skin they can  unwanted albeit temporary problems including flaking and redness.

By contrast retinols are a much milder form of retinoids.  Applied to the surface of the skin, they slowly are converted into true retinoids, but at a much lower concentration.   The good news is that are much less irritating.  The bad news?  They  produce less dramatic improvements.    I have read that retinols have about 1/4  the strength of retinoids.  This means that a .4%  Retinol is equal to a .1% Retinoid.   However most of the drug and department  store products with retinol don’t share  how much retinol they contain.  You can’t tell if there is  just a tiny drop in a big vat or is strong enough  to make a real difference to your skin.

There are  few  products that  reveal their retinol concentrations.  Retinol.5% from   Skinceuticals has .5% retinol ( $50).  Avene Retinol.1 Cream( $64) has, like the  label   says,  .1% retinol.  This is about equal  to .025% retinoid which is the strength of Renova, the mildest formulation of  Retin A.