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What Is The Difference between Retinol & Retin-A Tretinoin?

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Retinol Vs Retin-A Tretinoin

The short answer would be retinol is in many over-the-counter skincare products and is a lot weaker than Retin-A Tretinoin. Retin-A is the brand name for tretinoin and is a prescription-strength retinoid.  Both are forms of vitamin A  & are FDA-approved topically and orally. Retinoids are all prescription medications. Prescription retinoids that are on the market today are Retin-A  Atralin Retin-A Micro Tazarotene Tazorac Adapalene & Differin. Retin-A is a synthetic form of vitamin A & In most countries only available by prescription and in other countries is available over the counter. When Tretinoin is applied topically to our skin it converts it into Retinoic acid, therefore, it works faster and is more powerful it works by irritating the skin & removing dead skin cells meaning they grow quicker and divide revealing younger brighter fresher more youthful skin. You are expected to see results in 8-12 weeks.   Tretinoin was originally used to treat acne patients in the 1950s to 1970s whilst studies were taking place by dermatologists they observed acne patients not only effectively became acne-free but also did not develop any fine lines & wrinkles. Today predominately Tretinoin is used for both acne and its anti-aging properties and is becoming ever increasingly globally popular.   

Tretinoin benefits include:

  • Removing dead skin cells
  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Improving skin texture & tone
  • Treating Photo-damage aging
  • Treating liver/sun/age spots
  • Tightens sagging skin & plumps the skin out
  • Clearing up acne


Retinol is hailed as the gold standard product of aging even though the real hero of aging is Tretinoin, if you are looking for the ultimate anti-aging product begin with a retinol product make sure it is pure retinol and not derived retinol which is even weaker it is advised you begin with a weak dose and gradually build up to a prescription retinoid before you begin to use retinoids. Tretinoin is the only product on the market that raises the bar and is scientifically proven. Another important note when using retinol or retinoids do not breastfeed under any circumstances.      Retinol takes on average 2-3 months whilst Tretinoin takes 4-6 weeks to see results also when using Tretinoin some people may experience the dreaded purge which is when the skin becomes irritated and peels it is important if you do experience the dreaded purge you carry of using and keep your skin hydrated at all times. Here is our chart of the different strengths of the potency of retinol & retinoids.   

What Is The Difference between Retinol & Retin-A Tretinoin
Different Types of Retinol



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