Does Your Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Need Retinol or Retinoids?

Anti-aging skincare options made with retinol or other retinoids currently flood the market for women’s beauty products. Is it worth it to add one more thing to your daily routine? Do you really need a Retinoid cream?

Retinol is an ingredient made from vitamin A that boosts your body’s production of collagen and tightens your skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It is a retinoid, but it is not the only retinoid. Other types of retinoids include tretinoin, a stronger version of retinol. Some of these products are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. 

Depending on your age, your skin type, and the problems you are experiencing with your skin, retinols or retinoids can address some of your dermatological needs (including acne!). 

There is no age limit to using retinoids–in fact, the younger you start, the better–but there are different uses for different products. You might need a more intense regimen, or your skin might be young enough that only a mild retinoid is required. 


  • Retinyl palmitate: the weakest over the counter option. This is for those who don’t have many anti-aging needs, or if they have sensitive or dry skin. 
  • Retinaldehyde:  the next retinoid on the scale. It is typically used in over the counter products. Retinaldehyde is a little stronger than retinyl palmitate. 
  • Adapalene: This retinoid used to be prescription only, but now it is available over the counter. It desensitizes the skin to inflammation and slows the thickening of pores. It is also good for people who struggle with acne. 
  • Retinol: the strongest retinoid available over the counter. 
  • Tretinoin: a strong retinoid available only in prescription products. This was the first retinoid discovered. 
  • Tazarotene: the most powerful retinoid, available in prescriptions. 

Over the counter retinols work slower than prescription retinoids. But the effects are the same. Both provide the same kind of stimulation for the skin and lift wrinkles with collagen

Retinol creams might have other products mixed in for more benefits to the skin. These ingredients might include moisturizers or antioxidants. Prescription retinoids have a higher concentration of Vitamin A, which makes it more readily available to the skin. 

Uses for Retinoids:

  • Anti-Aging: Retinoids increase the production of collagen
  • Softening skin: Aging comes with rough spots on your skin. Retinoids help to thicken the skin and soften it. 
  • Skin color: Retinoids encourage the growth of new blood vessels in the skin. This brings back the fresh, youthful colors of your skin.


Retinoids are touted as a miracle drug for your skin, but they take some time to work. Steady use of retinol won’t produce any noticeable results until six months later. But if you stop using it at any point, the benefits disappear. 

These skincare products have some side effects. Your skin might become dry or irritated. So when you start using a retinoid, use it only a couple of times a week and then work up to using the product every night. Do not apply these products during the daytime, because retinoids make your skin sensitive to sunlight. If you already have sensitive or dry skin, then opt for an over the counter retinoid, not a prescription that might be too strong. 

Skin types also play into what form is best for you. People who have oily skin should opt for a retinoid in a gel form, while those with dry skin should use a cream. Gel forms of retinoids typically come with more side effects, however. 

It’s important to note that retinoids will make your skin look a little worse before it gets better. This is because the side effects of retinol tend to happen before the good effects become noticeable. If you keep using the product regularly, your skin will start to look younger, fresher, and healthier. 

Retinoids are a wonderful product for eye wrinkles. Retinol is not too strong for the skin around your eyes and stimulates collagen. This helps combat crows’ feet. 

Even if your skin is very sensitive, a mild retinoid can help you enhance your anti-aging routine. Combine the retinoid with a moisturizer to combat the irritation, and eventually your skin will adjust to the product. 

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid retinoids altogether. Too much Vitamin A throws off an important balance for mothers. 



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