Retinol and Retinoids – What you need to know

Retinoids and Retinols are forms of Vitamin A

Retinoids and retinols are forms of Vitamin A.  Retinols are types of retinoids were approved by the FDA in the 1970s to treat acne.  Retinoids have potent anti-aging properties because they spur faster turnover of surface skin cells and boost collagen. They improve acne, skin tone and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Prescription retinoids are stronger than Retinols

In general, prescription retinoids are stronger than retinols.  Both retinoids and retinols come in a variety of formulations and a variety of strengths.  The higher strength products result in faster turnover of skin cells.  Due to this, many of them also cause intolerable side effects of drying and painful skin.

Start low and go slow

People who have skin allergies or excessive dryness should start with a lower dose retinol.  People that have more significant issues, such as active acne or scarring, should advance strength to the highest tolerated.

Darker skin can use retinols, carefully

While people of all skin colors can benefit from retinoids, people with darker skin need to be especially vigilant about whether a product is causing irritation to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, i.e. dark patches on the skin. Starting low and increasing strength slowly to get the desired effect and using moisturizer will help prevent dark patches from occurring.

Retinoids and retinols treat acne, pigment issues, and reduce fine wrinkles

A skin product that contains retinoids is a good option for someone with mild acne, mild pigmentation irregularities, or mild fine lines and wrinkles. Many patients want to start right off with tretinoin (Retin A), but we advise them to use a lower strength formula and slowly building up to a full strength Retin A.

Retinoids cause sun sensitivity

Because retinoids can make skin more sensitive to sun always use sun protection during the day, which includes seeking shade, wearing sun-protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, and applying sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, look for a physical sunscreen containing the ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.

Start with a consult before adding retinols

We carry a variety of retinol containing products at various strengths and we prescribe a variety of retinoids.  Because there are so many options available, we recommend a consult with one of our team to determine the best product to initiate.

Who should I consult with at Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery

Gary Washington, our aesthetic nurse practitioner, is passionate about skin care and product guidance.  For our darker skin patients, a conversation with our certified medical assistant, Shawndelle Carter, will give you peace of mind that our products are great on dark skinned patients. Dr. Celeste Nagy, facial plastic surgeon, and Dr. Laura Beaty, family medicine physician, are also available to evaluate your skin routine needs.  Our team is here to give you the best possible advice on skin management and maintenance.





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