What’s the deal with retinoids?

You've heard us say it every day in the office. “You’ve gotta be on a Vitamin A derivative.”

Vitamin A products, also called retinoids, are generally broken down into 3 categories that you've probably heard of: Retinol, Tretinoin and Accutane. So what’s what? Simply put, retinoids are a group of Vitamin A products. These have a long-studied, proven track record in skincare. 

These compounds help regulate cell growth, which is very important for beautiful, healthy, clear, wrinkle-free skin. Retinoids are the gold standard for acne and anti-aging. 


Retinoids will help decrease breakouts by decongesting clogged pores and keeping dead skin cells from blocking the pores. It keeps the skin freshly exfoliating and clear. When we use topical retinoids for acne, we tend to go for the prescription Tretinoin. Accutane is an oral medication reserved for severe cases of cystic acne. It works by slowing the production of sebum.

Anti Aging:

Wrinkles, wrinkles wrinkles. Did I mention retinoids are great for wrinkles?

When considering retinoids for anti aging, we can use an over the counter retinol or prescription Tretinoin. Retinol is an over the counter retinoid with a lower concentration of retinoids designed to be easy to use with no side effects such as redness, dryness and flaking. 

Retinol is generally easy to tolerate and will produce subtle, noticeable improvements in texture, discoloration and photoaging. The key point? Retinol is easy to use with no side effects.

Tretinoin is a prescription-strength retinoid. There are side effects like redness, flaking, sensitivity and burning. This prescription does a better job than retinol, however you have to be willing to have side effects. These side effects are manageable and can be mitigated by following our instructions. 

We’d be happy to discuss how to incorporate retinoids into your skincare routine and which product will be best for you. We consider retinoids a must!