Today I’m going to help you finally understand the difference between Retin-oids, Retin-A, Retin-ol and Renova! And stay tuned until the end of this episode for the question of the day; if you answer it correctly, you'll have a chance to win a free skincare product!
Retin-oids, Retin-A ,Retin-ol and Renova. We all hear a lot about them, but what’s the difference?
For all intents and purposes, they all began with Retin-A, so that’s where we’ll start.
Retin-A is the brand name of the original skincare product containing the prescrition-only active ingredient, tretinoin. Tretinoin is the form of Vitamin A that has been turned into an acid… So it’s also known as retinoic acid… And was originally developed to fight acne, which it has successfully done for the last 30 years.
In the late 1990’s, it was discovered that tretinoin could also help reduce fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of photo-aging. Because this use was for a much older population with much drier skin, they put the tretinoin in a much more emollient and moisturizing vehicle, and called it Renova. So the main difference between Retin A and Renova is its vehicle.
Now for the fun part!
We now know that Retin-A is a product that contains the ACID derivative of Vitamin A. Retin-ol, on the other hand, is a non-prescription active ingredient, and a form of Vitamin A… But Retin-ol is not the acid form of Vitamin A like tretinoin. Instead, it’s the actual form of Vitamin A found in animals.
Since Retinol is a fairly soluble compound, if it’s put on the skin, it can be absorbed into the epidermis where under CERTAIN circumstances, in the presence of CERTAIN enzymes, a small part of the Retinol… Less that 10%... Can be converted into tretinoin… Which as you know is the active ingredient in Retin A and Renova… Voila!
So this stuff really is all related and it’s starting to make some sense. So non-prescription Retinol can convert into prescription tretinoin. But the operant word is “CAN.” The conversion is not that predictable. So just because a product contains retinol doesn’t mean it can or will do what tretinoin can do in terms of acne or anti-aging treatments… And probably won’t. Yet… many skincare companies tout their products containing Retinol as working as if they contained tretinoin… This is definitely a case of buyer beware.
Now we get to the final term. Retinoids.
Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are all related to Vitamin A. Retinol and Tretinoin are called first generation Retinoids because their structure is closest to Vitamin A. Less related products are second generation, third, and so on…
Finally, connecting the dots, you now know that all of the products I’ve mentioned today are related to Vitamin A and therefore are collectively called Retinoids. And at last, you now know their uses and differences.
Now for today's skincare trivia! Answer today's question correctly within three days of this episode's airing and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free skincare product. Submit your answer at DermTV Dot Com Slash Trivia. Today's question is:
Retin-A's efficacy as an anti-acne and anti-aging product is based on its exfoliating properties. Which exfoliant do I believe is far superior and which I have often referred to as the gold standard for chemical exfoliants?
And don't forget. You can find the answer to this and all questions in past DermTV episodes.