In the war on aging, there are some heavy hitters that pack a serious punch when it comes to fighting wrinkles: retinols and retinoids. "They are both versions of vitamin A," says L'Oréal Paris Consulting Dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, M.D. "They can be used to address skin texture, including pore size, fine lines and acne." With a slight slip of the tongue, you might think these to de-aging warriors are the same thing, but their difference lies in their strength. Here's the lowdown.
Retinols can be purchased over the counter and are better for someone with super dry skin, says Gerstner. Retinols are less irritating on the skin since they take their time to convert to retinoic acid, the active ingredient in prescription creams. Therefore, products containing retinols may take longer to produce results on your skin. "If someone has super dry skin, they will tolerate retinols better than retinoids," says Dr. Gerstner.
These are stronger de-agers and require a prescription. Products such as Retin-A provide quicker results than over-the-counter retinols, says dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, M.D., president emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology. "This sometimes comes at the risk of having irritation. People with sensitive skin frequently have challenges integrating a true form of retinoid, such as Retin-A, into their regimen," says Schlessinger.
"This leaves the opportunity for a less irritating, slower acting, treatment such as a retinol. Generally, most other individuals get used to either product and experience improvements over several months in the clarity and appearance of their skin," he says.
Easy on the Eyes
Because retinoids can be harsh on your skin, Gerstner recommends using a retinol-based product on the thin skin around your eyes. Try Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Eye Cream if you're a retinol newbie. If you tend to have sensitive skin, RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream was also designed to help condition skin to retinoids and contains a milder formula that targets and fights wrinkles while you sleep with minimal or no irritation.
Cleanse Away the Wrinkles
A retinol-based cleanser does double-duty: Aside from the standard sweeping of dirt and debris, it helps minimize the appearance of fine lines. Try Retinol-X Anti-Aging Cleanser, which contains retinol and vitamin E micro-beads that penetrate the skin to deliver long-term anti-aging benefits. It's also great on all skin types.
If your lines are deeply etched, a stronger, more concentrated product may be key. Try Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles. The highly potent formula helps resurface the skin to minimize the length and depth of each wrinkle, plumps to decrease the volume of the wrinkles and boosts collagen.