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Prescription Retinoids vs Retinol | The Difference in Anti-Aging Skin Care

Prescription retinoids vs. retinol. Choosing to visit our cosmetic doctors for a prescribed retinoid may be the best decision you can make for your skin. They are great for acne and pigmentation and are anti-aging powerhouses that reduce wrinkles and sun damage. Call us today or book a complimentary consultation with our Skin Nurse, Christine Weldon, to learn about prescription retinoid treatment.

Book online or call 07 3350 5447 for a free consultation with our skin nurse Christine.

Prescription Retinoids are first-line therapy for acne and psoriasis but have also found a niche as an anti-aging cream. The options include the retinoids such as tretinoin (retin a stevia a), adapalene and tazarotene (Zorac). Tazarotene is a retinoid that has been available in Australia for several years. Because we have cosmetic doctors working every day in our clinic, we can offer a rare service of being able to provide prescription retinoids.

What are Retinoids vs Retinol

Retinoids are another name for vitamin A and related compounds. Retinoids are naturally present in healthy skin and are essential for healthy bodily functions (including vision!). However, the concentration of retinoids in your skin decreases with age,  sun damage and oxidative stress. And because they have anti-aging benefits, our cosmetic doctors frequently prescribe this for our clients.

Retinols are also Vitamin A, but they are available over the counter, although it has some evidence that they are effective for anti-aging and treating wrinkles. Prescription retinoids remain the gold standard for treating wrinkles, acne, and pigmentation removal.

  • Prescription Retinoids do most of their anti-aging work by influencing gene expression,
  • Retinoids are oil soluble and penetrate the skin well
  • Prescription retinoids are the old standard for treating acne, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.

How Do Prescription Retinoids Work?

Prescription retinoids are well-researched and impact all skin cells to improve skin texture, quality and tone.

  • Retinoids prevent collagen and elastin breakdown by suppressing the enzymes that degrade these key skin elements. This equates to your skin remaining fuller and more elastic for longer.
  • Retinoids increase collagen production by directly stimulating fibroblasts. This keeps your skin thick and structured (skin thinning is associated with ageing)
  • Retinoids increase cell turnover, meaning surface compacted layers flake to reveal a more radiant glow.
  • Using retinoids also indirectly increases the presence of hyaluronic acid in the skin. This is a water-binding molecule that keeps skin hydrated.
  • Retinoids normalise oil production decreasing acne, skin oiliness and congestion.
  • Retinoids are also powerful antioxidants  that help in protecting from sun damage (Do not replace your sunscreen but be aware that it is beneficial in this way.)
  • Aids in pigmentation removal by assisting previously damaged cells in turning over and normalising melanocyte cell behaviour.

“Is there a difference between a retinol and a retinoid product?” you may wonder. That’s a good question and one we get a lot.

Prescription Retinoids vs Retinol

While retinol and prescription retinoids are derived from the powerful ingredient Vitamin A, they differ significantly. Why should you use retinol or retinoids? Retinol and retinoids are potent ingredients that should be included in your skincare routine. They promote skin cell turnover and collagen production, making them an excellent acne and anti-aging treatment because they:

  • unclog pores and clear acne
  • smooth skin texture
  • reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • fade hyperpigmentation spots
  • improve skin glow

Prescription Retinoids are More Potent

While both work to accomplish this, retinoids are a more potent Vitamin A derivative. This means you’ll see more significant results in less time.

Retinol is Less Irritating

Retinol, however, is less irritating to the skin than the prescription cousins, so for people with sensitive skin, start with retinol cream, such as Proparia Retinol, to gradually build up tolerance and reduce skin irritation. Once your skin is in a condition, you may slowly introduce prescription retinoids.

Retinoids vs Retinol Use Guideline

Take breaks and listen to your skin when introducing them into your routine.

  • Begin using retinoids with 1- 2 days per week of retinoids and gradually increase from there (aiming for no more than five 5 days per week).
  • After washing your face with a gentle cleanser, wait until your skin is dry before applying your retinol or retinoid product.
  • To keep your skin hydrated, especially if you have dry skin, apply a moisturiser after cleansing, then wait 10 minutes to apply your retinol or retinoid product.
  • We recommend TBH Rebound Serum, a skin barrier repair serum that will prepare your skin to use a retinoid.
  • You can finish with another layer of moisture; however, prescription retinoid formulation tends to be hydrating.

Book Online or call 07 3350 5447 for a free laser consultation.