Thursday, March 11, 2021

Which retinoid is right for you?


There are five main types of retinoids used in the treatment of wrinkles:

  • Retinyl palmitate. This is the least potent OTC retinoid. You may want to consider this option if you have sensitive or excessively dry skin and minimal wrinkling.
  • Retinaldehyde. This is an OTC retinoid that’s slightly stronger than retinyl palmitate.
  • Retinol. This is the strongest ingredient found in OTC retinoid products.
  • Tretinoin. This is a potent retinoid available by prescription only.
  • Tazarotene. This is the most powerful retinoid, available by prescription only.

How a retinoid is formulated can also affect how effective it is. For example, alcohol-based gels are considered the most effective of all formulations because of how easily the skin absorbs them. They’re also suitable for acne-prone skin.

If you have more mature or dry skin, your skin might react more favorably to the nourishing effects of cream-based retinoids.


You should always do a skin patch test before adding a new product to your routine:

  1. Apply a small amount of the product on the side of your forearm.
  2. Cover the area with a bandage and wait for 24 hours.
  3. If you begin experiencing any irritation or inflammation, you shouldn’t use this product. If you haven’t experienced any symptoms within 24 hours, it should be safe to apply elsewhere.

Once the product has passed your patch test, begin applying it every other night. Use it after cleansing and toning but before your nighttime moisturizer.

After a week or two, you may begin applying the product every night.

Retinoids are only used at night because of their strong effects and UV sensitivity. Make sure you wear sunscreen during the day to reduce your risk of side effects.


To reduce side effects

  • Always do a skin patch test before applying new products.
  • Only introduce one new skin care product at a time.
  • Wait two to three weeks before adding another new product to your routine.
  • Apply the retinoid every other night for the first week or two and then adjust to nightly.
  • Start with a lower retinoid concentration and increase the strength over time.
  • Wear sunscreen every day.






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