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Retinol vs. Retin-A and Renova (article)

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  • Retinol vs. Retin-A and Renova (article)

    Retinol vs. Retin-A and Renova
    Retinol is the technical name for vitamin A and, despite its recent popularity in skin-care products that proclaim it as an answer for wrinkles, it is hardly new. In fact, it has been around for some time. Retinol gained immense popularity shortly after Retin-A made headlines as a prescription wrinkle cream back in 1987. The active ingredient in Retin-A (and Renova) is tretinoin, which is also referred to as all-trans retinoic acid, an acid form of vitamin A. It wasn?t a big stretch for cosmetics companies to take this information and try to convince the consumer that a product containing retinol could produce the same effects as Retin-A. Both are related to vitamin A and they sound almost identical. Headlines everywhere made most people aware of vitamin A, and in no time there was a flurry of knock-off Retin-A sound-alike products containing retinol or retinyl palmitate (another vitamin A derivative). It is important to discuss what role, if any, retinol plays in skin care.

    There is an abundance of research that shows tretinoin to be effective. Skin does age, whether from sun damage, smoking, or just growing up, and the results are wrinkles, rough skin, sagging, skin discolorations, and thinning of the skin. Changes in the skin are multi-fold, but one of the primary causes is cellular damage and resulting abnormal growth. An article from Clinics in Geriatric Medicine (November 2001, pages 643?659) stated "Studies that have elucidated photoaging pathophysiology have produced significant evidence that topical tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid), the only agent approved so far for the treatment of photoaging, also works to prevent it." (Sources: Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2001, page 38; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2001, volume 111, pages 778?784).

    But what about retinol's effect on skin? There is limited evidence demonstrating that retinol can exert the same activity as tretinoin on skin. The problem is that, in the skin, tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid) is the form of vitamin A that can affect actual cell production by binding to the tretinoin receptor sites on the cell. Retinol needs to become tretinoin in the skin if it is to do the same thing. Theoretically, retinol can become tretinoin in the skin, but the process isn't direct. Retinol can be absorbed into the skin and if certain enzymes are present it could then be converted to tretinoin. The question is whether or not, after retinol gets into skin, it is converted into tretinoin, and the research results are conflicting (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1998, volume 111, pages 478?484; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1997, volume 109, pages 301?305; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, November-December 2001, pages 363?372).

    One more point. Keep in mind that even Retin-A and Renova (the prescription topicals that contain tretinoin) don't produce the kind of results touted by the companies selling retinol products. Ironically, Neutrogena, who sells a retinol product boasting about its antiwrinkle benefits, is owned by Johnson & Johnson, who also happens to own the Retin-A and Renova formulas. If retinol works as well as the label on Neutrogena?s product claims, then why would you ever need to use Retin-A or Renova? Perhaps Johnson & Johnson was hoping no one would notice the conflict.

  • #2
    Thks for the great article.

    Retin-a is too harsh for some, so they switch to retinol instead. On the other hand, retinol may be too mild for others. And it seems the newer Renova is targated for wrinkled and matured skin type due to its moisturizing vehicle, while the pure retin-a for acne and blackhead areas. I could be wrong on these.

    Most OTC products only contains retinol 'cos retin-a is a product by itself and is a more expensive ingredient? Plus the latter would produce more side-effects. (presciption is required for both retin-a and renova in sg). Hence some brands would just simply indicate Vitamin A on the packagings.

    I believe whether one wanna use retin-a or retinol got to depend on her/his skin tolerance and preference.


    • #3
      Just for thought......another article....

      Retin A = Retinol? Not.

      This onslaught of prescription vitamin A wrinkle therapies essentially left the cosmetic industry in the cold, so they have turned to Retinol as the OTC answer. Initially the strength of retinol used in the common cosmetic product was quite weak. Currently there has been a shift to seeing stronger products coming to cosmetic counters. Comparing Retinol strengths can help you determine their effectiveness. For instance, RoC Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Cream containing 0.15% Retinol is comparable to Afirm 1X, but is far less concentrated than more advanced products in the Afirm line, like Afirm 2X retinol 0.3% up to Afirm 3X retinol 0.6%.

      Retinol is stronger than another vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate. They may be combined in certain formulations.

      Claims that Renova is far more expensive than retinol products is simply untrue. Renova comes in a 20-gram tube that should last 3-6 months, depending upon your use, and runs $25 to $35. Most retinols are at least this price. Yes, Renova in a much larger tube will cost up to $75, but usually there is no reason to purchase such a large tube. FYI: don?t count on any rx vitamin A cream to be covered my medical insurance if used for a "cosmetic" concern.

      Retinols may not be as effective or yield rapid results to rival tretinoin or tazarotene but can be equally as irritating as a Renova. Begin any vitamin A cream, rx or OTC on an every other night basis. Use them sparingly (just a pea-sized amount) and wait 30 minutes after washing before application. These steps will helps ensure tolerance and in turn helps improve compliance.

      Increased sun sensitivity also applies to retinols as with any vitamin A cream--wear screen! And whether it is retinol, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene...avoid use while pregnant or nursing.

      In my mind, the day Retin A became a ?proven? wrinkle treatment that the true medical/cosmeceutical search for the fountain of youth started. And it all started with an acne cream!


      • #4
        Just wanna share with you, last few year a have a lot of breakout more and more. and the zit just clog inside underneath my skin. I use a lot acne Gel, such as
        all range of Neutrogen for acne
        St. Ives
        Rose water and witch Hazel
        But none of the above can help me reduce it, eventhough some spa advise me to do facial for 2 times per month.

        Finally I use retin-A around 2 month + Benzac AC 5 to push out the inside zit out.
        it will make ur skin a little bit irritating, and that time u will have a big breakout.
        Now I stopped it and found my pimple reduce tremendously.
        Now I use DR.Hauska Cleanser and mask switch with the normal foam wash. My skin lesser breakout than last time!!



        • #5
          I can recommend a reputable pharmacy (Retin-A) - Good price and quality.
          Last edited by Loraaa; 08-02-2016, 11:04 AM.