Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that are exfoliants, antioxidants, and anti-pigment agents that help increase the skin’s Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid production, so they also act as a skin-firming agent. Historically, although the term cosmeceucetical was first introduced in the 1962, it was Retin-A that became the first true “cosmeceutical,” meaning a product that bridged the gap between a cosmetic and a pharmaceutical. Although it was developed for the treatment of acne, Retin-A became the first topical product promoted to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Although Retin-A can be very effective, it is also difficult to tolerate since it is a very acidic product that results in peeling and redness in many people who try to use it regularly.
Retinol is a very popular nonprescription retinoid. Since Retinol is not acidic, it is much better tolerated than Retin-A. In my clinical experience, it is also less photosensitizing.
One study done by Dr. Albert Kligman, the University of Pennsylvania research professor who invented Retin-A, showed that nightly use of 0.15% Retinol produces a 30% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles after one month. continued use of Retinol can also lessen the appearance of uneven pigment and the appearance of pore size.