There’s this big debate on whether tretinoin is better than retinol and vice versa. Both come from the family of retinoids, but what’s the difference? I’ve personally always been a fan of tretinoin, as I began my journey into the world of retinoids at the tender age of 41. Today, most people start using retinoids as early as their twenties. I, on the other hand come from a different generation where retinoids were used from age 30 upwards (depending on your skin type).
WHAT IS TRETINOIN?
Tretinoin belongs to the family of retinoids, and is a synthetic form of vitamin A commonly used to treat various skin conditions. It is often sold under the brand name Retin-A. It is available in different strengths (0,025%-0,1%) and can found in lotion, cream or gel form.
In most countries, tretinoin is prescribed under doctor’s supervision. But it can also be procured without prescription in a number of places. Either way, I advise that you use this product with caution, follow the instructions and seek counsel from a dermatologist.
Around 2016 I started hearing a lot about tretinoin, its anti-aging benefits, and how it was good for clogged pores. At the time I was experiencing an increase of clogged pores due to slow cell turnover. So I thought it would be a good idea to add it to my skincare routine. I did my research, and was able to secure my first tube of tretinoin gel without a prescription. I started with a low dose of 0,025% (the least potent) to reduce the risk of irritation and minimise peeling. It worked like a charm! My clogged pores had disappeared and the texture of my skin had drastically improved. Who knew that a little tube of tretinoin could deliver such results?
Tretinoin gel has always been my favourite. Although it's getting harder and harder to find these days. Most people prefer the cream. But I personally prefer the gel, as it absorbs quickly and glides easily over serums.
HOW DOES TRETINOIN WORK?
Tretinoin is prescribed for the treatment of various skin conditions. It is primarily known for its effectiveness in treating acne. But is also used in the treatment of hyperpigmention, melasma and for anti-aging concerns.
How do I use it?
As I mentioned before, it’s best to see a dermatologist before jumping into the world of tretinoin. Always start off with the lowest strength available, then slowly and gradually introduce tretinoin into your skincare routine. Start with once a week applications, then onto twice a week and so forth. It’s important to monitor your progress during the beginning stages. Tretinoin is known to cause irritation, redness and peeling. So go slowly. If you experience any of these side effects, stop using it for a couple of nights. Apply soothing and gentle skincare products to help calm irritation and lower the risk of PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
Tretinoin should be applied at night after your serum and before your night cream. If you’re using other over the counter retinoids, it’s advisable to stop to reduce the likelihood of irritation. Applying retinoid on top of retinoid makes no sense, and is completely redundant. Also try to steer away from using other actives with tretinoin, as it can irritate the skin and cause PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Most importantly, remember to wear sunscreen during daytime hours, as tretinoin increases sun sensitivity.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A, and is classed as a retinoid. It is less potent than tretinoin and is sold over the counter without a prescription. Retinol is most commonly found in serums and creams. It is used to treat the same skin concerns as tretinoin, but is regarded as a much gentler option.
How does Retinol Work?
Retinol benefits the skin in a number of ways, and works much in the same way as tretinoin. It is used to treat acne, diminish hyperpigmentation, improve skin texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
WHAT'S BETTER TRETINOIN OR RETINOL?
When it comes down to it, no product is better than the other. It all boils down to the severity of your skin concerns and personal choice. Many people prefer retinol because it is gentler, causes less irritation and is easy to purchase. Retinol works much slower, and it takes time to see visible results. Whereas with tretinoin, the results are seen in a shorter period of time. Tretinoin can be highly irritating to the skin, which can also deter novices.
Having used both, I personally prefer tretinoin for its efficacy. It targets my skin concerns almost instantaneously, plus the formulation is simple. I've yet to find a retinol serum that gives me the same results.
HOW TO USE RETINOIDS CORRECTLY
THE BEST RETINOL SERUMS
THE BEST DRUGSTORE
THE BEST HIGH POTENCY
THE BEST SPLURGE
THE BEST OVERALL
THE BEST KOREAN BRAND
THE BEST BUDGET NIGHT CREAM
THE BEST GENTLE FORMULA
THE BEST FOR MATURE SKIN
THE BEST ON A BUDGET
THE BEST NIGHT CREAM OVERALL
This is an amazon affiliate ad
When it comes to skincare, I always look for products that contain certain ingredients like ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid, Centella Asiatica, squalene, and retinoids in the formulation. As I get older, products that actively work to hydrate the skin, protect the skin barrier, and have anti-aging benefits get my utmost attention. Finding the right skincare products for your skin type can be hard as a lot of beauty brands are choosing to complicate formulas with unnecessary additives over simple formulations that work.
Forever on the hunt for beauty products that work, I came across a few new products that really get the job done. I’ve always had an affinity with K beauty products, so it was a no brainer when I decided to make a purchase on Yesstyle.com .
Here is a review on the skincare products from my latest k-beauty haul:
(Please be aware that I am not being paid to review these products)
PURITO CENTELLA GREEN LEVEL EYE CREAM
I absolutely love this eye cream! No kidding. It really delivers. When it comes to eye creams I always look for products that hydrate intensely, penetrate quickly, and work well under eye makeup. Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream has worked wonders and surprisingly lives up to it claims. It contains Centella Asiatica, peptides and panthenol to protect the skin barrier, soothe skin, hydrate and improve skin elasticity.
Upon the first application I immediately observed that the product penetrated quickly leaving the eye contour area moisturised and skin supple. After about 7-10 days of consistent use both day and night, I observed that the fine lines caused by dryness had completely disappeared.
Final verdict: Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream makes a great addition to any preventative skincare routine. It’s gentle enough to use on sensitive skin and excellent for dry skin types.
RNW DER. SPECIAL CERAMIDE CREAM
After reading rave reviews about this cream, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I immediately fell in love with the ingredient list and quickly made the purchase. In the past I'd experienced difficulties finding the right ceramide cream to match my skin concerns, and was wondering if this cream would give me the results I hoped for as I patiently waited for my package to arrive.
One of the first things that attracted me to this product was the lack of harmful chemicals that can irritate the skin. RNW Ceramide Cream is free of nasty additives such as parabens, artificial colorants and fragrance, making it a wonderful option for sensitive skin types. It also contains 5 types of ceramides, 3 different hyaluronic acid molecules, oligopeptide-1, and panthenol which help moisturise and protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
Final verdict: I can honestly attest that RNW Der. Special Ceramide Cream has lived up to my expectations. The cream is gentle, creamy, fast absorbing and doesn’t leave any residue. It compliments my nighttime routine, and works great with my hyaluronic acid serum and tretinoin cream. My skin feels softer and appears more hydrated. This cream gets a 10/10 in my book.
SKIN1004 MADAGASCAR CENTELLA AMPOULE
I first heard about this product through social media, and was seduced by the fact that it contained 100% pure Centella Asiatica extract. As you probably already know, I like simple formulations with ingredients that work. So it was a no-brainer for me, and I immediately went ahead and made the purchase. I had already tested a few brands and wasn’t happy with the formulation or the consistency of the products.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule has now become one of my skincare staples. I always keep it on hand. It is very soothing to the skin and hydrates well. Centella Asiatica is reported to moisturise, soothe the skin, and strengthen the skin barrier. It also has some anti-aging benefits, and works well on irritated skin.
I have noticed that my hyperpigmentation is slowly diminishing. Darker skin types (Fitzpatrick Scale 5 & 6) can experience something called PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). SKIN1004 Centella Ampoule actually reduces the occurrence of PIH by calming skin irritations.
If you have irritated or sensitive skin prone to irritation then you should definitely give it a try. I especially find Centella Ampoule helpful after a peeling mask or when I’ve used a product that is too harsh for my skin. The great thing about SKIN1004 Centella Ampoule is that it can fit into any skincare routine and pairs well with active ingredients.
The only con (that I can think of) is the consistency. Centella Ampoule is way too watery for my liking. It drips everywhere, making it difficult to apply.
Final verdict: I love how Centella Ampoule calms my skin and has helped get rid of my hyperpigmention. Ultimately the pros outweigh the cons with this product, so it's definitely a keeper.
ONE THING NIACINAMIDE 10%
This is probably one of the most versatile k-beauty skincare products I’ve tried thus this far. One Thing Niacinamide 10% is toner that can be used as a serum or mixed into a cream. Gently formulated with 10% niacinamide, it was designed to give the skin a powerful dose of vitamin B3.
I’m a huge fan of niacinamide, and was instantly I attracted to this results-driven formula. Hyperpigmentation is a skin concern of mine, so I wanted a product that didn’t cause irritation. One Thing’s Niacinamide 10% works to brighten skin, even out skin tone, improve skin texture, and slow done oil production.
I haven’t used this product as a toner yet. But instead opted to mix it into my moisturizer and use it as a serum. After the first few applications I did notice a change in my skin’s texture, and experienced some brightening (but not enough given the short time frame). Given the initial results, I expect to see more improvements over time.
Final verdict: This toner has improved my skin texture dramatically within a short period of time. I think it's an excellent addition to any anti-aging skincare routine, and I will repurchase this product 100%. One Thing Niacinamide 10% is an excellent choice for those prone to breakouts, experiencing hyperpigmention, and mature skin types.