is-retinol-or-retinoid-the-best-anti-ageing-ingredient-dermatocare-research

Which is the best retinol or retinoid anti-ageing cream: Dermatocare research

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 29/05/17

“Doctor, Which is the best retinol or retinoid anti-ageing cream? What does retinol do for your skin? "

 

These are the questions, that I often encounter in my dermatology practice. Firstly, the term retinoid and retinol are not same. Retinoids are the group of compounds that have a chemical structure similar to Vitamin A. There are 3 types of potent anti-ageing ingredient retinoid that are commonly used, namely retinoic acid, retinol and retinaldehyde. Unfortunately, my research revealed that the most popular retinoid based cream do NOT contain the most potent anti-ageing retinoid. 

Read further to know which is the best retinoid based anti-ageing cream available in India, US, UK and Canada that contains the most potent form of retinoid!


Which is best anti-ageing retinoid?

As already discussed, 3 types of retinoid are commonly used for anti-ageing, namely retinoic acid, retinol and retinaldehyde. I researched the scientific data available in PubMed to find which retinoid is best out of these three potent anti-ageing ingredients. You can find details of research at the end of this article, the key learning is given below:

  • Retinoic acid or tretinoin is best anti-ageing retinoid, but it is available on prescription only because it is potent enough to cause reactions on your skin. Therefore, it should be used under the supervision of dermatologist only.
  • Retinol and its derivatives like retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate, and retinyl palmitate is the most common constituent of anti-ageing cream including the most famous and popular brands. This is because it is least likely to cause a skin reaction. However, it is unstable and 20 times less potent that retinoic acid. Therefore, you might be spending a fortune on retinol without reaping the benefit until unless, a highly efficient technology is used to retain the potency of retinol. Alternatively, you can use retinaldehyde based anti-ageing creams.
  • Retinaldehyde is not popular but is more potent than retinol, and less potent than tretinoin. Retinaldehyde is a precursor of retinoic acid or tretinoin, that gets converted to retinoic acid inside your skin cells. Thus, it is less likely to cause skin reactions.

KEY TAKEAWAY: As per my research on retinoids (summarised at the end of this article), I would rate retinaldehyde as the best anti-ageing ingredient available over-the-counter.

 

How to use retinoid based creams?

Wrong skin care product or even, right skincare product used in a wrong way can harm your skin. Retinoid is one such ingredient that should be used with caution as given below:

  • Retinoid should be used by oily to combination skin types that in NOT prone to sensitivity breakouts. It should not be used for dry or sensitive skin.

  •  Always use retinoids at night and ensure that you apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the bright sun because retinoids increase the tendency of your skin to react with the sun.

  • Apply only a small amount of retinoid base cream on your T-zone, followed by cheeks. End by applying a small amount on the delicate skin below of your eye.

  • Use retinoid cream for at least 3 months (maximum 6 months) to reap the anti-ageing benefits. You can alternate retinoids with other anti-ageing products like one of these Vitamin C serum.

  • Keep your expectations realistic. Do not expect a totally new look as shown in the advertisement, retinoid help in improving skin texture, fine lines and age spots. For further details, read this article, what to expect from anti-ageing creams?

  • Discontinue use if your skin develops redness, irritation or a rash. In such cases, wait until reaction subsides and restart slowly as follows:

    • Once a week for 2 weeks.

    • Twice a week for 2 weeks.

    • Alternate night for 2 weeks.

    • Finally, every night.

    • If you get the reaction again, discontinue and consult a dermatologist.

 

Which is the best retinoid cream?

I have analysed the ingredient list of best-selling retinoid based anti-ageing creams available in India, US, UK and Canada for the following:

  • Type of retinoid used; retinol or retinaldehyde.

  • The presence of other potent anti-ageing or anti-oxidant ingredients.

  • The presence of irritating, comedogenic, and harmful ingredients.

  • Packing: It should be air tight and dark coloured because most retinoids/anti-oxidants gets oxidised on exposure to light or air. Therefore, I have NOT analysed retinoid based anti-wrinkle cream with open jar packing because they are unlikely to help.

  • Reputation: Retinol is unstable in nature, however, few brands claim that they have patented technology to preserve the potency of retinol.

I have summarised my finding below under following sub-headings:

After all, your skin deserves the best!

Best Retinoid/retinol cream in India

The Indian market has seen a recent surge in cosmeceutical skin care products launched by the top pharma companies like Ranbaxy, Cipla, Dr Reddy’s etc. Therefore, I have also included these brands (used by a dermatologist), besides the top selling brands of retinoid-based anti-aging cream below:

 

Avene YstheAl Anti-Aging Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Pros:

  • Has Retinaldehyde, that is more potent than retinol.
  • It also has pre-tocopheryl a potent anti-oxidant.
  • Skin tightening with help of Glycylglycine oleamide (GGO
  • It has thermal spring water that soothes skin.
  • Free from parabens and other controversial ingredients
  • Nice pump packing.
  • Manufactured by Avene laboratories, reputed skin care brand.

Cons:

  • The concentration of retinaldehyde is not mentioned.
  • Avene claims that this cream can be used for dry and sensitive skin, however, we do not agree. Peptide-based anti-ageing products are best for dry skin, while retinoids are best for combination to oily skin.

Our opinion: This is the only brand with retinaldehyde form of retinoid. It has a powerful combination of Retinaldehyde for anti-aging, Glycylglycine oleamide for skin tightening and pre-tocopheryl for skin repair. Go for it. However, it is expensive, and only avilaible online on Amazon.in

 

Dr. Reddy's ReVibra A15 Pure Retinol Cream, 28 Vegicaps

Pros:

  • Has an innovative packing with capsule that contains retinol 0.15 % in a stable form by preventing contact with air or sunlight
  • The pure form of retinol.
  • Free form colours, preservatives, fragrances
  • Manufactured in Italy and marketed in India by Dr Reddys

Cons:

  • Retinol in the capsule form is better, however, is less potent then retinaldehyde.
  • Doesn’t have any other anti-ageing or anti-oxidant.

Our opinion: It's a good choice because the innovative packing ensures the potency of retinol that comes in more pure form than other brands. This anti-ageing product is often recommended by dermatologist in India and you can also buy it on Amazon.in.

 

Olay Professional ProX Deep Wrinkle Treatment

Pros:

  • Has retinol in the form of Retinyl Propionate 0.2 %, that is more stable form than retinol
  • Has another potent anti-ageing ingredient called Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and dipeptide
  • Also, has Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E
  • Pump packing
  • It has a published a study done for 24 weeks to supports its potency.
  • Olay is reputed brand known for anti-ageing products.

Cons:

  • Has controversial ingredients, DMDM Hydantoin.
  • Retinyl palmitate is not as active as retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: It has 2 major types of anti-aging ingredients, namely retinoid and peptides along with Vitamin E and B5. Wondering what is the cost of this anti-ageing cream? Check on Amazon.in.

 

Yugard Anti-ageing cream:

Pros:

  • Has 0.15 % concentration of retinol
  • Also, has Vitamin C in form of potent ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate.
  • Free from parabens and other controversial ingredients
  • Was brought in Indian market by Ranbaxy (now SunPharma).

Cons:

  • Has retinol, which less potent as retinaldehyde in anti-aging action.
  • Tube packing.

Our opinion: It is trusted brand, however, packing could be better. Check how much bucks you need to spend, by clicking on Amazon.in

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, 41ml

Pros:

  • Has retinol, though percentage not mentioned.
  • Also has Green tea, Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E
  • Airtight jar packing.
  • Comes with the trust of  Johnson & Johnson.

Cons:

  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde
  • Concentration of retinol not mentioned
  • Has controversial ingredients like parabens, BHT.

Our opinion: It is trusted brand, however, does not mention the concentration of retinol and has some controversial ingredients. It is available in supermarkets and cosmetic counters; you might like to check its prize on Amazon.in.

 

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, 29ml

Pros:

  • Has retinol SA that is a combination of retinol and retinyl palmitate. According to product website “Accelerated Retinol SA combines the highest concentration of Neutrogena's Retinol SA with glucose complex, an exclusive booster that delivers pure stabilised retinol into the skin's surface quickly and effectively, leaving skin feeling smoother and younger-looking.”
  • It also has ascorbic acid and Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Pump packing
  • Comes with the trust of  Johnson & Johnson
Cons:
  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde
  • Concentration of retinol not mentioned
  • Has controversial ingredients like parabens, BHT

Our opinion: It is trusted brand, however, does not mention the concentration of retinol and has some controversial ingredients. You can buy it in the cosmetic counters or on Amazon.in.

 

Radha Beauty Retinol Moisturizer Cream

Pros:

  • Has retinol 2 %, however, this might be overclaimed.
  • Also has Organic Aloe, Green Tea, Jojoba oil, Shea Butter
  • No fillers, harmful fragrances, dyes or parabens.
  • Pump packing

Cons:

  • Claim to have 2% active retinol, however, most studies done with a concentration of retinol ranging from 0.1% to 1 %. If it is true, then 2 % active retinol might cause dryness and sensitivity.
  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: We would like to re-confirm the percentage of retinol present in this cream. Check the reviews on ths cream by clicking on Amazon.in.

 

Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, 1-Ounce

Pros:

  • Has retinol, concentration not mentioned
  • One of the trusted brands for retinol based wrinkle creams. The Roc website says” If exposed to light or air, retinol can degrade and lose its effectiveness. This is why our skin care scientists developed innovative processing guidelines that limit product exposure to light and oxygen, preserving the integrity and strength of RoC® Retinol.”
  • Has Glycoloic acid and Vitamin C that too in most potent form of Ascorbic acid,
  • Has perfect combination of good Anti-aging(retinol), exfoliating(Glycolic acid) and antioxidant(Vitamin C).
  • Unlike most tube packing the nozzle is thin to minimise exposure to air or sunlight. The company claims that it is a special packing that is made to preserve the unstable retinol.

Cons:

  • Has parabens.
  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: Though, this brand does not mention the concentration of retinol used. It has a perfect combination of good Anti-aging(retinol), exfoliating(Glycolic acid) and antioxidant(Vitamin C). Secondly, Roc specialises in manufacturing retinol based products and is one of the most popular brands in US. It is more expensive in India as compared to the US, and is only available on Amazon.in

 

 

Best Retinoid In US, UK and Canada

Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, 1-Ounce

Pros:

  • Has retinol. It is one of the trusted brands for retinol based wrinkle creams. The Roc website says” If exposed to light or air, retinol can degrade and lose its effectiveness. This is why our skincare scientists developed innovative processing guidelines that limit product exposure to light and oxygen, preserving the integrity and strength of RoC® Retinol.”
  • Has Glycolic acid and Vitamin C that to in most potent form of Ascorbic acid,
  • Has perfect combination of good anti-aging (retinol), exfoliating (Glycolic acid) and anti-oxidant (Vitamin C).
  • Unlike most tube packing the nozzle is thin to minimie exposure to air or sunlight. The company claims that this special packing is made to preserve the unstable retinol.
  • Affordable.

Cons:

  • Has parabens.
  • Retinol concentration not mentioned.
  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: It has a perfect combination of good anti-aging(retinol), exfoliating(Glycolic acid) and anti-oxidant(Vitamin C) ingredients. Roc is one the trusted brands of retinol in US and you won't get a better retinol at this price. However, if money is not a constraint, then read further! You can buy it both offline and online on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk.

 

Avene YstheAl Anti-Aging Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Pros:

  • Has Retinaldehyde, that is more potent than retinol.
  • It also has pre-tocopheryl a potent anti-oxidant.
  • It has thermal spring water that soothes skin.
  • Has Glycylglycine oleamide (GGO) that protects the connective tissue of the skin from glycation and from elastosis of fibrilline-1. Thus, GGO can help in maintaining the elastic function of the skin. (source).
  • Free from parabens and other controversial ingredients.
  • Nice pump packing.
  • Manufactured by Avene laboratories, reputed skin care brand.

Cons:

  • The concentration of retinaldehyde is not mentioned.
  • Avene claims that this cream can be used for the dry and sensitive skin, however, we do not agree. Peptide-based anti-ageing products are best for dry skin, while retinoids are best for combination to oily skin.

Our opinion: This is the only brand with retinaldehyde form of retinoid. It has a powerful combination of Retinaldehyde for anti-aging, Glycylglycine oleamide for skin tightening and pre-tocopheryl for skin repair. Go for it. Check out the reviews of users as well, by clicking on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk.

 

Olay Professional ProX Deep Wrinkle Treatment

Pros:

  • Has retinol in the form of Retinyl Propionate 0.2 % as an anti-ageing ingredient. It is more stable form than retinol.
  • Has another potent anti-ageing ingredient called Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and dipeptide
  • Also, has Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E
  • Pump packing
  • It has a published a study done for 24 weeks to supports its potency.
  • Olay is reputed brand known for anti-ageing products.

Cons:

  • Has controversial ingredients, DMDM Hydantoin.
  • Retinyl palmitate is not as active as retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: It has 2 major types of anti-aging ingredients, namely retinoid and peptides along with Vitamin E and B5, that makes it a good choice at the cost that is not too high. You might like to check the prize of this anti-ageing product by clicking on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk.

 

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer

Pros:

  • Has retinol SA that is a combination of retinol and retinyl palmitate. According to product website “Accelerated Retinol SA combines the highest concentration of Neutrogena's Retinol SA with glucose complex, an exclusive booster that delivers pure stabilized retinol into the skin's surface quickly and effectively, leaving skin feeling smoother and younger-looking.”

  • It also has ascorbic acid and sodium hyaluronate.

  • Pump packing

  • Comes with trust of  Johnson & Johnson

Cons:

  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde

  • Concentration of retinol not mentioned

  • Has controversial ingredients like parabens, BHT

Our opinion: It is trusted brand, however, do not mention the concentration of retinol and has some controversial ingredients. For more details on pricing, click Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

 

Retinol Surge Moisturizer- Retinol Cream 2.5%

Pros:

  • Claim to have 2.5% active retinol, which is controversial with most studies doe with concentration of retinol ranging from 0.1% to 1 %

  • Also has Organic Aloe, Green Tea, Jojoba oil, Shea Butter

  • No fillers, harmful fragrances, dyes or parabens.

  • Pump packing

Cons:

  • Active 2.5% retinol might be overclaimed. If true, 2.5 % active retinol might cause dryness and sensitivity.

  • Retinol is less potent than retinaldehyde.

Our opinion: Though this is very popular on Amazon, we think 2.5% retinol might be overclaimed. This anti-ageing cream does have many good reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk.

Kindly note: Uptown, Pure majestic, Body merry and Radha beauty have somewhat similar composition. Interestingly, there packing is also similar.

 

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 and 1

Pros:

  • Comes in 2 concentration 0.5% and 1%.
  • Manufactures says, “Retinol 1.0 is ideal for problematic and sun-damaged skin that has been pre-conditioned with the use of Retinol 0.5.” Thus, you can begin by 0.5 % and shift to 1 % gradually, by starting once in a week to alternate night and then daily.
  • Skinceutical is reputed brand and claims that Unlike products that utilize traditional encapsulation technology, Retinol 1.0 employs an innovative delivery system that captures and stabilizes the active ingredients while protecting the product’s potency. Retinol 1.0 works with the skins’ natural lipid structure to promote optimal absorption.
  • Also, has chamomile to soothe the skin

Cons:

  • Price is high
  • Has controversial ingredient: Methylisothiazolinone.

Our opinion: The best thing about this brand is concentration, it is clearly mentioned and we trust what they claim. However, it costs a fortune. Check out for yourself on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk.

 

I hope you would be able to choose your anti-wrinkle cream with the acumen of dermatologist now. Read further the details of my research on retinoids!
 

What are retinoids?

Retinoids are the group of compounds that have a chemical structure similar to Vitamin A. According to Wikipedia, there are three generations of retinoids:

  • The first generation include retinol, retinal, tretinoin (retinoic acid), isotretinoin, and alitretinoin
  • The second generation include etretinate and its metabolite acitretin
  • The third generation include adapalene, bexarotene, and tazarotene

All of the above retinoids are used in various skin disorders, for example:

  • Adapalene and Isotretinoin for acne.
  • Acitretin and tazarotene for psoriasis.
  • Tretinoin and Retinol for skin ageing.

I hope you have understood the basic of Retinoids. I would like to highlight that RETINOIDS SHOULD BE AVOIDED DURING PREGNANCY and LACTATION, even for application on skin, because they can cause birth defects. 

 

What does retinol do for your skin?

Retnoids including retinol work by attaching to the receptors present in the nucleus of your skin cells and modulate the growth and differentiation of these cells. Though the mechanism is too complex to understand, in simple language, retinoids make skin cells in the outer layer of your skin to grow more efficiently, and they also increase the collagen and elastin fibre in the deeper layer of skin. Studies show that there is some degree of reversal of skin ageing both clinically and at the microscopic level after using retinoids for 3 to 12 months.

 

Is retinol really a potent anti-ageing ingredient?

Among the retinoids, tretinoin rather than retinol is the most potent anti-ageing retinoid. It has been proven to be effective in reversing signs of skin ageing especially photo ageing in many trials. However, it is available by prescription only. Secondly, it can cause skin reaction in the form of redness, irritation, burning, rash etc; dermatologically termed as the retinoid reaction. Therefore, tretinoin should be used under the supervision of dermatologist only.

On the other hand, retinol is the most popular over-the-counter anti-ageing ingredient. It has following advantages:

  • Retinol has better tolerability than tretinoin, which means that it is less likely to cause skin reactions.
  • Retinol is available without the prescription.

However, it has following disadvantages:

  • Retinol is around 20 times less potent than tretinoin in reversing the ageing of your skin.
  • Retinol is extremely unstable and is easily degraded on exposure to air and sunlight. Therefore, retinol derivatives like retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate, and retinyl palmitate are used instead of retinol to improve the chemical stability of retinol. But they are also not as potent as tretinoin.

So, instead of spending a fortune on retinol based anti-ageing cream, you can either consult your dermatologist for the tretinoin-based anti-ageing regime or buy retinaldehyde based anti-wrinkle creams. To know why retinaldehyde is the best option, read further.

 

Which is the best anti-ageing retinoid?

Besides tretinoin and retinol, retinaldehyde is another retinoid that has been used for anti-ageing. Retinaldehyde is a precursor that gets converted to tretinoin in the skin cells. Studies support that Retinaldehyde at the concentration of 0.05% for 3-4 months increases the thickness, collagen production and elasticity of your skin.

I have compared the 3 common retinoids used for anti-ageing in the table given below:

Tretinoin

Retinaldehyde

Retinol

Tretinoin is available only on prescription.

Retinaldehyde is available without a prescription.

Retinol and its derivatives are available without a prescription.

Tretinoin is most potent anti-ageing retinoid.

Retinaldehyde is less potent than tretinoin but more potent than retinol.

Retinol is least potent.

Tretinoin does not get spoiled easily on storage.

Retinaldehyde does not get spoiled easily on storage.

Retinol is unstable and gets spoiled on exposure to air or sunlight.

Tretinoin is most likely to cause retinoid reactions

Retinoid reaction is less with Retinaldehyde.

Retinoid reaction is less with retinol.

 

All that glitters is NOT gold, take advantage of our research to know which skin care products are really the best:


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