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Retinol vs. Tretinoin

by Kristin Clark 09 May 2019 6 Comments
Retinol vs. Tretinoin


Pictured: Obagi Retinol 1.0


If you're deep into your skincare journey, you might have heard of Retinol by now and you might have even seen it pit against Tretinoin, two ingredients used in popular skincare products. Let's clear up what Retinol and Tretinoin really are, how they work, and why Obagi Retinol cream should be used for anti-aging cosmetic treatment.


What is Retinol?


Retinol is a kind of retinoid, a naturally-occurring derivative of vitamin A that helps smoothen out the skin. More of its benefits include speeding up skin cell turnover (and boosting new healthy skin cell growth), evening out pigmentation, and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, all without clogging up your pores.


Many popular skincare products include retinol as an active ingredient. Obagi Retinol cream contains different concentration levels (.5% and 1.0% of retinol) to achieve cleaner, younger-looking skin. Retinol is so popular not only for the amazing results it produces, but also because it is available in over-the-counter cosmetic products - tretinoin, meanwhile, is not.



But hang on, what exactly is Tretinoin?


Are Retinol and Tretinoin the Same? Which is Better?


Retinol and Tretinoin are similar ingredients with some key differences between them. Tretinoin, like Retinol, is a retinoid, but, unlike Retinol, Tretinoin is a concentration of pure retinoic acid. Retinol is converted into retinoic acid only after it's stored its applied and gradually absorbed by your skin. This makes it so that Tretinoin is extremely effective - especially when combatting acne - at the same things Retinol is good at in a more immediate way. Yet, Tretinoin can also lead to reddening, itching and peeling for sensitive skin types, at least initially.



Retinol users, meanwhile, might take a bit longer to see results but they won't have to deal with the pesty side-effects; in other words, they'll skip out on the bad and reap all the good.


This is why tretinoin is is not used in over-the-top cosmetic products; it is, instead, only available through prescription, through such drugs like Retin-A, among others. Consult with your dermatologist if products with tretinoin are right for you and your skin type.


Otherwise, products with Retinol as an active ingredient provide the least irritant and most accessible anti-aging solution out there.


How Should I Use Obagi Retinol Cream?


So you're ready to jump on board with the hype around Retinol - but you're still wondering what you need to use the product itself. We get questions like this a lot: "Should I use Obagi Retinol in the morning or at night?" or "What's the difference between the two retinol cream products with 0.5% and 1.0% concentration?" 


Surefire guidance is reserved for your dermatologist, but general pointers include using the concentration amount that is right for your skin - while both 0.5% and 1.0% formulations  ensure minimal irritation, it is nevertheless suggested that you go with the lower concentration should you have a sensitive skin type.


We recommend using Obagi Retinol Cream in the nighttime, as exposure to sunlight weakens the product's effects. Apply in an even spread across your face until fully absorbed. Enjoy the powerful benefits of retinol, with the fewest side-effects!


Please contact Dermavenue  at 800.805.3752 or chat live! We have agents available 9-5pm Pacific Time to answer any questions.


Save 30% on your Obagi Retinol Purchase Today


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28 Jan 2022 Bonn

I don’t have any acne or skin issue but I would like to use a product that helps with aging. I do have sensitive skin so I usually put a certain moisturizer on it and that’s about it – no makeup except for around my eyes. I’m wondering if this product would just be helpful for anti-aging vs acne? Also, is there a sample size offered?

10 Dec 2020 Heather

Retin-a is a brand name that has Tretinoin in it, the ingredient. I hope this helps answer your questions Joe Castro. I believe Stieva-A is also a brand name. I would recommend the Obagi Tret if you can get it from your doctor but the Obagi360 is a fantastic Retinol! I love it

10 Dec 2020 Joe Castro

I bought tretenoin Stieva-A with 0.025%. Does is have the same application? And also whatvis Stieva-A is it different from Retin-A? Please answer me?

10 Dec 2020 Rachel

Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts.❤️ Tretinoin (Retin-A) is much more powerful than any retinol. Then one of my friend, was a satisfied user of Retin-A, suggested me to use Retin.A.0.05%. So happy I found “QACNE365” ❤️ in Google and got Retin-A with a promo code. Just found they have Accutane, that’s great. First 2 weeks my acne breakout little more than the usual. but after that, acne seemed to be decreased. Now I am cured and my skin is glowing. And I am quite satisfied with this 😊.

10 Dec 2020 Ray

I have been using Tretinoin for 2 months and have not experienced any drying or irritation, and have seen little improvement.
What is generally recommended- apply on dry or damp skin for best effectiveness? Any other comments regarding the turbocharging of this product?

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