Retinoid Vs Retinol: Which Of The Two Do You Actually Need?

retinoid vs retinol

Vitamin A is a source of retinol and retinoids, both of which are beneficial for skin. But retinol and retinoids are two different ingredients in skin care. This differentiation is because some skin types can benefit more from one of these two active ingredients and vice versa. So what exactly is a retinoid and how is it different from retinol? Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between retinol and retinoid.

What Is A Retinoid?

Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A just like retinol. But retinoids are more potent. Retinoids are prescribed by dermatologists to treat various skin concerns and only weaker forms of retinoids are available over the counter without the need of a prescription. Retinoids that are super potent which are recommended by doctors can treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, pigmentation, acne and more. Lesser powerful retinoids can also be used to treat clogged pores, wrinkles, inflammation and so on.

What Is Retinol?


Retinol is derived from vitamin A. Retinol is a form of retinoid that is gentle on the skin and less potent than retinoids. Retinol is commonly used in skincare products like face serums and cleansers as they are safe to be used without needing a doctor's prescription. Retinol is a beginner-friendly form of retinoid which can be used to reverse signs of ageing, heal acne scars, and improve overall skin texture and tone.

Difference between Retinoid Vs Retinol




Prescribed by dermatologists and doctors to treat skin conditions

Is available over the counter and popularly used in commercial skincare product formulations

Has a high concentration of retinoic acid

Has a low concentration of retinoic acid

Derived from vitamin A

Derived from vitamin A

It is 20 times more potent than retinol

Has lower potency

It is FDA approved

It is not FDA approved

Retinoids can cause skin irritation

Retinol is less likely to cause skin irritation because it is less potent than retinoids

Retinoids stimulate collagen production and reverse signs of ageing while fading dark spots and healing dry patches of skin. It can also be used to treat acne, psoriasis, and pigmentation.

Retinol also stimulates collagen production and gently exfoliates the skin to help reduce signs of ageing and to clear up acne.

Which To Choose: Retinoid Vs Retinol


Retinoid and retinol aren’t the exact same thing but they aren’t entirely different too. Since retinol is easily available and safe to use even by a beginner, it is suitable to be used by all skin types to get effective anti ageing results with improvement in overall skin texture and skin tone. Anyone over the age of 25 years can use retinol at night for healthy skin. 


Retinoids on the other hand are more potent and can be used to treat more troublesome skin conditions. Since retinoids should be prescribed by doctors because they are too potent to be available over the counter, consult a dermatologist for skin concerns like adult acne or pigmentation and ageing and they will most likely prescribe a retinoid product suited for your skin type and needs.

MyGlamm Recommends Product

MyGlamm 1% Retinol Age-Defying Serum

This is an amazing retinol face serum that has no side effects, only skincare benefits. Enriched with soothing aloe vera and invigorating caffeine, this 1% retinol face serum gets absorbed by the skin super quickly and penetrates deep within the skin to treat skin concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, clogged pores, pimples, blackheads, pigmentation and more. It’s a miracle skincare product that is a must-have in a night skincare routine.

The difference between retinol and retinoid is distinctive yet both of these vitamin A derivatives are effective in treating most of your skin problems. Choose retinol for simple and effective treatment of common skin concerns or consult a dermat for retinoids to treat bigger skin concerns.


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