All About Retinoid & Retinol

Quick brief story time of my experience with Retinoid

My first real experience with Retinoid was last September when I went to the dermatologist, I was prescribed Tretinoin (Retinoid). I've used it before but would give up after 2 weeks of not seeing improvement. I believe the one I was using was 1%. My dermatologist directed me to use this once every other night for two weeks, then every night. This made my acne SOOO BAD. I went from having a mix of papules and comedones acne (which looks like little bumps/ whiteheads but is inflamed and caused by clogged pores) to having cystic acne. The cystic acne I had hurt so much that there were times my face was in pain without me touching it. I used the Tretinoin for two months since my dermatologist told me that it would get worse before it got better.


Retinoid is composed of chemicals that are viameters of vitamin A and promote faster skin cell turn over (skin cell regrowth). Retinoid helps unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines/ wrinkles, brighten the skin and helps with certain types of acne. According to WebMD Retinoid, “helps reduce the acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores”. Retinoid is also known as; Tretinoin, Retin-A, Tazarotene, and Adapalene. You need a prescription from the dermatologist to get retinoid unless you get the over the counter topical called Differin which is 0.1% Adapalene. Retinol is a weaker version of retinoid and is sold over the counter and even included in a lot of beauty products.

While I was reaching (something I should’ve researched a long time ago), I found out that if you want to use retinoid on your skin, you should first use a retinol. Since retinol is a weaker version of retinoid, it will prepare your skin for the retinoid. Although using retinol will still have the same effects long term it will take about twice the amount of time it would have with retinoid to show the improvement. Retinoid works by purging your skin to get out all the nasty stuff that is in there by causing the pimples to surface before helping clear your skin. This is stage is supposed to last at least a month before the skin starts to clear up. While using retinoid/retinol, you have to make sure your skin, be careful what other products you're using the retinoids with. 

During my research, I found that you should not use too much of either retinoid or retinol. If you have acne and want to try using a retinoid to see if it improves your skin, you must start off using retinoid slowly. Use a tiny bit! A pea size or smaller to cover your face with a thin layer. Start off with using it once a week for 2 weeks then gradually go up to twice per week for 2 weeks and then go up to using it three times a week. This will slowly introduce itself to your skin and you will not get a bad purge reaction while using the product. Do not forget to moisturize after 30 minutes to let the product absorb into the skin. Use a light moisturizer such as Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion. I started following this routine and I have seen improvement in my skin at night! (Do not forget to use SPF in the day time.)

If you go to a dermatologist make sure to ask them questions! Do not just blindly start using products just because the dermatologist advised. Make sure that the acne you have will be improved with the type of retinoid you get. Or any topicals for that matter. If you feel that it is too strong and is making you break out, more than you think you should get a retinoid that is less potent. The goal is not to damage your skin, but to have it clear and smooth. 

I hope this post helps anyone looking to use retinoid or retinol. Also for those of you who had a bad experience using it like I did. Below are some links of some articles I read on reinoid and retinol that helped me a lot. 


xoxo- Liza