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Dr. Itay Wiser logo: Itay Wiser Plastic Surgeon. MD. PHD.

Retinoic Acid Skin Care Products:
Uses and Common Myths

Most people have heard about how incredible retinoids are for the skin. Study after study has shown the ability of retinoids to stimulate collagen, encourage cellular turnover, soften wrinkles, treat acne, and provide a more youthful glow to the skin.


Let's begin taking a look at retinoids by first clearing up some common myths about these amazing products.


Portrait of a Smiling Woman with Curly Hair and uncovered soulders

Myth #1: All retinoids are created equal.


All retinoids are not the same. They are part of a large family of compounds that are derived from vitamin A. Retinoids are available in several forms like topical and oral medications. Over-the-counter retinoids are the form most frequently included in skincare products.


Retinol is a type of retinoid known for causing fewer side effects than other forms. One drawback is that it may take several months to achieve noticeable results.


Retinoic acid - other names include Retin-A and tretinoin - provides significantly faster results than retinol, which requires additional chemical conversion to its active form within the skin.


Myth #2: Retinoids will thin my skin.


This myth is probably related to the fact that retinoids use cause temporary skin peeling. The stimulation of skin cells turnover causes the skin peeling associated with retinoid use. Old, damaged skin cells slough off to make room for new ones. On the contrary to the myth, retinoids stimulate the production of collagen to thicken skin.


Myth #3: Retinoids will increase my skin's sensitivity to the sun.


Many patients are concerned that the use of retinoids will increase their skin's susceptibility to sun damage. Retinoids began breaking down in the presence of sunlight (is why they are commonly dispensed in opaque containers). Still, although studied extensively, no evidence of increased sun damage was associated with retinoid use.

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