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Why Should You Care About Retinoids?

Why Should You Care About Retinoids?

3 minute read

Retinoids are a class of molecules that are vitamers (perform the same function) of vitamin A. They have found use in medicine where they regulate the growth of the lining of almost every internal or external (skin) tissue in the body. They also have a role in vision, growth of bone tissue, immune function, and activation of tumor suppressor genes.[1] What are the most common types of retinoids?

A Few Different Kinds

There are first, second, and third-generation retinoids - but without getting too entangled in the differences, here are the most recognized retinoids.

Retinyl palmitate

Least potent over-the-counter (OTC) retinoid. For sensitive or excessively dry skin.

Retinaldehyde (Retinal)

This is an OTC retinoid that’s slightly more potent than retinyl palmitate.

Retinol (Vitamin A, 1st, gen.)

This is the strongest ingredient found in OTC retinoid products.

Tretinoin (Retin-A, 1st gen.)

Strong retinoid. In most prescriptions and only prescribed.

Tazarotene (3rd Gen)

Strongest Retinoid. Prescription-only.

How Do Retinoids Interact With Skin? 

Let’s imagine retinol is applied to the skin (from one of the retinoids above). As soon as it hits the skin, retinol gets converted into retinal (retinaldehyde) [cool fact: Some microorganisms use retinal to convert light into metabolic energy]. Then it oxidized further to its potent component, retinoic acid (highly fat-soluble, which means it easily diffuses across cell membranes easily) or more commonly known as the prescription drug, Tretinoin.

At this stage, retinoic acid interacts with certain proteins inside cells (through receptors) of the skin to promote keratinocytes (skin cell) growth, strengthen the protective function of the epidermis, lower water loss, protect collagen and other protein against degradation.

Flipside: “Too much of a good thing is always bad” should be everyone’s go-to when using retinoids. Even if your skin is tolerant to using retinol every night, you want to use the exact amount recommended on the package when applying. Also, everyone's skin is different so If you see any irritation, or redness that continues through 2 or 3 days, stop using the product immediately until the redness subsides and begin using half or even a third of the dose. 

At GOA Skincare we’ve found retinoids, mainly retinol, to function as one of our top ingredients in developing a solid age-regulating routine. By fusing it with other important compounds to form, Dark Phyto Matter, we can now build stronger, more resilient skin. Find out more about how we use retinol in these products below. 


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