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The term retinoids is often the cause of a lot of confusion on social media and in skin clinics.
After sunscreen and rigorous sun avoidance, everyone’s skincare should ideally, include a retinoid.
Retinoids are clinically proven to treat and improve acne, fine lines and wrinkles, even out pigmentation (eg pigmentation/ sunspots) and a host of other skin concerns over time (3-12 months) in large part due to their ability to stimulate collagen and elastin, increase the rate at which skin cells renew themselves and decrease inflammation (eg rosacea and psoriasis)
The most powerful retinoids are available by prescription only, with one exception: Differin (adapalene). Differin is an amazingly potent but well-tolerated acne treatment and the only prescription-strength retinoid to be sold over the counter.
People often use the terms retinols and retinoids interchangeably but the two terms are not the same. They are related, but different.
So what is a retinoid?
A retinoid refers to all derivatives of Vitamin A converted into the active ingredient retinoic acid for use in skincare. Retinoid is also the term used interchangeably to refer to both over-the-counter (OTC) retinols as well as prescription retinoids. They’re available in pharmacies, beauty stores and salons as well as supermarkets and may be as cheap as $10 or cost hundreds depending on formulation and other base ingredients used.
Most retinoids are used topically ie applied to the skin, but some are taken orally eg isotretinoin aka Roaccutane for severe cystic acne, among other things.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a type of retinoid available OTC and while still effective, it differs from prescription retinoids such that it needs more steps for retinols to be converted to retinoic acid than for retinoids.
More steps for conversion to retinoic acid = weaker retinoid. As such, OTC retinols work more gradually and can be less irritating especially for those with sensitive skin.
Can everyone use retinoids?
I believe that with adequate preparation and sensible onboarding, almost everyone can tolerate a retinol/ retinoid and reap the benefits, but the secret is in the onboarding.
Some of my top tips when starting out:
If you're not sure which one is best for you or want a tailored skin regimen specifically for you, make an appointment and we’d be happy to talk you through it all.
These drugs are not suitable if you're pregnant or breastfeeding; avoid using retinoids altogether once pregnant until after you’ve given birth.
Key take-home tips:
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Skin Essentials will reopen the week beginning 11th October 2021.
Per NSW government regulations, only double vaccinated patients will be served when we reopen and we will be checking vaccination certificates for all patients upon booking. This requirement may change as of December 1st, and we will advise you accordingly.
Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text us (0413174654) your vaccination certificate as soon after booking as you can. We will not be able to see anyone for treatments or confirm appointments without this.
In the interest of full disclosure, transparency and patient safety, all patient facing staff will be fully vaccinated by the time of reopening. Please read our reopening FAQ for more information.