How do Retinoids Work for Acne?

How do Retinoids Work for Acne

When it comes to skincare, finding effective ingredients that deliver noticeable results can be a game-changer. One such ingredient that has gained immense popularity in recent years is retinoids. Retinoids, including retinol, have become renowned for their ability to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. In this blog post, we will explore what retinoids are, the difference between retinol and retinoids, how to use retinol, and the numerous benefits these powerful compounds offer for your skin.

What is Retinoid?

Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. They are known for their exceptional ability to address various skin concerns and promote overall skin health. Retinoids work by influencing the cellular turnover and renewal process of the skin, enhancing collagen production, and regulating sebum production.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a type of retinoid and one of the most widely used forms in skincare products. It is a milder derivative of Vitamin A, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive skin. Retinol undergoes a conversion process within the skin, where it is converted into its active form, retinoic acid. This conversion allows retinol to deliver its remarkable benefits to the skin.

What does Retinol Do for Your Skin?

Stimulates Collagen Production: 

Retinol promotes collagen synthesis, leading to improved skin elasticity and firmness. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in a smoother complexion.

Enhances Cell Turnover: 

Retinol accelerates the natural exfoliation process of the skin, helping to shed dead skin cells and reveal fresh, healthy skin underneath. This leads to a more even skin tone, improved texture, and reduced discolouration.

Combats Acne and Blemishes: 

Retinol regulates sebum production, preventing clogged pores and reducing the occurrence of acne breakouts. It also helps fade acne scars and promotes a clearer complexion.

Minimises Hyperpigmentation: 

Retinol inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Regular use can result in a more even skin tone and reduced appearance of sunspots and age spots.

How Do You Use Retinol?

Start Slowly: 

If you are new to retinol, begin by using it once or twice a week to allow your skin to adjust. Gradually increase the frequency as your skin becomes more tolerant.

Use at Night: 

Retinol is photosensitive and can break down when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, it is best to incorporate it into your nighttime skincare routine.

Cleanse and Moisturise: 

Before applying retinol, cleanse your face thoroughly and follow with a moisturiser to create a protective barrier. This can help minimise potential dryness or irritation.

Sun Protection: 

Always wear sunscreen during the day when using retinol. This will protect your skin from UV damage and prevent any adverse effects.

Difference Between Retinol And Retinoids

Retinol is a type of retinoid, but not all retinoids are retinol. Retinoids refer to a broader category of compounds derived from Vitamin A, including retinol, retinoic acid (prescription-strength), retinaldehyde, and more. Retinol is commonly found in over-the-counter skincare products, while stronger forms like retinoic acid require a prescription.

Retinoids Benefits

Anti-ageing Effects: 

Retinoids stimulate collagen production, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and improving skin elasticity and firmness.

Improved Skin Texture: 

They promote cell turnover, exfoliating dead skin cells and revealing a smoother, more even complexion.

Acne Treatment: 

Retinoids regulate sebum production, preventing clogged pores and reducing acne breakouts. They also help fade acne scars and promote clearer skin.

Hyperpigmentation Reduction: 

Retinoids inhibit melanin production, reducing dark spots, sunspots, and age spots, resulting in a more even skin tone.

Enhanced Skin Radiance: 

Regular use of retinoids can give your skin a healthy glow and improve overall skin radiance.

Take Away

Retinoids, particularly retinol, offer a multitude of benefits for your skin. They stimulate collagen production, enhance cell turnover, and combat acne and hyperpigmentation. By incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, you can achieve smoother, more youthful-looking skin with improved texture and tone. Remember to start slowly, use it at night, and always protect your skin with sunscreen during the day.


Q: Do retinoids work on acne?

A: Yes, retinoids are effective in treating acne by regulating sebum production and promoting exfoliation.

Q: Salicylic acid or retinol for acne?

A: Both salicylic acid and retinol can help with acne, but they work differently. Salicylic acid is best for mild to moderate acne, while retinol is suitable for persistent or severe acne.

Q: What not to mix with retinol?

A: Avoid combining retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl per-oxide, and alpha or beta hydr-oxy acids to prevent potential irritation and reduced effectiveness.


Can Retinol be Used to Treat Acne?, By Carly Vandergriendt and Steph Coelho, on March 31, 2022

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