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Retinol vs. Retinoid – What’s the Difference?

If you’re on the hunt for effective acne treatment, consider using vitamin A to boost your skin’s natural healing process. Vitamin A, or retinol and retinoid, has been proven to improve acne and prevent its recurrence. But how exactly does it work? What are the benefits of vitamin A for acne and other skin conditions? And what are the differences between retinol and retinoid? We’ll answer all these questions and more in this article, so read on!

What is a Retinoid?

A retinoid is a broad term used to describe vitamin A derivatives, including Tretinoin, Adapalene, and Tazarotene. 

While high-concentration topical formulas are available via prescription, you can buy still effective but less-concentrated topical treatments over the counter. Retinoids help with skin disorders by increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen production, reducing inflammation, and reducing acne-causing bacteria. 

The Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, is considered to be one of nature’s most effective skincare ingredients. Found in both retinoids and retinol (we will get into the difference later), vitamin A is best known for its ability to clear acne and slow down signs of aging. 

Topical Vitamin A not only reduces the appearance of wrinkles over time, but it improves the elasticity of your skin, can help strengthen your skin barrier, smooth skin texture, improve discoloration, and fight acne. 

However, not all vitamin A products are created equal—retinol and retinoic acid are two forms of vitamin A that work differently when applied topically. Retinol has a lower concentrated retinoic acid in your skin, so it works more slowly and tends to be less irritating than its retinoid counterparts.

Contraindications

While Vitamin A and its retinoid formulas can work miracles on your skin, there are contraindications. For example, you should not use retinol or retinoids if you are pregnant, nursing, or have sensitive skin. There are also other contraindications, so you should consult your doctor before adding a retinoid to your routine.

It’s also important to note that you should never mix retinol with alcohol-based products or exfoliants because it can cause irritation and dryness. 

Retinol vs. Retinoid

Although the two medications may appear the same, there is a difference between retinol and retinoid. You can think of retinol as the cousin of retinoid. They both work by converting to retinoic acid, which can be beneficial in fighting acne and visible signs of aging, but both work in different ways. 

However, while retinoids are prescription-only, retinol is a lower concentration variation that can be bought over the counter. In addition, OTC retinol products generally have other ingredients in the formula to enhance skin appearance, whereas prescription retinol is often retinoic acid (the active ingredient) in its purest state. 

Note that Adapalene is actually a prescription-strength retinoid that can be bought over the counter. More on that later. 

If you have never used a retinoid before, it’s recommended that you start with an OTC formula before talking to your doctor about a prescription. 

Types of Retinoids

Now that you understand the general difference between retinol and retinoids, we will break each type of retinoid down in further detail below. 

Tretinoin or Retin-A

Tretinoin is a pharmaceutical form of vitamin A or retinoic acid. It reduces acne, and acne scarring, smooths fine lines and wrinkles, lightens pigmentation spots (such as melasma), and treats sun-damaged skin. There are many topical products containing Tretinoin (or Retin-A), including gels, creams, lotions, solutions, ointments, and pads. In addition to its acne-fighting properties, it also works excellent for anti-aging by increasing the cell turnover rate of damaged skin cells while simultaneously stimulating new collagen growth in areas where it is applied.

Tretinoin is often prescribed at different potency levels (typically 0.02 to 0.5%). Usually, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and work you up to a higher potency after your skin develops a tolerance for the product. 

Isotretinoin or Accutane 

Isotretinoin is a drug that is used to treat severe acne. It comes in capsule form and usually has to be taken daily for five months. Isotretinoin is also sold under other names, including Accutane and Claravis. Isotretinoin functions by decreasing oil production from sebaceous glands and speeding up skin cell turnover; as a result, it clears pores of excess oil and dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and reduces pimple formation. This can help keep breakouts under control for people with severe acne but does not guarantee results or make your skin perfect.

Isotretinoin is one of the most extreme acne treatment options and can be extremely tough on your liver and skin and cause other potential side effects. For this reason, dermatologists generally only prescribe it to the most severe acne sufferers. 

Adapalene or Differin 

Adapalene or Differin is a type of retinoid that offers a prescription-strength efficacy but can be purchased over the counter due to its mild side effects and general tolerability. Derived from Vitamin A, Adapalene (marketed as Differin by Galderma Laboratories) is an excellent retinoid option for acne sufferers and those looking to fight the signs of aging. 

Retinol 

This is the retinoid found in most over-the-counter retinol products. Due to its lower concentration of retinoic acid, there are generally much fewer side effects using retinol than prescription retinoids. However, keep in mind that due to its lower potency, it often will take longer to see results. 

Retinoid Esters 

Retinoid esters are the mildest form of retinoid that you can buy. You can buy retinoid esters over the counter and have the lowest concentration of retinoic acid. For that reason, this is the optimal option for those with sensitive skin. 

How to Get Rid of Acne

While retinoids can be incredibly effective at treating acne, it can also pose side effects, including photosensitivity, dryness, and irritation. Furthermore, you must undergo the dreaded several-month “purge” phase when implementing retinol into your routine—during which time your acne often worsens. 

Truly Clear offers a plant-based, 98.42% natural one-step solution to treating acne with ease. Check out our website to learn more and say goodbye to acne once and for all. 

How to Get Rid of Whiteheads

Want to know to get rid of whiteheads? If you have them on your face, you’re like millions of other people who struggle with the occasional breakout or more chronic acne. So, whether you woke up this morning to find a new pimple on your face or are looking to prepare for the next breakout, there is no need to panic.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of whiteheads—and they don’t involve squeezing or picking at them, which can leave scarring and permanent damage. First off, it’s essential to understand why you have whiteheads in the first place to take the right approach to get rid of them.

What are Whiteheads?

There are two types of pimples. The first is a blackhead, which often presents itself in the form of small dark dots in your pores. The second is a whitehead, which occurs when a pore becomes completely blocked by dead skin cells or oils from your face that prevent it from adequately ejecting its contents. 

This buildup in your hair follicle causes pressure inside your pores and leads to inflammation and an accumulation of pus-filled liquid under your skin. As a result, whiteheads tend to be more painful and prominent than the preceding blackhead. For that reason, they can be especially pesky and daunting. 

What Causes Whiteheads

The leading cause of whiteheads is a buildup of oil, debris, or bacteria in your pores. When you have an excess amount of sebum, it mixes with dead skin cells to create plugs that block hair follicles, which causes them to become inflamed and produce more sebum. This results in a cluster of clogged pores that can make your skin look like it has tiny white bumps on it. 

Not only do these clusters make your skin look bad, but they can also be painful or even cause infections if left untreated. Below are some of the leading causes of whiteheads:

Is it Safe to Pop a Whitehead?

Before you go after those pesky whiteheads, it’s a good idea to determine whether they’re safe to pop. The general answer is no; you should not pop your whiteheads at home if you can avoid it. The risk of causing permanent damage or creating a more severe breakout far exceeds the benefit of popping the pimple.

While you should avoid popping your pimple at all costs, we understand that sometimes you can’t resist. However, if you MUST pop your whitehead (and we stress, must), you must ensure that it has fully emerged, to the point where it looks like it may pop on its own.

Only in that case, should you ever attempt to pop it on your own. While we still advise against it, if you decide to pop your whitehead, you should never do so with your bare fingers—this can cause bacteria from your fingernails to get into the pimple and cause an infection.

Instead, use two q-tips or an extraction kit. If light pressure does not cause it to pop immediately, stop. Trying to pop a pimple before it’s ready is a sure way to generate a more significant breakout or cause permanent scarring. If the pimple is not quite ready, you can visit a dermatologist who can inject a cortisol shot that will cause the whitehead to shrink instantly. 

Other Ways to Safely Get Rid of a Whitehead

Now that we (hopefully) convinced you to resist the urge to pop, we urge you not to panic! We have other solutions to help you get rid of whiteheads SAFELY at home.

Acne Patches

We bring you a product that is almost as satisfying as popping your pimple but safer and more effective. An excellent way to remove whiteheads is by using Truly Clear acne patches. Apply them on top of your pimples at night before bed for best results. Then, in the morning, you will be shocked to see the gunk that was removed from your pimple. 

Implement a Reliable Regimen

One of the biggest challenges acne sufferers have is finding a regimen that works, committing to it, and using it consistently. Once you implement a new skincare routine, you need to stick with it, even if you don’t see results right away. It can take up to three months for your skin to adjust to a new routine, and unfortunately, this is when most people stop using it consistently or switch to something new.

Truly Clear solves this problem by making a practical and straightforward solution to fighting acne for good. Our products are 98.42% natural and plant based. Use our bar to cleanse and treat your acne in one step. You will be so thrilled with the results you won’t want to switch to another product. 

How to Prevent Whiteheads

The best way to fight off whiteheads is to make sure they don’t appear to begin with. Using the Truly Clear Acne Bar and implementing good hygiene into your lifestyle can prevent acne altogether. To help reduce the risk of breakouts, avoid touching your face and wash your sheets and pillowcase frequently. 

When to Go to the Dermatologist

It’s not a big deal if you experience the occasional breakout or have the very common small white bumps on your face. It’s important, however, to know when those tiny blemishes are indicators of something more serious. If you experience severe or cystic acne, bleeding, swelling, pain, or itching—it may be best to seek professional help. 

Closing Thoughts

Truly Clear is a skincare company that offers several ways for users to achieve clear, healthy skin in a simple, easy-to-follow method.

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