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Also-called-like-this: Form of Retinoids, Retinaldehyde


If you are reading here, we are pretty sure the words retinoids and retinol ring a bell, but if not, you are seriously missing out, please click here immediately to catch up.  The TL;DR version is that retinoids are the royal family of skincare with tretinoin being the queen, the only FDA-approved ingredient to treat the signs of photoaging. Retinol is like a grandkid, it has to be converted (through two steps) in the skin to become retinoic acid. The conversion means retinol is both less effective and less harsh on the skin. 

So where does our current molecule, Retinal, aka Retinaldehyde fit into the family (btw, here is a nice visual family tree about who is who)?  Remember that retinol needed two conversion steps to become retinoic acid? Yes, you are right, Retinal is the intermediate step between retinoic acid and retinol, meaning it needs only one conversion step to become active in the skin. If we go with our royal family analogy, Retinal is Prince Charles, directly next in line to the throne. 

Once retinal is converted, it becomes retinoic acid and does the same things we detailed in our tretinoin description. In a nutshell, it is everything you expect from an anti-aging superstar such as decreased wrinkles, smoother, firmer and more elastic skin

This sounds good, but how does Retinal compare to retinoic acid? Good question! We found a study (a pretty good one with 125 patients) that compared 0.05% retinal with 0.05% retinoic acid (and vehicle).  They concluded that "at week 18, a significant reduction of the wrinkle and roughness features was observed with both retinaldehyde and retinoic acid." and the difference between the two was not statistically significant. (Interestingly, in both groups, the results were less significant at week 44, so it might be a good idea to have a retinoid break from time to time?) Also, our guy, Retinal was much better tolerated than retinoic acid known for its harshness. 

The good tolerability of retinal was also confirmed by another study that compared retinol (ROL), retinal (RAL) and retinoic acid (RA). They found that "the natural retinoids ROL and RAL do have a good tolerance profile, in contrast with the irritating potential of RA", meaning retinal is an awesome alternative if you have irritation and flaking issues with prescription products, such as Retin-A. 

Last, but not least, we want to mention a pretty big (but subjectively evaluated), Avene (the French pharmacy brand famous for its Retinal products) sponsored study that examined the tolerability and efficacy of a 0.1 Retinal + 6% glycolic acid product in the treatment of acne. The product was added next to the standard anti-acne regimen of 1,709 patients for 90 days and the study concluded that the formula was both very well tolerated as well as effective next to other standard anti-acne medications such as benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics.

Overall, if you are into retinoids, Retinal is a really awesome and well-proven member of the family that is absolutely worth trying. 

Show me some proof

  • Creidi, Pierre, et al. "Profilometric evaluation of photodamage after topical retinaldehyde and retinoic acid treatment." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 39.6 (1998): 960-965.
  • Fluhr, J. W., et al. "Tolerance profile of retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid under maximized and long-term clinical conditions." Dermatology 199.Suppl. 1 (1999): 57-60.
  • Mukherjee, Siddharth, et al. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety." Clinical interventions in aging 1.4 (2006): 327.
  • Dréno, B., et al. "Topical retinaldehyde with glycolic acid: study of tolerance and acceptability in association with anti-acne treatments in 1,709 patients." Dermatology 210.Suppl. 1 (2005): 22-29.
  • Pechere, M., et al. "The antibacterial activity of topical retinoids: the case of retinaldehyde." Dermatology 205.2 (2002): 153-158.

Products with a known amount of Retinal

Other products with Retinal

Ao Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot InoPharm Pure Elements Face Serum With 2% Retinol MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum Arcona Advanced "A" Serum™ REMEDY SKIN + BODY Elexir A+ Transformation Serum African Botanics Retinal Night Cream Rodan and fields Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum Spectacle Performance Cream Synergy Therm Revive Serum Gh 0,1 Retinal-RHM MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Eye Cream Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil SIRCUIT® Cosmeceuticals Infusion-a A.Florence Skincare Intense Night Repair ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Retinext Advanced Corrective Serum Skin Script Retinaldehyde Serum Skincare by Dr. V Anti Oxidant Serum Youth Lab Retinol Reboot Serum Majestic Pure Eye Cream, Retinol POM POM Retinal Slow-Age Face Gel Global Beauty Care Retinol Skin Cream Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Onsen Secret Clean & Clear Toner Pro-Derm Retinal Serum Protocol Oxidated Retinol Serum RejuvAus Ab Repair & Restore Antioxidant Serum For Oily Skin Rx1 RejuvAus Ab Repair & Restore Antioxidant Serum For Oily Skin Rx2 RejuvAus Ab Repair & Restore Antioxidant Serum For Oily Skin Rx4 Sachi Ursolic Acid & Retinal Overnight Reform Barefaced Retinal Skin Therapy Farmacy 1% Vitamin A Retinol Serum Obagi Retivance Skin Rejuvenating Complex Olival Vitaminski Serum Ra Osmosis Renew Advanced Retinal Serum RejuvAus Abc Repair & Restore Antioxidant Serum Rx1 Sesderma Sesretinal Young Skin Moisturizing Gel Skin By Blair Ret De La Blair Transparent lab Retinal Age Reverse Cream Geek & Gorgeous 101 A-Game 10 0.1% Retinal Serum POM POM Retinal Cell Renewal Serum Sesderma Acnises Spot Colour Cream Sesderma Azelac Ru Liposomal Serum Sesderma Azelac Ru Liposomal Serum Trx Sesderma Reti Age Gel Cream Dr. Different Dr.Different Vitaacnal Tx Night Cream Medik8 Crystal Retinal Medik8 Crystal Retinal™ Stable Retinal Night Serum Niche Beauty Lab Theramid Clinical Vitamin A Palmer's Anti-Dark Spot Fade Milk Rodan and fields Reverse Brightening Defens Fluid Lotion