Follow us on our new Insta page »


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 king, 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 William, 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

Derma Factory Retinal 1000 Ppm (0.1%) Cream Hanna Muller Retinol Serum Hanna Muller Retinol Serum 1% Medik8 Crystal Retinal 20 Hanna Muller Retinol Cream Ao Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot InoPharm Pure Elements Face Serum With 2% Retinol MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum Pulp Cosmetics India Sunday Everyday Body Sunscreen + Moisturizer With SPF50 SkinTra Liquid Happiness Arcona Advanced "A" Serum™ REMEDY SKIN + BODY Elexir A+ Transformation Serum African Botanics Retinal Night Cream Rodan and fields Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum Skintific Gentle A Retinol Renewal Serum Skintific Gentle A Retinol Renewal Serum Spectacle Performance Cream Synergy Therm Revive Serum Uzdrovisco Bezolejowe Serum Wygładzające Anti-aging (30 Ml) 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 BIOSSANCE Squalane + Retinol Night Serum ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Retinext Advanced Corrective Serum Herbliz Retinal Beauty Booster Mad About Skin Ultimate Anti-ageing Oil Skin Script Retinaldehyde Serum Skincare by Dr. V Anti Oxidant Serum Skincare by Dr. V Dr. V Body Brightening Oil Youth Lab Retinol Reboot Serum Majestic Pure Eye Cream, Retinol POM POM Retinal Slow-Age Face Gel Plaisir by Matas Retinol Booster Serum Rodan + Fields Reverse Radiance Mask Body+Me Anti-Aging Body Treatment Global Beauty Care Retinol Skin Cream Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment MeLine Pigment Home Mask Onsen Secret Clean & Clear Toner Osmosis Renew MD Pem Delian The Pioneer 0.05% Retinal Serum Pro-Derm Retinal Serum Protocol Enzyme-active Retinol 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