What Is Retinoic Acid? And Should I Really Be Using It?

by | Mar 19, 2018 | Skincare

The key to a youthful appearance is simple: boost your skin’s strength and elasticity i.e. collagen levels. Retinoic acid ramps up collagen growth to fade lines and speeds cellular turnover, ensuring old cells don’t pile up, dimming your glow and clogging your pores.

But these perks may come at a price — namely, dryness, redness and flaking for the first two to four weeks of use. But if you start by using it just once a week and then very gradually build up, watching if your skin can cope, it will be fine.

READ MORE: Is It A Cold Sore Or A Pimple? Here’s How To Tell

Now you’re probably wondering where retinol comes into play. Retinol is often confused with retinoic acid, but the distinction is simple: retinol and retinoic acid (commonly known as Retin-A) are both in the family of vitamin-A-derived compounds called retinoids.

Retinoic acid is found only in prescription creams, but less potent over-the-counter retinoids (like retinol and retinaldehyde) are gradually converted into retinoic acid in the body.

Should you add this to your beauty regime? A resounding hell yeah – if you want skin cell turnover and to minimise the breakdown of collagen. Give the following a bash. You’ll thank us later.

PCA Skin Intensive Age Refining Treatment 0.5% (R2 184)

Concerned with fine lines, uneven surface texture and a dull complexion? Your face is going to look clear and youthful. Trust. It’s basically a time machine for your skin. Available at Dermastore.


Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer (R200)

This baby combines powerful retinol SA and hyaluronic acid to penetrate deep into the skin while you sleep, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. You’re going to wake up looking like a demi-god in just two weeks. Available at Clicks.


Lamelle RA Cream (R760)

This one is less irritating to the skin than most because of its modern patented retinoid formulation. Ideal for both young and mature, sun-damaged skins – are you ready for the glow of your dreams? Available at Dermastore.


Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair (R1 480)

This one is a concentrated, customisable night-time retinol treatment cream. How is it customisable? It comes with a buffer cream. Mix one part retinol and three parts buffer, then if you don’t experience any irritation, you can lessen the buffer cream. Your skin is going to feel baby soft upon first application. Available at Dermalogica.


SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 (R1 275)

This highly concentrated night cream works wonders to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and acne. It helps to build collagen, minimises pore size and evens skin tone. Available at Dermastore.


If you have red, irritated, itchy eczema, you need these products in your life. Plus: The best DIY blackhead treatments, according to derms.

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