The Benefits of Retinoids

The Benefits of Retinoids

Retinoids for Beginners

There’s no denying that retinol is the buzzword in skincare at the moment. Retinoids are unique--there is quite simply no topical treatment capable of offering such a smorgasbord of benefits for the skin. The clinical evidence is in: prolonged use of retinoids will visibly improve your skin.

What are retinoids?

Topical retinoids are gels, creams or serums containing derivatives of Vitamin A. Retinol, Retin-A and retinyl palmitate are all examples of retinoids. Retinoids act as an exfoliator, accelerating cell turnover. They also stimulate the production of collagen and the renewal of new skin cells.

The benefits of retinoids

Retinoids can help to:

  • Even out the skin tone
  • Improve skin texture
  • Reduce the appearance of pores
  • Firm the skin
  • Refine the skin’s surface
  • Diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Treat the causes of acne by unclogging pores and sloughing away dead skin cells

Of all its qualities, however, retinoids are most celebrated as a potent, FDA-approved anti-aging treatment. Retinoids stimulate collagen production, contributing to plumper, more youthful-looking skin.

Different kinds of retinoids

Retinol, Retin-A and retinyl palmitate represent retinoids of different strengths.

  • Retinol is commonly found in skincare products found over the counter, often in concentrations of 0.05 to 1 percent. When retinol is applied topically to the skin, enzymes convert it into retinoic acid.

                                        retinol acne

The skin then utilizes retinoic acid to improve skin tone, encourage cell renewal, soften fine lines and stimulate collagen production to ward off the signs of aging. Up to 6 months of regular use may be necessary to provide a noticeable difference.

  • Retin-A, or tretinoin, is itself a retinoic acid. This means it does not require any conversion process before it is used by the skin. It is approximately 100 times stronger than retinol products purchased over-the-counter and is only available with a prescription.

                                       retinoic acid

Retin-A functions as a heavy-duty exfoliator and is likely to irritate the skin. Itching, burning and stinging are common as the product accelerates cell turnover. Results will appear more quickly but at the expense of the comfort of your skin.

  • Retinyl palmitate is the ester of retinol (vitamin A) combined with palmitic acid. Retinyl palmitate is a less irritating form of retinol, and a gentler ingredient for sensitive skin. As a less invasive retinoid, a more lengthy period may be needed for the product to convert into retinoic acid. Once converted into retinoic acid, the skin uses the retinoid to shed the upper dermal layer and stimulate collagen


At Calysta Labs, we include retinyl palmitate in our formulations to allow the skin to reap the long-term benefits of retinol, without the unpleasant side effects. Try our Calming Acne Serum to help unclog pore and reduce blemishes, or our Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum to soften fine lines and the signs of sun damage.

How to use retinoids

Retinoids should constitute an integral part of your daily skincare rituals, particularly if you are in your late twenties or older. Knowing how to use retinoids to gain optimal benefits for your skin is vital:

  • It’s a good idea to apply retinoid serums at night. Retinoids can induce photosensitivity in the skin, so if you are applying them during the day, use sunscreen.
  • Apply a lightweight moisturizer before applying your retinoid.
  • Use a retinoid serum on a daily basis for optimal results.
  • Start with a lower concentration of retinoid, and then work your way up to higher concentrations as your skin becomes more tolerant.