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Is retinol or retinoids better for treating acne?

Is retinol or retinoids better for treating acne?

Is retinol or retinoids better for treating acne?

Although it is a common skin condition, acne can be a real challenge for those experiencing it.

Acne can cause sufferers to become self-conscious, and it can lead to long-term skin problems such as scarring.

There are a lot of products on the market for the treatment of acne, and over the past decades, retinol and retinoids have been increasingly used to treat acne, and for good reason: they work.

Retinol and retinoids can help clear up breakouts, help prevent future ones, and even reduce the visible appearance of acne scars.

Here’s how retinol and retinoids work in the treatment of acne.

What’s the difference between retinol and retinoids?

Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A, and in terms of the treatment of acne, the term covers both over-the-counter retinol and prescription products. Their popularity is due to their effectiveness in treating acne and also promoting the production of collagen, which can reduce acne scarring even further.

The most powerful topical retinoids are available by prescription only.

Retinol is a type of retinoid, and it is a common ingredient in over-the-counter acne treatment products.

The main difference between retinol and other retinoids is strength and effectiveness. Retinols contain a lower concentration of retinoic acid, which needs to be converted by the body into retinoic acid, making them slightly weaker in treating acne.

Prescription retinoids, on the other hand, have a much higher concentration. They don’t need to be converted by the body, and therefore deliver maximum benefits in treating acne.

Can retinols and retinoids help treat acne?

For decades, skin doctors have been recommending retinoids and retinols for the treatment of acne.

Typically, acne results when oil and dead skin cells clog the pores, leading to bacteria growth, which causes inflammation.

Retinols and retinoids can help unclog the pores and promote healing. They can also help reduce the appearance of acne marks and scars.

Some studies have shown that retinols and retinoids may even reduce the production of sebum, which can help control breakouts.

Being the weaker form of retinoid, retinol is often recommended for the treatment of mild acne, whereas people who experience more severe acne are often prescribed retinoids.

How to use retinol to treat acne

Given their strength, retinoid medications prescribed by a skin doctor to treat acne must be used according to instructions. This is usually a once-a-day application as part of a skincare routine, although it may be less frequent for those with sensitive skin.

Retinoid medications may increase sun-sensitivity, so it’s important to stay out of direct sunlight and use sunscreen every day.

Over-the-counter retinol products for treating acne should also be used according to instructions on the label.

What are the side effects of using retinol and retinoids for acne?

It’s not uncommon for people to experience slight redness and irritation when they first start using retinoids for treating acne, but there are steps you can take to mitigate these symptoms.

Avoid using any cleansers, serums, or moisturisers that contain AHAs, BHAs, or benzoyl peroxide. Substitute your current moisturiser for one that contains antioxidant-rich vitamins like niacinamide, panthenol, and vitamin E – ingredients that will work to really protect your skin.

How long does it take for retinol to treat acne?

When using retinol and retinoids for the treatment of acne, you should be able to see visible improvement in your skin after about 12 weeks for retinol use, although it may be sooner for some people, depending on the severity of their acne.

Speak to our skin doctors about acne treatments

Our skin doctors can advise whether retinol and retinoids are suitable for your skin type and whether they are an appropriate acne treatment for you.

To find out more, reach out to our friendly clinic to book a consultation and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. Call (03) 5618 7007 or book an appointment online.