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Retinaldehyde VS Retinol : Which Is Better?

Dr. Shireen Singh
Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Shireen Singh, MBBS.

Written by Our Editorial Team


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While Retinal and Retinol may sound like anagrams, they aren’t. Both are retinoids, but with different properties and functionalities. The molecular difference between them is vast which is why Retinaldehyde or retinal is a far more powerful anti-ageing ingredient than Retinol. It is important towards skin care management, for instance it elevates the night-time skincare repair cycle and boosts collagen production for enhanced wrinkle reduction and skin luminosity. Most people are aware, that Vitamin A has been hailed as the gold-standard of anti-ageing, because it helps in resurfacing the skin, boosting collagen production, fading fine lines, and combating blemishes. There are different derivatives of Vitamin A and the tried and tested ones are retinoic acids, retinol, retinaldehyde, and retinal palmitate.

Also Read : Blemish Busting Ingredients: How To Get Rid Of Blemishes And Get Glowing Skin

When it comes to Retinal VS Retinol, retinal hails supreme because it works 11x faster and is gentle on the skin. More often than not Retinal doesn’t cause skin purging which is a common occurrence with regular use of Retinol.

Introduction to Retinaldehyde

By now we know that retinal and retinol belong to the same family of Retinoids, which are derivatives of Vitamin A. Retinal or Retinaldehyde is a gentler Vitamin A ester which works faster than its other counterparts. It prevents ageing by minimizing fine-lines and wrinkles on skin and boosting collagen production as well as cell turnover. It is perhaps the only retinoid to work against UV damaged skin, as it restores collagen and eslastin in the skin and thereby treats photoageing. It also combats acne-causing bacteria to keep breakouts at bay, something that other retinoids are incapable of. ThriveCo's Youth Renewal serum containing Retinal is a game changer in skin care

Buy ThriveCo Youth Renewal Serum with Retinalhyde (11x Faster Than Your Usual Retinol Serum)


Also Read : A complete Guide To Retinol - Uses, Benefits & More

Here is an easy-to-follow guide to differentiate between Retinal and Retinol

To understand the difference between retinal and retinol, one needs to decipher the Vitamin A cycle. Vitamin A is stored within the body in the form of retinyl esters. When the body is ready to metabolize Vitamin A, the esters are converted into retinol, then retinaldehyde, and finally retinoic acid, which is the only form of Vitamin A that can be utilized by the skin. Retinoic Acid is an active form of Vitamin A and works against signs of ageing.

It is very important to use correct anti-ageing products for skin care because they should work with your skin type. Although retinal and retinol work in similar ways, there are a few profound differences that set them apart. This means that both retinal and retinol need to be converted into retinoic acid for them to be imbibed within the skin. Since Retinal is just one conversion state away from retinoic acid, it works much more rapidly compared to its precursors.

Retinal works 11x faster than Retinol. This means, that people who use Retinal as an anti-ageing ingredient see faster results. It diminishes the fine lines and wrinkles much faster and makes changes to the skin in about 2 months of regular use.

Retinal happens to be the only retinoid that exhibits antibacterial properties. This makes it the perfect ingredient for acne-prone skin. It helps in removing bacteria that are responsible for skin breakouts.

The exfoliation rate of the retinal is much higher than retinol, which contributes to getting healthy, beautiful skin.

Retinal does not cause skin purging in most cases, but the same cannot be said by retinol. Most people refrain from using retinol because it causes skin irritation during the first few days of its usage. Retinal on the other hand causes little to no irritation, making it a far safer choice. People with dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin can incorporate retinal in their skincare routine without thinking too much about it.

Who would be the ideal candidate to use Retinaldehyde?

People who want to see a significant improvement in their fine lines and wrinkles must opt for retinal over retinol, because as mentioned before it works 11X faster. While this may seem like an aggressive approach to skin ageing solutions, retinal is much gentler and is the perfect ingredient for those who have sensitive skin and have experienced purging after using retinol. It is a definite upgrade to a seasoned retinol user’s skincare regime.

ThriveCo’s Youth Renewal Serum

Packed with the goodness of of Retinal, encapsulated retinol and a proprietary blend of peptides, ThriveCo Youth Renewal Serum is a brilliant anti-ageing solution. Available in two variants starter and pro, it is excellent for beginners and seasoned retinol users who are looking for for an upgrade in their beauty routines. It is a very sophisticated formulation which gradually releases retinol into the skin to avoid skin irritation and purging.

Composed with niacinamide, it combats the skin’s inflammatory response to retinol and calms the skin, to avoid any redness by creating a natural ceramide barrier. It significantly increases the thickness of the skin, to avoid the formation of lines and wrinkles by making the skin resilient and elastic. Moreover, it smoothens the skin texture by removing pore congestion. The encapsulation of the retinol keeps the integrity of the formulation intact, while it delves into the deeper layers of the skin to target signs of ageing. This serum stimulates dermal protein synthesis and builds elastin fibers for firmer, plumper, smoother skin. This all-rounder serum repairs hyperpigmented skin and fades age spots as well.

Vitamin A is a much-loved ingredient when it comes to skin care as it helps combat signs of ageing. Between Retinal and Retinol, the former is much better than the latter for achieving quicker and better anti-ageing results. Most skin types adjust better to Retinal even though it is a higher strength Retinoid. The additional bonus of its anti-bacterial properties makes Retinal a class apart from the rest of its Retinoid counterparts. The fact that it is gentler than Retinol, makes it a safer choice for people with sensitive skin. Overall, Retinal definitely has an edge over Retinol and happens to be a much better option for those who are looking to see a dramatic improvement in their skin over a shorter span of time.

Also Read : Exfoliation 101 For Sensitive And Dull Skin


About Doctor :

Dr. Shireen Singh

Dr. Shireen Singh, MBBS, MD Dermatology, is a trusted dermatologist with over 8 years of specialized experience. Passionate about empowering individuals to achieve their hair and skin care goals, she combines cutting-edge technologies with personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual's needs. She's dedicated to helping you achieve vibrant hair and glowing skin. Dr. Shireen loves research and is here to share her expertise for your health and happiness.



Disclaimer: All the content published on is solely for information purposes. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consider seeking the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider. The information, suggestion, or remedies mentioned on this site are provided without warranty of any kind, whether express or implied.

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