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    Is Retinaldehyde Better Than Retinol?

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    Not all retinoids are the same. In fact, retinoids is an umbrella term for a group of vitamin A derivatives. They all work similar in which they can help improve your skin condition and turnover rate. Retinaldehyde is considered as the next generation derivative of vitamin A and would perform better than retinol.

    What is Retinaldehyde?

    Retinaldehyde is a vitamin A derivative that is considered as the most potent non-prescription retinoid available so far. We are currently seeing more retinaldehyde in skincare products as it has started to become more popular. 

    There are several forms of vitamin A derivatives with retinoic acid being the most potent. Retinoic acid is also known as tretinoin (Retin-A) and is usually only available with a prescription. Retinoic acid works directly on your skin, the other types of retinoids must be converted into retinoic acid before they can start working on your skin. 

    When retinol is applied, it needs to react with oxygen to be converted to retinaldehyde and then it is converted to retinoic acid. Whereas skincare products with retinaldehyde only requires to be converted to retinoic acid. Retinaldehyde is one step closer than retinol to it being converted into retinoic acid and working on your skin. This means that retinaldehyde is stronger than retinol and is actually one of the strongest over the counter retinoid available right now. 

    How Does Retinaldehyde Work?

    When you apply the skincare product with retinaldehyde, it is converted into retinoic acid so that it can work on your skin. Your skin cells and oil glands react with the retinoic acid and absorbs it into your middle layer of your skin. Retinoic acid helps neutralise the free radicals and thereby boosting the production of elastin and collagen. This then creates a more plump effect and might reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 

    Retinaldehyde makes a great ingredient in a skincare product to use at night to help keep your skin looking youthful and dewy. I use it at night around twice to three times a week.

    Benefits of Retinaldehyde

    Improve skin tone and texture

    Retinaldehyde can boost your collagen production. Through this boost, your skin will have a better structure and strength. It helps the cells on the surface of your skin to renew and replace quicker and thereby leading to smoother skin texture.

    Through the renewal of your skin, retinaldehyde can smooth your skin tone too. When use regularly, it can help fade hyperpigmentation by making your dead skin cells shed faster and increases the production of new skin cells. 

    Fewer fine lines and wrinkles 

    Through the increased production of collagen, retinaldehyde can help reduce the fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Studies have suggested that products with retinol are effective at reducing wrinkles and fine lines. This is done by increasing the production of collagen in your skin. In addition, it also stimulates the production of new blood vessels and thereby improving your skin colour. 

    Reduced Acne

    If you have acne you might want to consider trying retinaldehyde. It has the ability to decrease your oil glands activities and unclog pores. This helps clear your skin and make your pores smaller while also preventing breakouts. Retinaldehyde helps enhance your skin turnover and reduce acne breakout during the early stages of acne. 

    As always, if you have severe acne, you should always talk to a certified dermatologist before trying out new skincare products.

    How to Use Retinaldehyde

    When you first start using a skincare product with retinaldehyde, you should always start small for your face. While retinaldehyde is generally considered better for sensitive skin, it still comes with the same side effects of retinol. Some people who use retinol might develop red flaky inflamed skin so you should try to use a moisturiser as well. 

    You should always use retinoids at night and only stick to using it twice or three times a week. When you first start, your skin might become irritated and therefore you should wait till your skin adapts and learns to tolerate retinaldehyde before you increase your frequency of use. Retinaldehyde makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, therefore it is important you use it at night and wear sunscreen during the day. 

    One of my favourite retinaldehyde skincare product is Avene’s RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream. It’s a good hydrating cream that contains a higher dose of retinaldehyde. It has .1% of retinaldehyde, which makes it relatively strong without too overwhelming for your skin. Make sure you use a small drop size of cream and avoid mixing it with other exfoliants. 

    For those of you who are starting up with retinoids, I would suggest Medik8’s Crystal Retinal 1 night serum. This one has a much lower concentration of retinaldehyde, only 0.01%. This makes it ideal for those who are just starting up with retinol. It is pretty lightweight and absorbs fast into your skin, it includes hyaluronic acid to help rehydrate your skin as well.

    Side Effects

    Retinaldehyde is usually considered to be more suitable for those who have sensitive skin. However, it is still a retinoid and will still include the usual side effects that comes with a retinoid. Some people who use retinoids might experience a flaky red and inflamed skin. This usually can be fixed by moisturising your face. 

    For those who has just started using retinoids, you might see your face getting a little red, itchy and peeling. This is relatively normal as some people might see their face looking a little worse before getting better. This usually last during the first 2 to 4 weeks of retinoid use. 

    Always use your retinoid skincare products at night and make sure you put sunscreen on in the day. Retinoids make your skin more sensitive to the sun and this will lead to your skin burning faster when you are out. If you have summer plans on going out and about, I would avoid using any products contain retinoids for at least 2 days before your plans.

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