Types of Retinoids In Depth article

Let’s jump right in and explain the types of retinoids. A retinoid is the overall name to use for the various types of Vitamin A compounds. These Vitamin A mixtures are used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, improving collagen and elasticity, and unclogging pores for those who suffer with acne.

You may see their names as retinol, tretinoin, retinaldehyde, tazarotene, alitretinoin, and bexarotene

Whoa, that’s a lot of names! Therefore, let’s go over the main points of each type of retinoid to simplify your decision on which product is best for your skin.

By the way, it’s best to use retinoids at night as it can break down with sun exposure. And of course, protect your skin with a minimum of spf 30 and reapply every 2 hours. 

Important Tips with Types of Retinoids:

Alternate nights when using acids and LED devices (LINDSEY)

Separate Vit C – meaning use Vit C in morning and Retinol at night


Retinol is the scientific name for Vitamin A, the over counter name for one of the types of retinoids. The ingredient is found in topical skincare products that helps with fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin’s enzymes convert retinol to retinoic acid to reach the results. This is the lowest form of Retinoid which is why it’s available over the counter and will take the longest to see the results. This can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 or 12 months before you begin seeing changes. This will depend on how quickly your skin processes the Vitamin A. See the Retinol Document for an in-depth look! 

Product Recommendations for Retinol


Retin-A is the brand name of Tretinoin which is a synthetic form of Vitamin A. This is only available through a prescription. Think of it as 20 times as strong as a retinol. Reason being, unlike the over-the-counter retinol, Retin-A doesn’t have to convert to an active. Therefore, it’s stronger, faster and will deliver quicker results. You are most likely going to see results in 8 weeks. Due to its strength, you will most likely see more side effects of redness, peeling, and irritation within the skin.  However, this is probably a better choice than retinol if you have deep lines and wrinkles. We recommend beginning with a retinol to allow your skin to build up tolerance and then switching to a tretinoin. With the tretinoin, begin slowly and use one to two times a week using a pea size amount and spread over your face. Eventually you can use it every night once you have built up a tolerance. Use a pea size amount to spread over the neck and decolletage. Then take a pea size amount and spread it over the tops of both your hands. *Important note – make sure your skin is completely dry before applying! *Apply this at night and wear your sunscreen. Not only does the tretinoin become unstable in the sun which allows it to break down easily, but your skin is going to be more sensitive to the UV rays. So, sunscreen is a MUST! 

If you are tired of doing your skincare and not seeing results, then welcome to  lapree beauty community! As a licensed esthetician and spa owner, I transform women’s skin through my daily skincare routines. Using proper application, skincare techniques and tools CAN CHANGE YOUR SKIN! Begin Today!

There are different strengths available for these types of retinoids:

I listed them from weakest to strongest

Retin-A comes in 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1% formulations

There are different forms available:

Gel – use if you have oily skin and are prone to acne

Cream – use if you have dryer/sensitive skin

However, you will need to test them out. Everyone’s skin is different. So, you may need to play around with them. For example, if the gel is too dry, then you may need to switch to a cream. If you find that the cream is clogging your pores, then you may need to switch to gel and then add a moisturizer to help with the dry side effects. 

Loophole with Prescriptions for types of retinoids

This is only available by a prescription, but we found a loophole if you don’t have a dermatologist. You can order this through the Nurx App. We tested the app and it was simple to use. You will provide the company with your name, address, credit card information, pictures of your skin, photo id along with your medical info details. They will read your form then send you the Retin-A in the mail. 


If you are looking for a retinoid that is stronger than Retinol but not as strong as Tretinoin then this form may be for you. This is one of the strongest forms of Vitamin A that you can buy over the counter. Your body converts retinaldehyde to retinoic acid in the body. Try this once or twice a week with a pea size amount. Increase gradually to avoid the typical side effects of peeling, irritable skin. Results are usually seen within 6 to 12 months of regular use. It also tends to be gentler on your skin. So, this may be a better choice than retinol if you have sensitive skin. 

Product Recommendation for Retinaldehyde and formulated with retinol so you get the combined effects of both

Product Recommendation for Retinaldehyde – fragrance free, plumping peptides and antioxidant Vitamin E

Product Recommendation for Retinaldehyde – medical grade formula!

Sunscreen is Vital

Retinoids increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you think I am repeating myself, you are correct. It is very important for you to wear sunscreen of at least spf30 and if you are out in the sun to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Also, a hat is recommended! 

Product Recommendations for types of retinoids

For the rest of the information for retinol, head to our free skin school inside our lapree beauty anti aging community 

I will be sharing in there the MOST powerful retinoid and also what to do if irritation occurs with your retinoids!

Your anti-aging skincare sisters!

Lindsey & Ashley

“Take a leap of faith. You will either land somewhere new or learn to fly. ”Kandyse Mcclure