Which is Better: Retinol or Retinol Palmitate?

January 11, 2022 2 min read

Which is Better: Retinol or Retinol Palmitate?

Retinol and retinol palmitate, although both technically retinoids, are not the same thing. What’s the difference between the two? And should you use them both in your skincare routine? Retinol, also known as vitamin A, is an anti-aging ingredient that can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. But what does it do exactly, and how do you use it to fight aging skin? Here’s everything you need to know about retinols. Both retinol and retinol palmitate are forms of retinoic acid, which refers to all molecules with vitamin A activity. This includes both of these derivatives as well as tretinoin (all-trans-retinoic acid).

What is Retinol
A retinoid (or vitamin A derivative) is a substance that has been chemically modified from Vitamin A, and can be used to stimulate cell growth and increase collagen production. Because of its anti-aging benefits, it’s often featured in skin care products that promote healthy skin.

What is Retinol Palmitate
Retinol palmitate is simply retinol bound to a fatty acid called palmitic acid. Because of its chemical makeup, retinol palmitate is slower acting and less irritating than regular retinol. This means it can be applied more frequently and in higher concentrations. However, don’t take that to mean that it’s necessarily better for you; keep reading for our professional opinion.

How Do They Work?
Vitamin A has many different forms. Both retinol and retinol palmitate are derived from vitamin A, but they work differently. Retinol works by speeding up cell turnover, which helps reduce wrinkles and improve skin tone, texture, elasticity, and firmness. It also may help fade brown spots, especially in people with lighter skin tones. Retinol palmitate doesn’t appear to be quite as potent as pure retinol for reversing damage done by sun exposure or fighting aging signs , but it tends to be gentler than pure retinol—and that means less irritation for some users.

Are There Any Side Effects
Side effects for retinoids aren’t usually serious and can be avoided by increasing your water intake and washing your face with a gentle cleanser at night. You may experience dryness, redness, and irritation in some cases. If these side effects become bothersome, stop using it for a few days and then reintroduce it to see if it’s causing you problems. Be sure to wear sunscreen every day while using retinoids to protect yourself from sun damage.

How Long Does It Take to See Results
You should notice an improvement in your skin after one month. Be patient—it may take longer if you are older than 40, have dry skin, are pregnant, or are under a lot of stress. To determine whether retinol is right for you, talk to our skincare specialist nurse about your skin condition and treatment goals.

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