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The Three Different Forms Of Vitamin A That Bring Manifold Benefits To The Table

Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations, and immune modulation.  The retinoid family comprises vitamin A (retinol) and its natural derivatives such as retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, and retinyl esters, as well as a large number of synthetic derivatives.  

Amongst various anti-aging agents, retinoids are the most promising agents that are available for the treatment of aging, especially skin aging. 

Amongst retinoids, retinoic acid (Retin-A), is the most potent and best-studied retinoid. Retin-A is a topical medicine available by prescription only that is applied sparingly to the facial skin, sparing the eyelids and the corners of the nose and lips. However, its irritation potential has prompted dermatologists to switch over to less irritating but comparably effective retinoids like retinol and retinaldehyde.

Vitamin A is available in drugstores or cosmetic stores in three forms; Vitamin A retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. All three forms have a distinct set of features that have different impacts on the skin. The three different forms of Vitamins have different benefits when applied to the skin. Below we have discussed the benefits of each form of Vitamin A. Let’s dive in!

Retinoic Acid 

Amongst the retinoids, tretinoin possibly is the most potent and certainly the most widely investigated retinoid for photoaging therapy. Although retinoic acid show promise in the treatment of skin aging, irritant reactions such as burning, scaling, or dermatitis associated with retinoic acid therapy limit their acceptance by patients. This problem is more prominent with retinoic acids such as tretinoin and tazarotene whereas other retinoids mainly represented by retinaldehyde and retinol are considerably less irritating


Retinol is the most common over-the-counter vitamin A. As we already know, Vitamin A alcohol (retinol) converts to retinaldehyde, and then retinaldehyde converts to retinoic acid. 

Although retinol has been used in OTC cosmetic products since 1984, retinol showed only minimal improvement signs of photoaging compared to retinoic acid. Therefore, Retinol is not an irritant, and demonstrates only a modest clinical efficiency.


Retinal (retinaldehyde) is a retinoic acid precursor, which is formed as an intermediate metabolite in the transformation of retinol to retinoic acid in human keratinocytes. In the skin, retinal is metabolized to retinoic acid, indicating its use in the treatment of photoaging.  

A randomized and vehicle-controlled clinical trial to compare the efficacy of retinal with retinoic acid for the treatment of photoaging. Both retinal and retinoic acid were equally effective in reducing wrinkles and skin roughness. Thus, it can be concluded that retinal is a useful topical agent for the treatment of aged and photoaged skin, with a lower frequency of irritation.

In the cosmetic field, we are used to retinol, but we don’t know the ingredients of retinal because retinal was unstable and it was difficult to commercialize it as a cosmetic product.

Compared to retinol, retinal is similar to skin irritation, but much more powerful in terms of effectiveness as it costs 77 times more. 

According to Dr. Sophie Shotter at GetHartley, retinal is a more effective form of Vitamin A and shows results 11 times faster than retinol. The only difference between retinol and retinal is that retinal is way quicker when it comes to boosting collagen and radiance.

People looking forward to using retinal should consider looking into Dr.Different products. Their [Dr. Different] Vitalift-A Night Treatment Cream and [Dr. Different] Vitalift-A Night Treatment Cream Forte consist of just the right retinal amount that helps in showing results quickly. Dr.Different is a cosmetic brand that has products formulated by dermatologists and they are specifically known for their retinal products named vitalift. The team at Dr.Different is well-equipped with the knowledge that is required to formulate products that improve your skin condition such as tone, texture, and tightening. Since they know that different ingredients have different healing properties, they combine them carefully so that the pH balance of your skin is maintained and at the same time your skin receives full benefit from the product. When it comes to retinal products, Dr.Different has outdone itself.

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