Retinoid, or Vitamin A, is a hyper performing skin rescuer that comes in varying degrees of potency, and lauded as an essential step by a network of over 15 dermatologists we know and trust in the biz. With the Dear Brightly experience, dermatologists formulate retinoid products tailored for your skin type and its needs.

At Dear Brightly, we don’t just believe in dermatologist-grade retinoids—thanks to decades of science and millions of real-life results, its efficacy as a tried-and-true skin restorative is why we’re dedicated to making it an essential part of your skincare routine. Luckily for you and pores everywhere, we’ve already uncomplicated the process to help get your hands on the good stuff, and now, we’re here to simplify the science behind that healthy glow. The results may speak for themselves, but at Dear Brightly we want you to know the why, the how, and the “oh wow!” of all things retinoid.

What are Retinoids?

Essentially, “retinoid” is a fancy medical term for Vitamin A in skincare. In its most effective pharmaceutical-grade form (aka, what dermatologists provide via the Dear Brightly experience) it’s able to directly penetrate skin to deliver the key benefits most commonly sought after in skincare. Most notably, it treats acne, smoothens texture, and visibly reduces the look of fine lines, enlarged pores, and pigmentation. Science says it can prevent all the above from forming in the first place since it’s safe to use as early as your teens. How, exactly, does it deliver on all these multipronged benefits? By halting the breakdown of collagen, boosting its production, and encouraging skin cells to turn over faster—a triple threat when it comes to keeping skin healthy. Curious about all the benefits of collagen? We’ll dedicate another post on the natural protein soon.

What is Tretinoin and Retin-A?

When you start deep diving into the world of retinoids, you may stumble upon the term Tretinoin, often used interchangeably with prescription-required Retin-A. That’s because it’s a super-effective form of retinoid found in the medication, as well as products you’ll become acquainted with on our platform. And for good reason: Tretinoin has astounded dermatologists as the only retinoid proven to reverse sun damage! Meaning your outdoor adventures can be worry free—but that doesn’t mean you should skip on SPF! Together, you’ve got a duo of defense against photoaging.

Hey, what about Retinol?

All medical-grade retinoids come packed with the hero ingredient: retinoic acid. But not retinol! Although touted with similar benefits as RA-packed retinoids, it simply doesn’t live up the same standard without that key component. It works by activating your skin to convert the formula into a much, much less potent form of retinoic acid—and by that point, very little Vitamin A is actually absorbed into the skin. Bummer! However, leaving medical-grade retinoic acid out does bring its benefits: the FDA allows retinol products to be sold over the counter in the mainstream for limited results without the wow factor. 

Do retinoids work for my skin type?

The short answer: YES (and OH YES if you’re acne prone). Retinoids are safe for everyone, although if you’re under the age of 13, pregnant, or nursing, comprehensive testing can’t be confidently performed. 

With the Dear Brightly experience, skin experts are able to tinker with the formulas to satisfy your skin type whether it’s oily, dry, combination, or sensitive. 

If yours is sensitive, you may be tempted to reach for retinol as a “gentler” alternative—and as stated above, that’s only due to its low-level absorbency. Instead, with Dear Brightly and a derm on your side, you can find the goldilocks amount that’s right for you, without sacrificing results—because the best skincare products are the ones tailored to your skin type and its needs.

Have more questions about retinoids? We don’t blame you, it’s interesting stuff! Stay tuned for more in-depth articles like this one to come, check out our Q&A page, or send us a direct message. 

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