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Retinal Skincare: A Comprehensive Guide to the Miracle Ingredient for Perfect Skin

Are you a skincare aficionado always looking for the next best ingredient to enhance the appearance of your skin? If so, you've likely heard of retinoids, the gold standard of skincare ingredients. 

Retinoids are a group of ingredients derived from vitamin A that have revolutionised the world of skincare due to their versatility and efficacy in treating a wide range of skin concerns. However, with so many options available, navigating the different types of retinoids and understanding which is best for your skin type can be challenging. 

In this article, we'll take a closer look at one of the most powerful retinoids available over the counter without a prescription: Retinal. We'll explore its benefits and side effects and provide tips on incorporating it into your skincare routine for maximum effectiveness. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover everything you need to know about this potent skincare ingredient. 

What is Retinal?

Retinal, also known as Retinaldehyde, is a potent and active form of Vitamin A that belongs to the Retinoid family. It is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage and prevents signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture.

Compared to other Retinoids like Retinol, Retinal is a stronger and more effective compound that has a shorter conversion sequence in the skin. It only requires one conversion to Retinoic Acid, the most bioactive form of Vitamin A readily absorbed by skin cells. This makes Retinal a more potent ingredient with faster and more visible results. (Leyden, Stein-Gold, & Weiss, 2019)

Retinal also has the unique ability to stimulate collagen production, enhance skin elasticity, and naturally increase the production of Hyaluronic acid within the skin. This helps to keep the skin supple, hydrated and youthful.

Apart from its anti-aging benefits, Retinal is also a powerful ingredient for treating acne-prone and congested skin. Its keratolytic properties help to break down the outermost layer of the skin, stimulate desquamation and eliminate congestion, hyperpigmentation, and breakouts, keeping the pores clear and clean. Additionally, Retinal has antibacterial properties that counteract problem-skin issues. (Typology, 2022)

Retinal is available in a range of concentrations, and its strength can vary depending on the formulation and brand. It is commonly found in serums, creams, and lotions that can be applied directly to the skin. However, as with all Retinoids, it is important to use Retinal with caution and gradually build up usage to avoid irritation and sensitivity.


Retinal Vs Retinol 

Retinal vs. Retinol are both forms of Vitamin A that belong to the retinoid family, which is well-known for its numerous benefits in skincare. While they share similarities, some key differences between these two popular ingredients are important to consider when selecting the best option for your skin.

Potency and effectiveness:

Retinal is a stronger and more effective compound compared to Retinol. Retinal only requires one conversion step to become Retinoic Acid, the bioactive form of Vitamin A that skin cells can readily absorb.

On the other hand, Retinol needs two conversion steps to become Retinoic Acid. As a result, Retinal provides faster and more visible results, making it a more potent ingredient in skincare products.

Irritation potential:

Retinol is known for causing some degree of irritation, especially when first introduced to a skincare routine. This irritation can manifest as redness, dryness, or peeling. Retinal, although more potent, is often better tolerated by the skin and may cause less irritation than Retinol. This makes Retinal a more suitable option for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin.

Acne treatment:

Both Retinol and Retinal can be beneficial for acne-prone skin due to their exfoliating and pore-clearing properties. However, Retinal's increased potency and faster action make it more effective in treating acne, reducing congestion, and preventing breakouts.

Anti-aging properties:

While Retinol and Retinal can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, Retinal's superior potency and quicker conversion to Retinoic Acid make it more effective in stimulating collagen production, improving skin elasticity, and providing overall anti-aging benefits.

Availability and concentration:

Retinol is more widely available and can be found in various concentrations and formulations, including retinal serum, creams, and lotions. Retinal, while becoming more popular, is still less common than Retinol, and its concentration may vary depending on the product's formulation and brand.

In summary, Retinal offers several advantages over Retinol, including increased potency, reduced irritation potential, and enhanced effectiveness in treating acne and aging concerns. (Skin Wellness Dermatology, 2019) However, both Retinol and Retinal can provide significant skincare benefits, and the choice between them will ultimately depend on factors such as skin type, sensitivity, and specific skin concerns.


For a deep dive into Retinol vs. Retinal, check out our recent post: Retinoids Vs Retinol: What You Need to Know


Skin Care Benefits of Retinal 

Retinal, a powerful form of Vitamin A, is a highly sought-after skincare ingredient due to its numerous benefits for the skin. From its anti-aging properties to its acne-fighting abilities, Retinal is a powerhouse that can truly transform your complexion. In this section, we'll dive deeper into the remarkable skincare benefits of Retinal. 

  • Increases collagen production:

Collagen is a protein that gives the skin structure and elasticity. As we age, collagen production slows down, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Retinal stimulates collagen and elastin production, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity, resulting in glowing, plump skin.

  • Reduces hyperpigmentation:

Retinal helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and sunspots, by inhibiting melanin production. This results in a more even skin tone and a brighter complexion.

  • Improves skin texture and uneven skin tone:

Retinal helps to exfoliate the skin, which removes dead skin cells and reveals smoother, more even-textured skin. This can also help to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone, acne scars and other types of scarring.

  • Prevents acne:

Retinal helps to unclog pores and prevent the formation of acne by regulating the production of sebum, the oil that can clog pores and cause acne.

  • Improves skin hydration:

Retinal can improve the skin's ability to retain moisture, resulting in softer, more supple, smoother-looking skin.

  • Enhances skin radiance:

Retinal helps to promote cell turnover, which can lead to a brighter, more radiant complexion. This can also help to reduce the appearance of dull, tired-looking skin.

  • Strengthens the Skin Barrier: 

Retinal is a versatile ingredient that can provide numerous benefits for the skin. However, it's essential to start with a low concentration and gradually build up to avoid potential irritation. Additionally, Retinal can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's crucial to wear sunscreen when using retinol products.


How to Use Retinal in Your Skincare Routine

Retinal is a powerful ingredient that can help improve the appearance of your skin. If you want to incorporate Retinal into your skincare routine, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Start Slow: Retinal can be quite potent, so it's important to start slow and gradually build up your usage. Begin using it once or twice a week and then gradually increase the frequency once you see that your skin tolerates it well. It may take a little longer for more fragile skins to build up a tolerance, but keep persisting over a few weeks until you can use it every night. Also, be sure only to use this ingredient at night!
  2. Cleanse and Tone: Begin your nighttime skincare routine by cleansing your face and spritz with our Microbiome Balancing Mist. This will help remove dirt and impurities from your skin and prepare it for the Retinal.
  3. Apply Retinal: Apply a pea-sized amount of your Retinal serum to your face and gently massage it into your skin. It's important not to apply too much as this can cause irritation.
  4. Moisturise: After applying Retinal, moisturise your skin with a rich, hydrating moisturiser. This will help to lock in moisture and prevent your skin from drying out.
  5. Use Sunscreen: Retinal can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so using it only at night is important. during the day, use a Vitamin C serum and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF50+, such as the Ultra-Protection Sunscreen SPF50+ by Aesthetics Rx. Apply sunscreen every morning before leaving the house, even if it's cloudy.
  6. Avoid Mixing with Certain Ingredients: Retinal should not be used with other exfoliating ingredients like AHAs or BHAs, as this can cause irritation and sensitivity. Also, avoid using Retinal in the same application as vitamin C, which can reduce its effectiveness. Use Retinal and night, but use your Vitamin C in the morning.

By following these tips, you can safely and effectively incorporate Retinal into your skincare routine and enjoy its many benefits for your skin. Remember to be patient and consistent, as it can take several weeks to see results.   

Retinal Skincare & Skin Type

Retinal Skincare & Sensitive Skin

Retinoids, including Retinal, can be safe for sensitive skin types but can also be harsh and cause irritation. However, some retinoids may be better tolerated by sensitive skin than others.

Retinal is a type of retinoid known for its gentler approach to exfoliating the skin. It has a lower risk of causing irritation than other retinoids, making it a good option for sensitive skin types. It is absorbed readily and faster than Retinol, meaning it sits on the outer surface of the skin for a shorter time, hence causing less chance of unwanted side affect.

When using Retinal for sensitive skin, it's important to start with a low concentration and gradually increase the frequency and amount of product used. A gentle, non-irritating cleanser and moisturiser are also important to help soothe and protect the skin. (Byrdie, 2021) 

Some people with sensitive skin may still experience irritation or dryness when using retinoids like Retinal. If this occurs, it may be helpful to use the product every other day or reduce the amount used per application. Avoiding other exfoliating products, such as scrubs or acids, while using a Retinoid is also important.

Overall, Retinal can be a beneficial addition to a sensitive skin routine, but it's important to take precautions and listen to your skin's needs to avoid irritation and damage. Consult a dermatologist if you have concerns or questions about incorporating Retinal into your skincare routine.

Acne Prone Skin

Retinal can also be a beneficial ingredient for those with acne-prone skin. Not only can it help reduce the appearance of acne scars and reduce inflammation, but it can also improve collagen and elastin production, which can help improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.

Collagen and elastin are two proteins that are essential for maintaining the structure and elasticity of the skin. However, acne can cause damage to these proteins, leading to scarring and uneven skin texture. Retinal has been shown to stimulate collagen and elastin production, which can help repair this damage and improve the skin's overall appearance.

When using Retinal for acne-prone skin types, it is important to start with a low concentration and gradually work your way up to higher concentrations to avoid irritation. It is also important to use a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturiser such as our Daily Hydrating Moisturiser to help prevent further breakouts and keep the skin hydrated.

Consulting with a dermatologist is recommended for those with severe acne or sensitive skin to ensure a safe and effective option for specific skincare needs.

The Ultimate Retinal Serum: Total Repair DNA Serum

The Total Repair DNA Serum by Aesthetics Rx is the ultimate Retinal serum with a powerful combination of ingredients. The serum includes a hexapeptide that improves the skin's natural DNA repair pathways, hyaluronic acid for immediate and long-lasting hydration, and Retinal, a completely natural Retinoic acid precursor that increases skin elasticity, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and smooths the skin.


We love it because

We adore Total Repair DNA Serum by Aesthetics Rx due to its fast-absorbing, lightweight serum-cream texture that leaves the skin looking noticeably smoother and more radiant the next morning. 

This serum contains Retinal, a powerful form of Vitamin A that delivers exceptional anti-aging benefits without the typical side effects. Additionally, the inclusion of peptides and growth factors enhances the serum's reparative and regenerative properties, making it an outstanding choice for skin rejuvenation, whatever your skin type.


That's a Wrap!

Retinal is a powerful skincare ingredient with a wide range of benefits. It's a potent antioxidant that helps to prevent signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture, by fighting free radical damage.

What's more, Retinal is a proven collagen stimulant, improving skin elasticity and naturally increasing hyaluronic acid production for a more supple and youthful complexion. It also has keratolytic and antibacterial properties, making it ideal for treating acne-prone and congested skin.

Remember, when starting with Retinal, it's crucial to begin with a low concentration and gradually increase usage to avoid irritation and sensitivity.

So, if you're looking for a game-changer in achieving healthy, radiant, and younger skin, Retinal could be the answer you've been searching for!


Reference List:

Skin Wellness Dermatology. (2019). Retin-A vs. Retinal vs. Retinol: A Closer Look at the Topical Solutions for Wrinkles. Retrieved from

Typology. (2022). The Various Forms of Retinoids. Retrieved from

Wong, C. (2021, April 20). How to Use Retinol on Sensitive Skin Without Irritation. Byrdie.

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