Over-the-counter vs. prescription strength: which retinoid is right for you?
retinol vs tretinoin

2022-07-15T18:47:59.249Z

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Slather - Over-the-counter vs. prescription strength: which retinoid is right for you?

A blog article written for Slather, Apostrophe's blog, entitled Over-the-counter vs. prescription strength: which retinoid is right for you?

Aimee PaikDoctorateDegreeAmerican Board of DermatologyBoard Certified DermatologistChief Medical OfficerDermatologist100A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions. These conditions include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, among many others.
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2022-07-15T18:47:59.249Z
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General

Over-the-counter vs. prescription strength: which retinoid is right for you?

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Slather post photo

General

Over-the-counter vs. prescription strength: which retinoid is right for you?

Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD

Written by Apostrophe Team

Last updated 7/5/2022

For skincare veterans and newbies alike, retinoids can be an important cornerstone of anyone’s skincare routine (hear more about retinoid benefits from our medical director here.) Well known brands like Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant have both recently spotlighted new products containing retinol — a form of vitamin A. Prescription strength acne and wrinkle treatments often contain tretinoin (a stronger and more effective derivative of vitamin A). But what are the differences between over-the-counter retinols, prescription strength retinoids, and Apostrophe’s own Tretinoin Formula? We did the research so you don’t have to.

Over-the-counter retinol

You can pick up retinols at your local drugstore or on the shelves at Sephora. Retinol must go through a conversion process to be effective on the skin which means that while you may feel some irritating side effects, they will be much less severe than those of prescription strength retinoids. However, this also means that over-the-counter retinols are far less potent and less effective than their prescription counterparts. In fact, retinol is twenty times less potent than prescription strength tretinoin. If you need smoothing, plumping, and acne fighting effects that pack a real punch, you should explore…


CUSTOM PRESCRIPTION TREATMENT

Get expert treatment customized to your unique skin.


Prescription strength retinoids

Getting a prescription from a dermatologist or healthcare provider is the best way to get the full benefits of retinoids. One of the most common forms of prescription retinoids is tretinoin, often known under the brand name Retin-A. Tretinoin is not available over the counter because it is far more powerful than any non-prescription retinol. Its higher strengths can mean more side effects, but it also means greater benefits like smoother, plumper, and more glowing skin.

Apostrophe’s Tretinoin Formula

We offer our own prescription strength retinoid formulation called Tretinoin Formula (it’s our personal favorite, but we might be biased). Created by our medical director, Dr. Aimee Paik, it combines tretinoin and niacinamide so you get the prescription strength smoothing and plumping benefits of both in a formula that keeps sensitive skin in mind. Tretinoin helps shed dead skin cells and promote collagen production, while niacinamide decreases hyperpigmentation and inflammation. Give it a try and get your tretinoin prescription online with Apostrophe!


PRESCRIPTION ACNE TREATMENT

Science-backed topical + oral acne treatments from the experts.


Now that you know the difference between retinols, retinoids, and our own Tretinoin Formula, you can choose the option that best fits your life and your skin!

1. Beauty 411: Retin-A Vs. Retinol. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/beauty-411-retin-a-vs-retinol. Accessed March 14, 2019.

2. Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2004;3(2):88-93. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x

3. Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2006;1(4):327-348. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/. Accessed April 9, 2019.

4. Topical retinoids. Topical retinoids | DermNet NZ. https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/topical-retinoids/. Accessed March 14, 2019.

5. Tretinoin Topical : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3956/tretinoin-topical/details. Accessed March 14, 2019.

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