This is a general information about Vitamin A in all its forms. Please schedule a skincare consultation to have a more personalized guidance that considers your skin type and the products that are available for you.

Kcia Haddad

1/26/20242 min read

What are Retinoids?

Retinoids are forms of VITAMIN A that are proven to be very effective in delaying signs of ageing by speeding up cell turnover. Our skin takes an average of 28 days to renew and as we age, this process becomes slower which causes pigmentation, wrinkles and decrease in elasticity. Retinoids have the ability to speed up this process which address the most common signs of ageing. It also helps in collagen formation and reverse sun damage.


If this is your first time considering adding retinoids to your skincare, you must be confused about different products out there and which ones are the right fit for you. Guess what? Retinoids comes in 4 different types and they are not created equally. For your retinoids to be effective skincare, all forms should be converted to retinoic acid before your skin receptors absorbs it. So how does this work?

Remember that only retinoic acid can be absorbed by our body so for the other derivatives to work, they have to be converted to this form. Based on the image above, RETINOL has to be converted to RETINALDEHYDE then be converted to RETINOIC ACID. While Retinyl Esters > Retinol > Retinaldehyde> Retinoic Acid.

How does this relate to your skincare? It means that you have to use plenty of retinol (applied over a period of time) to equal the same effect on what Retinoic acid can do.

So why do they have to offer other forms of Vitamin A? Because the other forms are milder and gentler which is favorable for very sensitive skin.

I want to try retinoids but I am too scared of its side effects. Yes, Retinoids are known for its side effects: redness, sensitivity, peeling and purging. But with the following steps, these may help in dealing with the side effects that comes with the use of this powerful product. Retinoids can be applied both day and night BUT based on my personal experience, it is better to be applied AT NIGHT.

  1. For first time users and sensitive skin, after washing your face, I strongly recommend to apply a BASIC moisturizer first (e.g. Cetaphil, QV) without active ingredients like Vitamin C or niacinamide.

  2. Then apply your choice of retinoid to your face. (for Retinoic acids like Tretinoin, just stick to PEA SIZE amount for your whole face).

  3. At morning, after washing your face, you can now apply other actives (e.g. vitamin C or niacinamide) and then SUNSCREEN.

  4. Use this pattern to ease your way in using this product. Please note that your skin will take time to adjust to retinoids (usually 2-3 weeks). Always advance to the next stage only if your skin can tolerate it.

    1st week: RETINOID (R)- OFF (use other actives like AHAs if your skin can tolerate it)-OFF-OFF-RETINOID-OFF-OFF-OFF or ROOOROOO

    2nd week: if your skin can tolerate the first week, then you can go to this stage: ROOROO

    3rd week: RORO (best pattern for those that have other active ingredients in their repertoire)

    4th week: RRRR

  5. WHAT ABOUT MY OTHER SKINCARE PRODUCTS, you can apply these products on a separate day but I strongly suggest to keep the retinoids alone when in use.

But Kcia, which one should I go for? Book a consultation with me which I can help you decide which product that best suits your skin needs.