By Brittany Burhop Fallon, Beauty Director · Jan 28, 2021
Ask a skin-care expert to name their favorite ingredient (aside from SPF), and nine times out of 10 you’ll hear retinoids. The praise stems from more than 30 years of research and clinical trials demonstrating the active’s seemingly endless benefits for healthier, more youthful skin. “Like a Chanel purse, I don’t think retinoids will ever go out of style,” says Hamden, CT dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD. “They are the original, and thus far the most effective collagen builders we have in our cosmetic armamentarium.”
The Two Types“When we talk about retinol and retinoids, what the skin is actually using is retinoic acid,” explains New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, noting that all retinoids are derivatives of potent antioxidant vitamin A. “Retinoic acid is extremely effective at communicating with the skin’s cells—it has the ability to connect to almost any skin cell receptor site and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell. Prescription retinoids contain retinoic acid, whereas over-the-counter topicals contain retinol, which converts to retinoic acid in the skin.”
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