The Truth about Retinoids

October 25 2016 – Benjamin Fuchs

The Truth about Retinoids

The Truth about Retinoids

Retinoids are the uncontested superstars of skincare ingredients. In fact, in the worlds of both dermatologic pharmacy and conclusive research, these Vitamin A derivatives, along with Vitamin C, are the only skincare ingredients that have definitively and repeatedly been confirmed to have skin-healing and anti-aging benefits.Numerous studies show that Retinoids normalize cell proliferation, stimulate the production of new skin cells and inhibit collagen breakdown to fight aging and effectively clear and prevent acne.

But not all Vitamin A derivatives starting with the letters “Ret“ are equally effective in achieving smoother, firmer and clearer skin, with far less visible lines and wrinkles. Prescription creams such as Retin-A and Renova are formulated with the most powerful Retinoid called “Retinoic Acid” (brand name Tretinoin) which is more potent than non-prescription Retinol although potentially much more irritating. 

Over-the-counter Retinol is less likely to cause skin reactions but it is also less powerful than its prescription counterpart so you’ll need higher concentrations of it to get the job done. Other retinoids with names like “retinyl palmitate”, “retinyl acetate”, and “retinyl linoleate”, are less potent than Retinol and, while less irritating, are unlikely to produce any notable or visible results.

To achieve optimum anti-aging effects in the least amount of time, it is necessary to use higher concentrations of Retinol. Unfortunately, these higher concentrations can create stability issues and increase the likelihood of skin irritations. To avoid these issues many “Retinol” products contain only trace amounts (0.1% to 0.5%) of this important active ingredient. This means you are getting only the smoke of Retinol without the fire and unlikely to get any noticeable benefits.

Is it possible to develop a product that can deliver a high concentration of Retinol without sacrificing stability or causing undue discomfort? Absolutely!  But in order to create such a product, a formulation strategy that features minimal ingredients, preservatives and excipients is required. In combination with a high concentration of Retinol, this type of formulation is unlikely to break down or cause excessive skin irritation.

Based on my 32 years of experience, working with thousands of patients, I’ve developed an innovative formula strategy and the result is Truth Retinol Gel. It delivers a full 5.0% of Retinol, the equivalent retinoid dose of prescription strength Retin-ATM , to bring you profound, visible and lasting results in just a couple of applications without irritation or requiring a trip to the doctor’s office and prescription.



1. Retinoids: The Biochemical and Molecular Basis of Vitamin A and Retinoid Action edited by Heinz Nau, William Blane p.527