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What is the difference in effectiveness between Tretinoin cream 0.05% and Retinol 0.5% on skin aging symptoms?

A few years ago, in the last year of the Skin Therapy program at the Hogeschool Utrecht, I wrote my final thesis about what the difference in effectiveness is between Tretinoin cream 0.05% and Retinol 0.5% on skin aging symptoms?

I will explain the results of this research in the blog below. 

Within today's modern society, young and old alike aspire to a youthful appearance with smooth, tight, shiny skin. However, from the 25e Years of life, the skin, especially the face, begins to show signs of aging. Skin aging is a multifactorial, progressive, natural process that takes place in the body as a result of intrinsic (genetic) and extrinsic (environmental) factors. The three most cosmetically disturbing phenomena of the aging skin that are caused by this are: lines / wrinkles, pigmentation and roughness. 

Due to the association between youth and beauty, the demand for anti-aging creams, including the drug Tretinoin Cream, is increasing. Originally developed as a medicament for the treatment of acne, tretinoin cream is the only drug that is undeniably proven to have a skin rejuvenating effect in addition to reducing acne. In cosmetic dermatology, Tretinoin cream is also called the "miracle drug" against skin aging. Tretinoin cream consists entirely of the cell-communicating substance Retinoic acid, also known as Vitamin A acid. Retinoic acid is a substance that stimulates the regulation of cell development, differentiation and the production of collagen and elastin. This makes skin aging symptoms less visible. 

One simple, low-threshold variant of Tretinoin that, unlike the drug Tretinoin, is freely available on the cosmetic market is Retinol. Retinol is metabolized by keratinocytes to the same cell-communicating substance that Tretinoin consists of: Retinoic acid. A study suggests that in the metabolism of Retinol to Retinoic Acid, about 10% of the Retinol is actually converted to Retinoic Acid. Which would mean that the effect of the non-drug Retinol is ten times lower than the prescription drug Tretinoin. 

It is unclear whether Retinol 0.5%, with a ten times higher percentage, as Tretinoin 0.05%, is actually as effective as Tretinoin 0.05%. Should this be the case, Retinol 0.5% could be used as an alternative to Tretinoin 0.05%. 

My goal of the literature review was to map the difference in effectiveness between Retinol 0.5% and Tretinoin 0.05% in the treatment of the three most cosmetically disturbing symptoms of aging skin, lines / wrinkles, pigmentation and roughness. Due to the increasing demand for the drug Tretinoin cream, general practitioners and dermatologists are losing more and more time to prescribe this drug. In addition, not every doctor / dermatologist will prescribe Tretinoin cream for skin aging symptoms, as it was originally a medicine for acne. By offering persons in the skin therapeutic practice a non-medicinal alternative, waiting lists, time of the practitioner and healthcare costs can be saved.

The conclusion of my research was: There is evidence for the effectiveness of Tretinoin 0.05% and Retinol 0.5% on fine / deep lines / wrinkles, pigmentation and roughness. Retinol 0.5% has the same effect as Tretinoin 0.05%. Skin therapists can advise people who want to reduce skin aging symptoms to use Retinol 0.05%.

Curious about this product?

Skin Project sells Retinol 0.5% and Retinol 1.0%. 

Order it now on the webshop or book a free and no-obligation consultation. Do you have any further questions? Then don't hesitate to contact us! 


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