The skin needs Retinoic Acid


This is not a retinoid form of Vitamin A but a carotenoid. It’s the plant form of Vitamin A. It is a powerful antioxidant and can be found in a variety of products and ranges.

Retinyl Palmitate

Is a mild form of Vitamin A, it’s easier for the skin to cope with. More than 80% of Vitamin A normally found in the skin is in this form.

Retinyl Propionate

An ester form, therefore less irritating, of Vitamin A. Its molecules are small enough to penetrate through the epidermis to the dermis, where it promotes healthy collagen production.

Retinyl Acetate

IsĀ almost as active as Retinoic Acid and penetrates the skin faster.


Only 3% of Vitamin A in the skin is in this form. It’s an alcohol form, so very active. It doesn’t remain stable in a cream. It has a limited shelf life and irritates cells in higher concentrations so use as directed. AlumierMD uses this form.


Also known as retinal, converts to Retinoic Acid 11 x faster than retinol in one step. The body uses retinaldehyde to make Visual Purple needed for night vision. This is the form of Vitamin A used by Osmosis Skincare.

Retinoic Acid

Is the metabolically active form of Vitamin A that works on the DNA of the cell nucleus. It also has variations. Isotretinoin, tretinoin are names you may have heard of & drugs such as Roaccutane or Accutane, prescribed by dermatologists for acne, contain isotretinoin.

Don’t become obsessed with Retinol

The different types of vitamin A can be confusing and tend to get lumped together as Retinol. Not only is this inaccurate, but also underestimates the value to your skin of the many different forms of vitamin A available to us.

The word RETINOID is an overall term for the whole family group of vitamin A forms. There are alcohol forms and ester forms of vitamin A. The alcohol forms are potentially more irritating but can boost the skin. The ester or fat form is moisturising.

RETINOL is one type of retinoid.

Because Retinol can irritate as well as boost the skin, some brands ENCAPSULATE the retinol molecules to improve the positives and lessen the potential downsides. I like to think of it as a little blanket making the retinol molecule more cosy.

My approach is not about getting the most, fastest, strongest Vitamin A into your skin, but the level that is right for you at any given point in time to give you the healthiest skin possible.