Face cream with retinol

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 10.08.2022

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Today, face creams with retinol may contain not only a synthetic analogue of antioxidant vitamin A with the technical names retinol, retinol acetate or retinyl palmitate, but also retinoids in the form of transretinoic acid tretinoin, third-generation retinoid adapalene, and others.

These substances are modifications of retinol, therefore all pharmaceutical and cosmetic products based on them act on the skin in the same way.

Indications of the face creams with retinol

The main indications for the use of a face cream with retinol: the fight against acne, vulgar and draining acne, with papulo-pustular and comedonic acne. Pharmaceutical creams with retinol or derivatives of retinoic acid are used in the complex local treatment of ichthyosis, psoriasis and dermatoses with hyperkeratinization.

Retinol and retinoid- containing cosmetic creams are recommended for aging skin care (anti-aging): they can reduce visible signs of aging such as wrinkles, flabbiness, age-related lentigines (pigment spots).

Release form

Pharmaceutical products include creams with retinol for the face from acne and acne:

  • 0.05% Tretinoin cream (other trade names are Locacid, Airol, Airol Roche, Retin-A, Atralin, Atralin Renova, Tretin X, Ahnoten, Avita);
  • Isotrexin (Isotrex);
  • 0.1% cream Adapalen (synonyms: Adaclin, Differin, Clenzite).

And here are some names for face creams with retinol, which are a cosmetic for skin care:

  • Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream - Night SkinActive Night Cream for Garnier. And the composition contains pro-retinol, which is a trademark of the derivative of vitamin A, manufactured by L'Oreal.
  • Vichy face cream with retinol - LiftActiv Retinol HA Plumping Care and LiftActiv Retinol HA Night Total Wrinkle Plumping Care from Vichy Laboratoires (France). This is a means to care for aging skin; the composition also contains hyaluronic acid.
  • RoK face cream with retinol - RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Nigh Cream and eye cream RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream (France).
  • Night cream Retinol night revitalizer (Lumene, Finland).
  • Demax Retinol Active (Japanese firm Demax) with sodium hyaluronate, vitamins C and E, soy lecithin and grape seed oil.
  • Creams made by the USA - Retinol A (Life Flo Health), night face StriVectin-AR (Advanced Dermatology) with pro-retinol.
  • A multicomponent face cream with Russian retinol - "Black Pearl" series BIO-program (for age categories 36+, 46+, 56+), produced by the company "Kalina".

Inexpensive creams with retinol for the face are Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle (Garnier) and "Black Pearl". If you use containing retinoids, you must use sunscreen (SPF 30 and above). Also dermatologists warn that with very thin and sensitive skin it is better to avoid creams with retinol for the zone around the eyes (above the bones of the eye orbits).

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The mechanism of action of topical retinoids, in particular, retinol - a bioactive form of vitamin A - is due to the ability of their molecules to penetrate the epidermis and bind to specific nucleic receptors of cells (RAR-gamma and RXR-alpha) to form paired heterodimers. The heterodimeric complex combines with the elements of DNA that regulate the activity of its transcription, and the program of differentiation of the cells of the dermis changes.

As a result, after applying a face cream with retinol, the proliferation of cells of the papillary layer of the skin becomes active, leading to a thickening of the epidermis; increases the synthesis of tissue enzymes that prevent the premature death of keratinocytes; thickens the horny layer of the skin; increases the production of glycosaminoglycans (compounds that retain moisture in the skin).

In the presence of acne, retinol reduces the activity of the sebaceous gland cells and the adhesion of keratin in the follicles, which leads to a decrease in skin rashes. And the proliferation of dermis cells creates favorable conditions for the restoration of its outer layer.

In addition, new skin cells can produce collagen proteins I and III types. And due to the blocking of UV-induced activation of the nuclear factors of transcription of AP-1 and NF-kB, retinol and all retinoids slow down the synthesis of skin pigment melanin.

Cream with retinol for the face from acne and acne Isotrexin (Isotrex), in addition to isotretinoin (isomer of tretinoin), contains the antibiotic erythromycin, which causes the death of Propionibacterium acnes, a gram-positive anaerobic bacterium involved in the appearance of acne.

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When applying creams with retinol on the skin surface, the degree of its systemic absorption is insignificant. Binding to proteins is less than 95%; the half-life is 0.5-2 hours.

The use of drugs with retinol once within 24 hours leaves in the blood plasma its minimum trace amount, which is transformed in the liver and is excreted through the intestine.

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Dosing and administration

Cream Tretinoin should be applied a thin layer on acne and acne (without rubbing) - once a day for a maximum of half an hour, with a gradual increase in the duration of the effect of the drug to six hours. The remainder of the cream is rinsed with water. The course of treatment can last from two weeks to three months.

Cream Isotrexin can be used twice a day for two months.

Cream Adapalen is applied once a day (in the evening, at least 60 minutes before bedtime).

Cosmetic creams for the face with retinol for the first 14 days are applied 2-3 per week (at night); in the next two weeks - every other day. After 1-1,5 months, you can feel the first results (smoothing of facial wrinkles, lightening spots, increasing skin elasticity). But it should be borne in mind that as soon as the application of the cream stops, the positive effect goes away.

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Both pharmaceutical and cosmetic creams for the face with retinol are contraindicated in cases of hypersensitivity to the skin; inflammatory process, wounds and burns; in the presence of stones in the gallbladder, inflammation of the pancreas. Do not apply cream with retinol for the face from acne to children and adolescents under the age of 12 years.

Use during pregnancy and lactation is contraindicated (according to the FDA criteria, hazard level C). Do not use creams with retinoids and women who are planning a pregnancy.

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Side effects of the face creams with retinol

All creams with retinol can cause side effects in the form of:

  • redness of the skin (up to erythema) with a feeling of internal heat;
  • desiccation and insignificant skin peeling;
  • burning and itching;
  • dermatosis;
  • edema of the skin in the place of application of the cream;
  • Hyperpigmentation and increased skin sensitivity to ultraviolet rays.

To reduce the side effects of facial creams with retinol, do not apply them immediately after a hot shower, bath or considerable physical exertion.

Reduce these manifestations can be by applying moisturizer.


Excessive application of cream with retinol does not lead to a faster or better result, at the same time, marked skin reactions may occur: redness, peeling, discomfort.

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Interactions with other drugs

The cream with retinol for the face from acne, as well as cosmetics based on retinoids are incompatible with diuretics taken internally with antibacterial drugs, sulfinamides, neuroleptics of the group of aminazine.

Do not apply creams to the skin with retinol and other topical preparations.

trusted-source[18], [19], [20], [21], [22]

Storage conditions

Pharmaceutical creams for the face with retinol (Tretinoin, Izotreksin, Adapalen, etc.) should be stored at room temperature in a dark place.

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Shelf life

The shelf life of these drugs is two years.


To simplify the perception of information, this instruction for use of the drug "Face cream with retinol" translated and presented in a special form on the basis of the official instructions for medical use of the drug. Before use read the annotation that came directly to medicines.

Description provided for informational purposes and is not a guide to self-healing. The need for this drug, the purpose of the treatment regimen, methods and dose of the drug is determined solely by the attending physician. Self-medication is dangerous for your health.

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