What are Retinoids in Skin Care?

Young woman in bathroom, cleaning her face with cotton pad

Retinoids go by many names, which can be confounding when you’re trying to scour the beauty counter shelves for a product that features one of the ingredients that are a part of this powerhouse family. That, and the fact that not many people know what the different kinds of retinoids are and how they work, is enough to make anyone stop their search. But that would be a mistake.

The benefits of retinoids far outweigh the trouble it may take to understand them and find the right retinoid product for you. Plus, with our help, it will be no trouble at all. You’ll soon realize the power of retinoids and learn how to incorporate them into your skincare routine in a simple way. Let’s dive in.

What Are Retinoids?

Not all retinoids are created equal, but “retinoid” is the term that refers to a chemical derived from vitamin A. There is a whole host of different vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, and isotretinoin—or, Accutane as it’s commonly known—to name a few. All of these are classified as retinoids, and all of them vary in strength or potency. For instance, pure retinoic acid is only available in prescription medications while the other forms of retinoids, such as retinol, are widely available in a plethora of over-the-counter beauty products.

To explore the difference between retinol and other retinoids, read our blog on the difference between retinol and retinoid.

What is Bio-Retinoid?

Bio-retinoid is not related in any way to vitamin A, but has a retinoid-like effect on the skin that can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also tends to be gentle on the skin, making it the perfect skin care ingredient to incorporate into your routine if you have sensitive skin. At REN Clean Skincare, we use a plant-derived alternative to retinoid called Bidens Pilosa, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How Do Retinoids Affect the Skin?

Research has proven that vitamin A and its derivatives are among the most effective substances at slowing visible signs of aging. This is where the great benefit of using retinoids in skincare lies, but that’s not even the only one. Keep reading to learn how these incredible compounds can affect the skin.

Reduce the Signs of Aging

By and far, retinoids are most known for their anti-aging properties. Retinoids help improve skin firmness. In doing so, they encourage the look of healthy skin and—here’s the kicker—reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. This wrinkle-fighting ingredient is thus an excellent choice for you if you experience the visible signs of aging skin, or if you want to help prevent those signs. While this is reason enough for us to pick up a bottle with retinoids at the top of the list of ingredients, it certainly is not the only reason to pursue these products.

Reduce the Appearance of Sun Damage

Retinoids stimulate not only help firm the skin, but also help to lighten the appearance of dark spots, which can appear due to sun damage. As dark spots are reduced, the skin’s tone becomes more even. For this reason, retinoids are often used to improve discoloration from causes other than sun damage as well.

Fight Blemishes

When the skin cell renewal process is long, old skin cells are on the skin’s surface longer, which can contribute to clogged pores. A speedy cell renewal process means clearer pores more often.

The List Goes On

These are just a few of the great benefits of retinoids. Depending on the type of retinoid, it may also be used to help even skin texture, treat blemishes or soothe skin, and enhance radiance. It truly is an ingredient of many talents.

How To Incorporate Retinoids into Your Skincare Routine

Naturally, this holy grail ingredient is featured in many skincare products for its many great benefits. And while it’s easy to find retinoids on any beauty retailer’s shelf, it’s less easy to find which retinoid products are right for you. Don’t worry, we’ll help you sift through the labels and land on the suitable retinoids for you.

Evaluate Your Skin Type

Your skin type plays a vital role in the ingredients and combination of ingredients you can tolerate. Because retinoids vary widely in strength, it’s essential to choose a strength your skin can handle. If you have sensitive skin or dry skin, you will be better off with a lower-strength formula, such as a product containing retinol or a natural retinol alternative.

Our line of Bio Retinoid™ skincare contains Bidens Pilosa, a plant-derived alternative to retinol, that is suitable for sensitive skin. It features an age-defying moisturizer and oil formulated to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—and boasts consumer study results to prove they do. These products are designed for mature skin, but they’re suitable for anyone who wants to experience plumper, more hydrated, and visibly younger-looking skin.

If you want to try more potent retinoids, such as those that require a prescription, we recommend discussing your options with your dermatologist, who can recommend a formula that is suitable for your skin type.

Start Slow

How often should you use retinoid when starting out? When incorporating any new ingredient into your skincare routine, it’s a good idea to incorporate it slowly. What do we mean? Well, start by applying the retinoid product once or twice a week at night and see how your skin reacts. If you don’t experience any irritation, thenapply it every other night. Stronger retinoids, in particular, are more likely to cause irritation, so always apply with care and call your dermatologist if you experience any side effects.

For a nighttime routine that will leave your skin radiating vitality, check out our line of Bio Retinoid products powered by Bidens Pilosa, our plant-derived alternative to retinoid.

Start by cleansing your face. Then apply Bio Retinoid™ Youth Serum. This serum combines Ceramides and Niacinamide to help firm, even tone and pigmentation, plump, smooth, and improve elasticity. Massage onto your face, neck and décolleté until fully absorbed.

Follow up with Bio Retinoid™ Youth Concentrate Oil. Just warm five drops of it in the palm of your hand and then apply to your skin by gently patting the oil over your face, neck, and décolleté. In addition to the natural retinoid alternative, this oil features Organic Rosehip Oil and Sea Buckthorn Oil to nourish the skin intensely.

Follow it with one to two pumps of Bio Retinoid™ Youth Cream. Massage it over your face and neck, working in upwards and outwards motions until the cream is fully absorbed. This product also features our natural retinoid alternative, as well as Red Algae extract for an instant visible-lift effect, and Olive Leaf extract to help prevent loss of firmness while better protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by environmental pollution.

In the morning, after cleansing, toning, and applying any other face serums, reach for Bio Retinoid Youth Cream and apply it using the same method. Follow with sunscreen and take on the day.

Complement Your Routine

Retinoids are fabulous ingredients to work into your skincare routine, and you can do so easily by following the routine above. They are especially beneficial to support anti-aging efforts, but they aren’t the only ingredients you need for visibly healthy skin. Sunscreen, of course, is a critical component of complete skin care and is your best defense against the visible signs of aging. And vitamin C has a host of benefits as well. There are so many incredible ingredients you can use to protect, nourish, and care for your skin, but if you prioritize these in addition to retinoids, you will see wonderful results.


  1. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology
  2. What’s the Difference Between Retinol and Retinoid?
  3. Retinol vs. Retinoids
  4. What is Retinol?
  5. What to know about Retinoids

About the Author

Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.

She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favourite part working for REN.