Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds related to Vitamin A, is used to treat acne and sun damage. These topicals include tretinoin ( Retin A, Avita, and Renova), adapalene ((Differin), tazarontene (Tazorac) retinol and retinal propionate. Most of these are available in gel, serum and cream formulations.
Retinoid gels and serums are helpful in the treatment of non-inflamed blackheads, closed comedones(whiteheads), clogged pores and rough texture. They should never be used in active pimples and/or pustules. EVER. Retinoids in all forms make the skin extremely sun-sensitive and a good sunscreen is a must where using this treatment. The emollient cream versions are often loaded with pore-clogging ingredients and can seriously aggravate acne. The cream forms of retinoids are most useful for skin that is sun damaged that is NOT acne prone. The problem with retinoids is this: while they facilitate a desirable peeling deep in the follicle that helps loosen and dislodge comedones, they do not kill the bacteria associated with some acne. All retinoids should only be used at night. Never in the day. Some over the counter products have recently included retinoids in their day cream totting 2 for 1 product. Do not go there. This is strictly marketing and not good skin care.