The key difference between Retinol and Retin A is that the retinol is a natural form of vitamin A while Retin A is an artificial form of vitamin A derived from retinoic acid. Importantly, Retinol is a chemical name while Retin A is a brand name for tretinoin.
Vitamin A is a category of unsaturated organic compounds in the context of nutrition. It contains different derivatives. These derivatives are extremely popular in the modern world as they help to prevent and reverse the signs of aging. Hence, derivatives of retinol are used as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Retinol and Retin A are two derivatives of vitamin A. Retinol is a chemical name, but Retin A is a trade name for the chemical tretinoin. Moreover, Vitamin A is essential for growth and development as well as for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A. It is a diterpenoid and an alcohol. Retinol could be converted to other forms of vitamin A such as retinaldehyde (retinal). The chemical formula of retinol is C20H30O. Its molar mass is 286.46 gmol−1. Retinol is biosynthesized from β-carotene. Since retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, it has many biological roles.
Retinol actively contributes to the growth and development of embryos. Hence, it influences the process of cell differentiation in which stem cells differentiate into specialized cells that have more committed fates. Furthermore, it is essential for remineralization of teeth, bone growth and skin health. Moreover, retinol plays a big role in the immune system and vision cycle as well.
In addition, retinol contributes to the normal functioning of epithelial cells. In the context of medicinal uses, retinol is used in the cosmetic industry as anti-aging and stretch mark ointments. Also, it is a preventive factor for night blindness and treatment for pale and dry skin.
What is Retin A?
Retin A is an artificial form of Vitamin A derived from retinoic acid. In other words, it is the artificial pharmaceutical form of Vitamin A. In fact, Retin A is the trade name of the chemical tretinoin. Since it is synthesized by means of artificial derivatives, it is an important medication for basic health systems. The discovery of Retin A occurred accidentally more than 25 years ago as a treatment for acne. The chemical formula and molar mass of Retin A is C20H28O2 and 300.4412 g/mol, respectively.
In biological systems, Retin A plays a major role in aging. Retin A has medicinal uses in the areas of dermatology and cancer treatment. In dermatology, Retin A is a good curing agent of acne. It is also useful as a treatment for hair loss, removal of wrinkles and slow skin aging. In cancer treatment, Retin A has is useful in treating acute promyelocytic leukemia.
What are the Similarities Between Retinol and Retin A?
- Both retinol and Retin A are derivatives of vitamin A.
- They are retinoids.
- Thus, both forms are used as therapeutics in the field of dermatology.
- Also, the common elements of both retinol and Retin A are carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O).
What is the Difference Between Retinol and Retin A?
Both retinol and Retin A are types of retinoids. However, retinol is a natural form of vitamin A. On the other hand, Retin A is a synthetic form of vitamin A. Thus, we can consider this as the key difference between retinol and Retin A. Furthermore, Retinol is a chemical name while Retin A is a brand name for the medication tretinoin. Hence, this is also a difference between retinol and Retin A.
Considering the chemical properties, the molecular mass of retinol is 286.46 gmol-1 while the molecular mass of Retin A is 300.44 gmol-1. Chemically, this is one difference between retinol and Retin A. Furthermore, the chemical formula of retinol is C20H30O while the chemical formula of Retin A is C20H28O2. Moreover, a further chemical difference between retinol and Retin A is that the retinol has a lower melting point while it is high in Retin A.
The below info-graphic lists out the comparative difference between retinol and Retin A.
Summary – Retinol vs Retin A
Vitamin A is essential for normal growth and development, vision and for the immune system. It consists of different derivatives. Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A. It is an alcohol. But, Retin A is an artificial form of vitamin A derived from retinoic acid. So, this is the key difference between retinol and Retin A. However, both forms contain C, H, and O as common elements. Initially, Retin A was used to treat acne. But now, it is used as a therapeutic for acute promyelocytic leukemia as well. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between retinol and Retin A.
1. Palmer, Angela. “Retinol vs. Retin-A: Demystifying Topical Retinoids.” Verywell Health, Available here.
2. “Vitamin A.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Oct. 2017, Available here.
1. “Retinol” By Dwmyers – en:Image:Retinol.png (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Power Retinol Triple Actividad Retinoidea – Power Retinol Triple Retinol Potency” By Skeyndor (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr