Retinol is a weaker, non-pharmaceutical-strength retinoid found in over-the-counter skin aging creams. It is a precursor of the active ingredient, retinoic acid, in prescription-level retinoids. Because retinols require conversion to retinoic acid before they can work on the skin, they are not nearly as effective as prescription-level retinoids. Retinol creams take about three to six months to show visible results, with the best results showing after twelve months.
Retinoids are vitamin A and its natural derivatives. Retinoid creams work faster than retinol creams. Plus, your board-certified doctor uniquely tailors your retinoid cream to your skin type.