Skip to main content

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.

Exploring the Various Forms of Vitamin A Derivatives: A Comprehensive Guide

Vitamin A Derivatives: An Exclusive Guide

Vitamin A - a popular ingredient for skincare enthusiasts has a wide range of benefits, including anti-ageing effects and serving as an anti-acne treatment. While our skin desperately needs vitamin A for multiple concerns, it cannot be synthesised in our bodies naturally.

That’s quite unfortunate! But nature has given its sources so you don’t have to compromise anyways.

Whether you intake vitamin A in the form of a capsule as a supplement or try integrating it strictly into your skincare routine, it comes with a bundle of efficacies for your skin. But vitamin A doesn’t necessarily mean “the vitamin A” every time. It can be retinol sometimes, and retinaldehyde other times.

To clear the bubble of confusion, these are the derived forms of vitamin A, commonly called vitamin A derivates. So let's explore vitamin A and its derivates to grasp which might suit you and which you avoid.

Understanding Vitamin A

As the National Insitute of Health explains that vitamin A is a name of the group of fat-soluble retinoids, primarily retinol and retinyl esters, which contribute directly to the skin’s health. It is a powerhouse ingredient in skincare. Skin experts and dermatologists delve into vitamin A, and its derivates much more than the other skincare ingredients.

Holding loads of proven benefits, vitamin A has a lot to offer to your skin:

  • Promotes Collagen Synthesis: Collagen protein is one of the building blocks of your skin, and vitamin A stimulates the production of collagen resulting in more youthful radiance to the skin, making it plumper.
  • Maintains the Layers of the Skin: This Vitamin promotes the overall well-being of the two top skin lawyers, the dermis and epidermis by keeping them healthy. This further helps with improving the skin’s texture and tone
    Layers of Human skin
  • Normsalises Cell’s Function: This is vitamin A’s special ability due to which it can handle the way the cell behaves. It controls it and encourages younger-looking skin.
  • Prevents Breakouts: Vitamin A normalises the oil production in the skin and has healing properties for wounds and helps acne breakouts making skin clearer and soothed.
  • Helps with Pigmentation: It regulates the activity of a vital enzyme involved in the production of melanin called tyrosinase.
  • Regenerates Newer Cells: Vitamin A helps the shedding of old cells of the skin while stimulating the new cells that are healthier in nature.
  • Fights Ageing: Experts believe that vitamin A is quite constructive and give positive results when it comes to dealing with wrinkles and fine lines.

Vitamin A Derivatives

Some compounds are derived from vitamin A to be used for pharmaceutical and skincare benefits. The most popular one is - Retinol.


This name is given to the whole molecule of vitamin A. Some may confuse retinol with vitamin A because it is the most popular form of the latter. Vitamin A has a sub-family called retinoids, and retinol belongs to them. Retinol needs to be converted into retinoic acid before it acts on the skin to provide benefits, and that may lead to slower results. Certain enzymes in our body perform this action.

Retinol is a powerful ingredient as its way of communicating with the skin cells is entirely unique. It's right to claim that retinol almost tells the skin to behave in a certain manner and look younger.

Let’s talk about some of the crucial benefits retinol can provide to our skin;

It helps in pore unclogging. This action further reduces the chances of other skin concerns, including blackheads and whiteheads.

Retinol makes skin look younger and plumper.

The other most talked about factor is its ability to work on wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Overall your skin may feel fresher and plump after using retinol with consistency.

Retinoic Acid

Retinol and retinoic acid are related compounds but not the same. This biologically active form of vitamin A has played an integral role in medical and cosmetic applications over the past few years. Dermatologists prefer retinoic acid over retinol because the latter is less potent than compared to former.

Certain forms of hyperpigmentation, including that from acne can witness clear results with the consistent use of retinoic acid. It promotes clear and clean skin by improving the turnover of the cells and assists in pore unclogging, similar to retinol.

Retonic acid helps to improve skin texture

While regular usage of this skincare ingredient can help improve the skin texture, and make your skin a more youthful complexion, it affects the process of collagen production to fight the wrinkled skin and other aging signs.


Commonly known as retinal, retinaldehyde is among the strongest vitamin A derivative forms and belongs to the retinoid family.

The best thing about using retinaldehyde is that its effect stays somewhere between the retinol and retinoic acid. Its potency is greater than that of retinol but at the same time, it is a milder option than retinoic acid.

While its effects are no lot different than other derivates of vitamin A, it can be a proven-safe option and might cause less irritation to the skin. If your skin is found to be sensitive and may easily become the soft target of redness and peeling, you may try this one.

DRSQ uses retinaldehyde - the intermediary, instead of retinol or retinoic acid to help you avail the best benefits for your skin and provide optimal results.

The over-the-counter formulations can be easily available, though depending upon your location. You may opt for them if you are trying to incorporate retinaldehyde into your skincare regimen without any prescription. But be careful!

Other Lesser Known Derivates

Other than popular forms of vitamin A, like retinol and retinaldehyde, there are other lesser-known derivatives with a lot of skincare benefits. Have a glance!

  1. Retinyl Acetate: This form is less potent and promotes a radiant appearance. You can find it in the ingredient list of many skincare essentials.
  2. Retinyl Palmitate: This can be a good alternative for people with sensitive skin. Retinyl Palmitate is a less potent form than retinaldehyde and retinol. It is an over-the-counter skincare ingredient and can be encouraging if you are new to vitamin A in your skincare routine.
  3. Adapalene: Adapalene treats stubborn acne with over-the-counter and prescription formulations. Being a popular choice for acne-prone skin, it deep cleans the pores and unclogs them.
  4. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate: Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate or HPR is a comparatively new vitamin A derivative and offers almost similar benefits to retinol to combat ageing and hyperpigmentation.
  5. Retinaldehyde Dimethyl Acetal: This more stable form of retinaldehyde can serve as a great formulation for irritation.

The list is too long to be ended here. All of these formulations whether over-the-counter or prescribed ones must undergo a patch test before applying on the skin directly. It’s advisable to consult a skincare expert or dermatologist prior to using them.

What You Should Know Before Using Vitamin A: Precautions and Considerations

While vitamin A is a proven safe ingredient, it might cause plenty of poor effects when you don’t use this miracle skincare ingredient properly or rush into it without taking adequate knowledge.

Taking some considerations while using vitamin A regardless of its form can be helpful, and enhance its effects.

  1. Don’t Rush: Start with a little amount of vitamin A; go for the less frequent application and lower concentrations; then gradually increase it as your skin becomes used to it. It leaves no or less room for irritation.
  2. Ask an Expert: This can be the smartest move. Ask a dermatologist whether you really need vitamin A, which form must be incorporated and how much is the right amount. Moreover, you need this consultation even more when you’re thinking to mix this ingredient with any other one.
    ask an expert about vitamin a
  3. Do a Patch Test: You may already know the necessity of a patch test before applying or trying anything new on your skin. Do it here as well.
  4. Increase SPF: Using retinoids can make your skin prone to sunburn, hence it is necessary to use a high SPF. Wear sunglasses and protective clothing to save yourself from adverse sun effects.
  5. Be Consistent: It’s a simple rule of skincare that you must be consistent if want long-term and effective results. Don’t expect any overnight changes. Allow time and be patient.
  6. Avoid During Pregnancy: Most skincare experts advise avoiding using retinoids during breastfeeding or the pregnancy phase. So you must ask your doctor before applying it in any form during these stages.

Incorporate Vitamin A Into Your Skincare Routine

A thoughtful approach is required to ensure the effectiveness of vitamin A, especially when you are new to the ingredient. Follow the below-mentioned steps, and give your skin the treatment it needs.

  1. Start with the Cleanser: Choose your skin-friendly product from DRSQ’s range of cleansers. Take 2-3 pea-sized amounts and lather with water, and apply it evenly on the face and neck. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Use Toner: Just like the basic skincare regimen, apply toner to balance the pH of your skin. Choose the hydrating toner to retain moisture in your skin.
  3. Apply Vitamin A Serum: If you are a beginner, you can start with the Starter Vitamin A serum. It contains 0.25% retinaldehyde to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and give you radiant and younger-looking skin with consistent use.
  4. End With Moisturiser: Counteract the dryness with the lightweight moisturiser. Ceramides and hyaluronic acids may be of great help. DRSQ has some exquisite moisturisers for different purposes, you can have a look at them.


Vitamin A is a sought-after ingredient in skincare appearing in various forms, from retinol, retinoic acid, and retinaldehyde to some lesser-known derivatives. While using vitamin A, whether as a pro or a beginner, consistency is required. The different vitamin A forms have different potencies, and they all are extensively useful for skincare concerns, including acne, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. 



Continue reading