Retinaldehyde is a relatively new form of the vitamin A series of retinols that work on wrinkles and aging skin. Early reviews claim that it is “stronger” than most over the counter retinols as well as being “gentler” since most retinols can be quite irritating on sensitive skin. All retin-A products are biochemical exfoliators that remove the outermost layer of skin cells and encourage new ones to form. This in turn reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Early research shows that skin is able to convert retinaldehyde more quickly and efficiently into vitamin A than other forms of retinol which in turn reduces the side effects. Much research remains to be done (to determine optimal concentrations and relative effectiveness), but in the meantime, people with sensitive skin may want to give topical retinaldehyde a try. In addition to skin rejuvenation, retinaldehyde also has some promise as an effective acne treatment, especially in combination with other anti-acne agents. Over-the-counter skin care products containing retinaldehyde are few and far between (and quite costly), but if research pans out, may become a promising treatment with fewer side effects than other retin A formulations.

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