Main Difference – Retinol vs Retin A
Derivatives of vitamin A is more popular for preventing and reversing the signs of aging; therefore, these derivatives are highly used for pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Retinol and Retin-A are two popular derivatives of vitamin A. There seems to be a lot of confusion over the difference between Retinol and Retin A. The main difference between Retinol and Retin A is that Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A whereas Retin-A is derived from retinoic acid which is an artificial derivative of vitamin A. Furthermore, Retinol is a chemical name whereas retin A is a trade name of tretinoin. In this article, let’s look at the difference between Retinol and Retin A in terms of their intended uses and other chemical characteristics.
What is Retinol
Retinol is a diterpenoid and an alcohol, and it is known as an animal form of vitamin A. It is convertible to other forms of vitamin A, such as the retinal (retinaldehyde) form. Vitamin A is essential for vision, and retinoic acid is essential for skin health, teeth remineralization and bone growth. It is biosynthesized from the breakdown of β-carotene.
What is Retin-A
Retin-A is derived from retinoic acid in pharmaceutical form. It is the most important medications needed in a basic health system and also used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia. Retin A is a trade name, and its chemical name is known as tretinoin.
Difference Between Retinol and Retin A
The differences between Retinol and Retin-A can be divided into following categories. They are;
Retinol: Vitamin A was first synthesized in 1947 by two Dutch chemists, David Adriaan van Dorp and Jozef Ferdinand Arens. Also, early 20th century, a laboratory in vivo animal or human experiments and epidemiologic observations identified the existence of this unique nutrient and its deficiency syndromes.
Retin-A: Retin-A was accidently discovered more than 25 years ago as a treatment for acne.
Retinol: Retinol is a chemical name.
Retin-A: Retin –A is a trade name of tretinoin chemical compound.
Retinol: The IUPAC name of Retinol is (2E,4E,6E,8E)-3,7-dimethyl-9-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-1-enyl)nona-2,4,6,8-tetraen-1-ol.
Retin-A: The IUPAC name of Retin-A is (2E,4E,6E,8E)-3,7-dimethyl-9-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohexen-1-yl)nona-2,4,6,8-tetraenoic acid.
Retinol: The chemical formula is C20H30O.
Retin-A: The chemical formula is C20H28O2.
Retinol: Molar mass is 286.46 g·mol−1.
Retin-A: Molar mass id 300.4412 g/mol.
Retinol: Its melting temperature is 62–64 °C.
Retin–A: Its melting temperature is 180 °C (356 °F).
Retinol: Retinol has the following biological roles;
- Contribute to the growth and development of embryos and influences the process of cell differentiation
- Influence the process of differentiation of stem cells to more committed fates
- Play a role in vision cycle
- Influence the production of human growth hormone
- Play a role in immune system
- Contribute to the correct functioning of epithelial cells
Retin-A: Retin-A plays a major role in human aging.
Retinol has the following medicinal uses:
- In cosmetic industry, this is used in anti-aging and stretch mark creams
- Prevention of Night blindness, Keratomalacia, and Pale, dry skin
Retin-A has the following medicinal uses:
- Treatment for Dermatology – This is highly used as a form of acne curing agent. Also sometimes use as hair loss treatment, slow skin aging or removing wrinkles. Furthermore, retin-A reduce can increase collagen production in the dermis thereby the appearance of stretch marks can be removed.
- Treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia
Retinol: Natural sources include Cod liver oil, Butter, Margarine, Liver (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish), Eggs, Cheese, and Milk. In addition to that, synthetic retinol or artificial retinol is marketed under different trade names such as Acon, Afaxin, Agiolan, Alphalin, Anatola, Aoral, Apexol, Apostavit, Atav, Avibon, Avita, Avitol, Axerol, Dohyfral A, Epiteliol, Nio-A-Let, Prepalin, Testavol, Vaflol, Vi-Alpha, Vitpex, Vogan, and Vogan-Neu. Furthermore, genetic engineering is used to develop genetically modified food rich in retinol. Example is golden rice.
Retin-A: It is available as a pharmaceutical drug.
In conclusion, retinol and retin-A are metabolites of vitamin A that mediates the functions of vitamin A required for growth and development. Daily diet tends to have required amounts of vitamin A and they are essential nutrients to the human body.
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“Ball model of retinol” By GYassineMrabetTalk. This image was created with PyMOL – Own work, via