A woman in a beige dress holds a pipette with a drop of retinol serum
MARIYA BORISOVA / GETTY IMAGES

Retinoids are a group of vitamin-A based products used to treat various skin conditions.1 Retinoids include numerous vitamin A products, and retinol is one form that retinoids can take.

In general, retinoids are available as stronger, prescription-based skin care products used to treat acne. On the other hand, retinol is an ingredient in weaker, over-the-counter (OTC) skin care products that focus on skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.2

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