Is Retin-A Vegan? What Is Retin-A Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: September 2022.
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Retin-A is an acne-reducing active ingredient not available over the counter. As Retin-A is a retinoid, it is vegan. Retinoids in skincare are always synthetical and therefore vegan-friendly.

The powerful ingredient is mainly used for treating acne. However, it has many other features as well. Let’s find out more about them.

What Is Retin-A? What Is Retin-A Made Of?

Retin-A is a vitamin A acid. It is considered to be one of the only care ingredients that science has definitely shown to have a skin-rejuvenating effect. 

Retin-A is a part of the active substance group of retinoids aka vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A acid is also formed when the popular skincare ingredient retinol converts to retinoic acid in the body. 

And that is the difference between retinol and Retin-A. When applied to the skin, retinol converts into retinoic acid which the skin benefits from. Retin-A, however, is applied directly in the form of retinoic acid. Therefore, it has a much stronger effect. 

For this reason, Retin-A is not sold as an over-the-counter product. Mostly, Retin-A preparations are only available in pharmacies with a prescription. So, the higher the vitamin A acid concentration, the stronger the effect.

The anti-aging effect of Retin-A was discovered by accident. In a study by the American dermatologist Albert M. Kligman in the1980s, which was actually about the treatment of acne. 

As Retin-A is a vitamin A derivative and retinoid, it is always vegan. Retinoids in skincare are always synthetical. Retin-A is also known as tretinoin, Altreno, Atralin, Avita, Refissa, and Renova.

Why Is Retin-A Used In Skincare?

Retin-A is used in skincare because it has a healing effect on acne. It also helps prevent pimples and treats hyperpigmentation. Retin-A stimulates skin renewal as well as collagen production. And therefore reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

The active ingredient Retin-A is most commonly used to work against acne and blemished skin. It normalizes skin formation and renewal as it has keratolytic aka horn-dissolving properties.

This means that by regularly applying vitamin A acid creams, excess calluses are removed and sebum can flow out more quickly. Since sebum blockages are one of the main triggers for blackheads, this is also the reason why Retin-A has also a blackhead-dissolving effect.

Further, Retin-A has an anti-aging effect. It is a skin rejuvenator and works against wrinkles even better than retinol. In addition to the anti-blackhead effect, vitamin A acid promotes healthy cell division. So, it stimulates the formation of collagen and elastin.  As a result, wrinkles smooth out, the skin becomes more elastic, and has more resilience.

However, Retin-A is not for sensitive skin. It can cause irritation, dryness, or burning sensations. It is also important to use tretinoin in the evening, as it makes the skin more sensitive to UV light.

FAQ About Retin-A

What is Retin-A?

Retin-A is a part of the active substance group of retinoids aka vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A acid is also formed when the popular skincare ingredient retinol converts to retinoic acid in the body. It is considered to be one of the only care ingredients that science has definitely shown to have a skin-rejuvenating effect. 

Is Retin-A vegan?

Retin-A could be both, vegan and non-vegan. Vitamin A could come from animal sources as well as plants.

Summary

Tretinoin aka Retin-A is a retinoid and is available as a gel, cream, or ointment. It is usually used to treat mild to moderate acne and hyperpigmentation. Retin-A requires a prescription.

As Retin-A is a retinoid, it is always vegan. In skin care, retinoids are always synthetical. That, however, does not mean that the rest of the Retin-A product does not include any animal-derived ingredients. So, if you want vegan skincare with vitamin A, shop at 100% vegan brands.

See also: Vegan Anti-Aging Skincare In 2022, Best Vegan Retinols In 2022

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.