What is Retinaldehyde and what are its benefits?

Suzan Obagi MD Retivance by

In the battle against aging skin, there are so-called “miracle” ingredients that always seem to pop up as the best solutions to fight undesirable skin conditions.
One such skin-saving ingredient we start hearing about in our twenties and thirties is a Gold Standard in Skin Care. We’re talking about Retinol of course.


Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is a class of Vitamin A compounds and derivatives that are popular in products designed to improve skin complexion and texture. Retinoids come in different forms and strengths. Some can only be prescribed by your board-certified dermatologist whereas others are available over the counter. Retinol is a non-prescription retinoid that has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin texture, and improve overall skin tone.

But if Retinol has left you unsatisfied, you may be tempted by a different retinoid for your aging skin: Retinol’s gentle cousin, Retinaldehyde.

Like all non-prescription retinoids, both Retinaldehyde and Retinol have to be first converted by skin enzymes to the only active form of Vitamin A (aka Retinoic Acid) before they can start working their rejuvenating magic. Here’s the sequence of the conversion process:

Retinyl palmitate → Retinol → Retinaldehyde → Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin)

The closer on this cascade a compound is to Retinoic Acid, the more readily it can be converted, and the more effective it becomes. However, effectiveness can have drawbacks, and side effects like redness, flaky skin, and irritation, even temporary, are often encountered when using Retinoic acid. The search for a compromise between effectiveness and mildness can leave you frustrated. This is where Retinaldehyde comes in.


Retinaldehyde has been shown to improve the feel of firmness and elasticity, and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and rough skin. It is also better tolerated than Retinoic Acid, making it an attractive option for those with sensitive or delicate skin.

Should I use a Retinaldehyde product?

If you’d like to explore an alternative option to address aging skin, or if your skin simply doesn’t play well with other retinoids, we highly recommend giving Retinaldehyde a try.

Ask our board-certified dermatologist about our SUZANOBAGIMD Retivance® Skin Rejuvenating Complex, which includes 0.1% Retinaldehyde and other key ingredients, such as Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 and Antioxidants, which work together to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin texture, leaving you with a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion.