Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol: Which Is Better For Your Skin?

This post may contain affiliate links.

should I use granactive retinoid or retinol

Granactive Retinoid Vs Retinol

Retinoids are the most popular anti-aging ingredients in skincare and with so many different types it can get so confusing. Granactive retinoid is the new kid on the block in the world of Retinoids and it’s certainly making waves. It’s often compared to other prescription-only forms of retinoids like Retin-A. So when it comes to Granactive Retinoid vs. Retinol, is one better than the other? Which one is stronger? Keep reading to find out (plus more!).

Retinol Vs Retinoid: What’s The Difference?

There are so many similar sounding names in this post, let’s have a little lesson about them all so we don’t get confused. Retinoids, retinol, granactive retinol – what the heck is the difference?

What Are Retinoids?

Before we dive into granactive retinoid vs retinol, we first need to talk a little bit about retinoids as a whole. Both granactive retinoid and retinol belong to a group called retinoids. Retinoids is just a term for all types of Vitamin A compounds and Vitamin A derivatives.

There are many different types of retinoids – granactive retinoid, retinol and adapalene. There are some retinoids that are only available with a prescription, such as Retin-A (tretinoin) or Tazorac.

The biggest difference between retinol vs retin-a is strength. Prescription only retinoids like tretinoin or retin-a are much stronger than OTC options.

Bottom line: Retinoids is just an umbrella term for all types of Vitamin A products. Granactive retinoid and retinol are just types of retinoids.

Benefits Of Retinoids

Retinoids speed up cell turnover, which can help unclog pores, treat acne, plump skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and so much more. They are mainly used for acne and anti-aging, but have tons of other benefits too.

Here are some benefits of the benefits of retinoids:

  • Acne – Prescription retinoids like Retin-A are FDA approved to treat acne. All retinoids can help treat and prevent acne by speeding up cell turnover and unclogging pores.
  • Treat hyperpigmentation – Retinoids help to fade pigmentation like sun spots and acne scars by speeding up skin cell turnover, revealing new, healthy skin cells
  • Treats shallow or indented scarring – When acne leaves behind atrophic scarring like icepick scars, retinoids can often help by stimulating collagen production which helps to fill in those scars
  • Smooth skin texture – Retinoids help to smooth the skin texture by speeding up cell turnover. Sometimes dead skin cells get stuck on the surface of the skin and can build up and cause rough skin. Retinoids help with skin texture by getting rid of all those dead skin cells that are stuck on the surface and unclogging pores that lead to comedones or other textural issues.
  • Stimulates collagen – Collagen is an essential component of skin structure and as we age, production of it slows. This can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, loss of elasticity and more. By stimulating collagen production, skin remains more youthful and can help with fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and more
  • Fine lines & wrinkles – Retinoids can help lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles by smoothing skin texture and stimulating collagen production to help plump the skin.
  • Minimizes pores – When pores are clogged, they appear larger, and since retinoids help to unclog pores, it helps them appear smaller

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a type of retinoid that’s sold OTC and helps to speed up cell turnover. Retinol can help with a variety of skin issues like acne, aging, hyperpigmentation and texture. Retinol is one of the weaker Retinoids, so it’s less irritating but also not as effective as other forms.

The reason Retinol is less effective is because it has to go through two conversions for our skin to be able to use it. So when retinol is applied, it doesn’t do anything until those conversions happen. The conversion itself takes some time, which is why retinol is considered less effective than other forms like tretinoin. It also means its more gentle.

Related post: Can You Use Retinol That’s Expired?

What Is Granactive Retinoid?

Granactive Retinoid is a next-generation retinoid that delivers all the benefits of retinoids with less irritation. Also known as hydroxypinacolone retinoate or HPR, it is a synthetic retinoic ester (a type of Vitamin A derivative). Since it’s a relatively new ingredient you may be wondering does granactive reitnoid work? How is it different than retinol? Let’s find out!

Traditional retinol esters have to go through conversions before they can start working, which means they are weaker and less effective. Granactive retinoid is a retinoic acid ester, which means it does not have to go through any conversions and can start working immediately.

Granactive retinoid comes along with less side effects, irritation, etc. than other types of retinoids, which make it a great choice for beginners or those who just cannot tolerate traditional retinoids.

Granactive Retinoid Benefits

Wondering what does granactive retinoid do? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot! It has many of the same benefits of retinols but the benefits are even better because granactive retinoids are stronger than OTC retinols.

Granactive retinoid has all the benefits of Retinol and Retinoids – it does the same thing: speed up cell turnover to help with acne, aging, scarring, etc. But Granactive Retinoid does have a few more benefits that make it the superior retinoid.

  • More stable – One major problem with retinoids is that they aren’t incredibly stable and break down when exposed to light and air (which means they become ineffective). Granactive retinoids are significantly more stable, which means they have a longer shelf life and you don’t have to worry as much about using an older retinol.
  • Works immediately – because granactive retinoid does not have to go through any conversions on the skin, it immediately starts working as soon as you put it on. This means that you’ll see better and quicker results than with other types of retinoids that have to go through conversions
  • Efficacy – Granactive retinoids have the same efficacy as stronger forms of retinoids. In fact, it’s been shown that granactive retinoid has about the same efficacy as retinol
  • Less side effects – Even though granactive retinoids are very strong and effective, they have less side effects than retinoids with similar strengths. So granactive retinoid is less irritating than tretinoin or Retin-A. Which is huge because they can cause lots of side effects like dryness, redness, flaking and lots of irritation. So with granactive retinoid, you’re getting all the benefits of a prescription strength retinoid with less side effects!

What Is Granactive Retinoid Good For?

What does granactive retinoid do? Well, everything retinol and retinoids do! It’s just better at speeding up cell turnover, stimulating collagen, clearing skin and reducing texture and fading scarring. And since granactive retinoid side effects tend to be milder, that means they’re a great option for those with drier or sensitive skin.

Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol

which is better granactive retinoid or retinol

When it comes to comparing Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol, there’s a clear winner here: Granactive Retinoid. Not only is it more effective than retinol, it’s more stable, less irritating and widely available OTC.

Granactive Retinoid Vs Retinol For Acne

When it comes to treating acne, stronger is not always best. Many people start off with the strongest retinoid and then find themselves with angry, irritated skin that’s still breaking out. However, for acne, you still need something that’s going to make a difference in those stubborn pimples.

So is granactive retinoid good for acne or is retinol the better option?

Granactive retinoid is the best choice for acne because it’s more effective than retinol and has less side effects. That means you’re getting all those acne-fighting benefits without having to worry about making your skin more angry.

Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol For Sensitive Skin

Granactive retinoid and retinol are both great choices for sensitive skin. However, since Granactive Retinoid is more powerful than retinol, it might be best to start out with Retinol, especially if you’re new to using retinoids.

Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol For Aging Skin

If you want something to help prevent aging, treat fine lines and wrinkles and stimulate collagen, go with Granactive Retinoid all the way. It’s stronger and you’ll get way better results than you would with retinol.

Granactive Retinoid Vs Retinol Strength

Many people wonder is hydroxypinacolone retinoate as effective as retinol? Is granactive retinoid stronger than retinol?

It’s hard to compare the strengths between hydroxypinacolone retinoate and retinol because retinol must go through 3 conversions before it can start working its magic. Whereas granactive retinoid, or HPR starts working as soon as you apply it. Retinol and granactive retinoid also come in varying strengths which makes it hard to compare which one is stronger.

The max percentage of retinols in OTC products is 1%, whereas granactive retinoids usually have 2-5% depending on the formulation. And since retinol must go through 3 conversions, you’re really not getting all of that 1%.

Bottom line: HPR, or granactive retinoid is stronger and more effective than retinol. As far as ranking goes:

retinol > granactive retinoid > all trans retinoic acid

What’s The Difference Between Granactive Retinoid And Retinol?

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between granactive retinoid and retinol, you’re not alone. They sound basically like the same thing! Both are forms of vitamin A, and both are commonly used in skincare products.

Granactive retinoid and retinol are both active ingredients used in skincare products to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. They both work by stimulating collagen production and helping to speed up cell turnover, but there are some key differences between them.

However, they differ in terms of their structure and how they work. Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A that is naturally found in nature. It is converted into retinoic acid, which is the active form of vitamin A, in the body.

Retinoid Acid is a natural form of vitamin A that has been used in skincare for many years. It is more potent than granactive retinoid but can be more irritating to the skin.

Granactive retinoid, on the other hand, is a synthetic form of retinoic acid. Granactive retinoid is a newer ingredient that is said to be more gentle and effective than retinol. It is a synthetic form of vitamin A that is less likely to cause irritation. It is more stable and can be used at higher concentrations than retinol. Additionally, granactive retinoid is more slowly absorbed into the skin, so it is less likely to cause irritation.

Ultimately, both granactive retinoid and retinol can be effective for improving the appearance of skin. However, granactive retinoid may be a better option for those with sensitive skin or for those who are looking for a more potent product.

So, if you’re looking for an effective anti-aging ingredient, granactive retinoid may be the better choice. But if you have sensitive skin, you may want to stick with retinol.

Bottom line: the difference between retinol and granactive retinoid is that granactive retinoid is more effective and less irritating than retinol.

Related post: Switching From Retinol To Retin-A or Tretinoin

Granactive Retinoid Vs Retinol Similarities & Differences

Granactive Retinoid

  • Synthetic
  • More effective (stronger)
  • Less irritating
  • Less side effects
  • More stable
  • Stars working immediately


  • Natural
  • Less effective (weaker)
  • More irritating
  • More side effects
  • Less stable
  • Takes time to start working

Is Granactive Retinoid As Effective As Retinol?

Dermatologists have always recommended retinol for its ability to diminish the signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines. Granactive retinoid, a new generation retinoid, has recently become available and is said to be just as effective as retinol. In fact, studies have shown that granactive retinoid is just as effective as retinol but is less irritating! That means you get all the amazing benefits of retinol without all the nasty side effects like dryness, peeling and irritation!

Granactive retinoid is created from advanced retinoid technology that results in a more stable molecule that is slowly released into the skin over time. This allows granactive retinoid to be just as effective as retinol without the irritation that sometimes accompanies traditional retinoids. So, if you’re looking for an anti-aging powerhouse that won’t irritate your skin, granactive retinoid may be the right choice for you.

Related post: How To Switch From Retinol To Differin

Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol FAQ’s

Still confused about Granactive retinoid vs. retinol? Here’s some FAQ’s that may help.

Is Granactive Retinoid Better Than Retinol?

Granactive retinoid is not “better” than retinol, per say. Granactive retinoid is stronger, more stable and less irritating than retinol. It’s also more effective. So why choose retinol over granactive retinoid? There are times when retinol still makes sense! If you have extremely sensitive skin or are just starting out with retinoids, retinol is a great place to start.

Is The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid a Retinol?

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid is not a retinol, it’s a type of retinoid. Retinol and Granactive retinoid are both types of retinoids, but retinol is weaker and less stable. Many people compare their Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol but they’re not the same at all!

Is retinoid and retinol the same?

Retinol is a retinoid. Retinoid is just an umbrella term for the family of Vitamin A compounds and derivates. Retinol, Granactive retinoid, tretinoin and Retin-A are all types of Retinoids.

Is Granactive retinoid effective?

Yes, Granactive Retinoid is very effective. In fact, its strength is comparable to prescription-only retinoids like Tretinoin or Retin-A

Is Granactive retinoid stronger than retinol?

Granactive Retinoid is stronger than retinol. Retinol is one of the weakest retinoids and Granactive Retinoid is comparable to very strong versions like Retin-A and Tretinoin (which are prescription-only).

Can I use granactive retinoid and retinol together?

You should not use Granactive Retinoid and Retinol together. Although Retinol is weaker, you should only stick with one type of retinoid in your skincare routine. Anything more will potentially cause irritation, dryness and sensitivity, not to mention wreck your moisture barrier.

Granactive Retinoid vs Retinol in Squalane

granactive retinoid vs retinol

Since The Ordinary has such a wide variety of retinoid products, they are often some of the most recommended.

The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid and Retinol in Squalane are two of their most popular products (and both are great). But many people wonder what’s the difference between granactive retinoid and retinol in squalane?

If you are a beginner to retinol, you can either start with The Ordinary Retinol is Squalane or The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid (the lowest strength ones). Both are great options for beginner retinoids, but remember, they are very different.

Granactive retinoid is more effective and has less side effects, so that would be my choice. Unless you have extremely sensitive skin, then I would go with the lowest strength retinol in squalane.

Best Granactive Retinoid Products

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary’s weakest Granactive Retinoid that’s perfect for beginners and those with sensitive skin. Formalated in Squalane to moisturize the skin and protect against irritation, dryness and flaky skin.

It has Jojoba Oil and plant extracts to hydrate and soothe skin, which helps to keep your skin barrier strong and provide extra nutrients for healthier skin.

Pacifica Clean Shot – Granactive Retinoid 5% in Seawater

This Granactive Retinoid is a great alternative for those who don’t love the formulation of The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid. It’s formulated in Seawater, which give this product a very lightweight serum-like texture.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

Their strongest Granactive Retinoid in a unique formulation with Squalane. You get all the benefit of prescription strength retinoids with less irritation (and much cheaper!) plus the nourishing effects of Squalane to help nourish skin and strengthen the skin barrier.

This formula also features Jojoba Oil and plant extracts to moisturize and soothe the skin for even more nourishment.

Best Retinol Products

Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

This product uses a unique form of retinol – 0.5% Retinyl Sunflowerate which is an innovative hybrid of retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids. This helps to deliver retinol so you get all the benefits while nourishing skin to reduce side effects such as flaking skin, irritation and redness.

Mondo Grass Root Extract, Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid help to draw moisture into the skin to keep skin from drying out. Shea butter and plan extracts nourish skin, which makes this a great, gentle retinol for those with sensitive skin or beginners.

Good Molecules Gentle Retinol Cream

Formulated with 0.1% retinol and bakuchiol, a plant based retinol alternative, this product helps to smooth skin texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and clear skin while still being gentle on the skin.

It features Grape Seed Oil, Allantoin and Acmella Oleracea Extract to help hydrate, nourish and soothe the skin to keep skin from getting dried out and irritated.

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

As one of The Ordinary’s best selling products, this retinol is a great option for beginners. It’s their lowest strength retinol delivered in a unique formulation with Squalane which helps to strengthen the skin barrier, reduce flakiness, irritation and dryness while using retinol.

Which Is Better Granactive Retinoid or Retinol?

Overall, granactive retinoid is better than retinol because it’s more effective and less irritating. This means it works faster (and better) without the irritation and dryness often associated with retinoids. It’s no surprise that granactive retinoids have taken over the skincare industry. While there are many more OTC retinol products on the market, you will start to see more products with granactive retinoid because it’s so much better than retinol.

Retinol Vs Granactive Retinoid: Wrap Up

So is retinol or granactive retinoid better? The verdict’s out – Granactive Retinoid is far superior to traditional Retinol. Granactive Retinoid is the new kid on the block that everyone needs to be using. With so many different retinoids on the market, it can be really hard to pick out the differences and figure out which one your skin needs. Granactive Retinoid Vs. Retinol is a pretty easy comparison – Granactive Retinoid works better, is more stable and less irritating than Retinol, so it’s really a no brainer!

Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate Vs Retinol

Similar Posts