Retinol vs. Peptides. Which is better for wrinkles & anti-ageing?

We have plenty of age-defying lotions and potions in our skincare lines. Our anti-aging products are formulated with both Retinol and Peptides (Eg: Tuel U Turn Serum). Both produce amazing results! But what’s the difference? Is one ingredient better than the other? And why should you care? Read on as we explore these two anti-aging wonder ingredients.

It’s all about the collagen

Most of our skin is made up of collagen. Collagen is a protein made of long chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It’s the stuff that keeps your skin firm, thick, tight, and smooth. As we age, our collagen breaks down. Under normal conditions, the body doesn’t fully replace this lost collagen because the production rate slows as we age. This is what causes the skin to become thinner and drier, leading to wrinkles.

Luckily in the modern age of dermal witchcraft, we now the ability to slow the age train with mere topical products.


Peptides “trick” the skin into producing more collagen

Peptides used in beauty products trigger the production of collagen. This ingredient fools the body into believing the peptides are decomposed collagen, so it, in turn, produces more collagen. An example here is Tripeptide-3.

Peptides can also reduce inflammation

Some peptides also act as antioxidants, these prevent and repair skin damage from the sun, stress, smoking, air pollution, and normal aging processes. An example of palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. It reduces the production of interleukin. The body produces interleukin as an inflammatory response to skin damage.

Pretty neat, right?


‘Retinoids’ is an umbrella term for vitamin A. The two main retinoids are retinol and tretinoin, the latter of which is prescription-only. Retinol appears in many serums and creams, both professional and supermarket. Just like peptides, retinol smooths wrinkles and tightens the skin. It is considered more of a long-term solution rather than a “quick fix” like peptides.

How does Retinol work?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. It has no effects on the skin until enzymes transform it into retinaldehyde and then retinoic acid. The process can take a few weeks or more. The retinoic acid penetrates deeply into the skin and triggers collagen production. This smooths wrinkles and other blemishes over time.

Are there any side affects?

Retinol can make the skin more sensitive to the damaging rays of the sun. Sunscreen and retinol should always go together. For this reason, some clients may not be suitable candidates for retinoids. Similarly, overuse of vitamin A can cause damage.

So, which is better?

Both retinoids and peptides have the potential to beautify the skin. Though retinoids are superb exfoliators, they require clients to be more cautious about sun protection. In addition, retinol acts very slowly.

Peptides require you to do a little more research because each one is different. But, if you want fast and lasting results, using a product containing peptides that are compatible with your skin type can help you achieve your goals. 

Peptides are great for sensitive skin or skin that is new to an anti-aging routine. They are less invasive than retinol, so you can use peptides alongside other skincare ingredients without having to worry that you might get some crazy result from trying to be your own cosmetic mixologist.

Retinol, on the other hand, is commonly used in anti-aging skincare for a reason. That’s because it is the most powerful ingredient found in topical skincare when it comes to promoting skin renewal. When you’re looking for a bit of oomph – this is the one.

The bottom line

Want an everyday anti-ageing product? A little lazy with the sunscreen? Don’t like folloing instructions? Peptide-based products are for you!

Religious with sunscreen? Need a little extra oomph? Have the extra time for alternating steps in your routine? Grab that Retinol, baby!


1. Jeong S, Yoon S, Kim S, et al. Anti-Wrinkle Benefits of Peptides Complex Stimulating Skin Basement Membrane Proteins Expression. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;21(1):73. Published 2019 Dec 20. doi:10.3390/ijms21010073

2. Improvement of NaturaKafi R, Kwak HSR, Schumacher WE, et al. Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(5):606–612. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.5.606lly Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol)