If you’re not familiar with this lesser-known retinoid, let me first explain what it is and how it’s different than other retinoids. Board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, broke it down for us. “Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR) is a type of retinoid that is considered an ester of retinoic acid,” she explains. “This means that it tends to be more potent than traditional retinol without being as irritating as a prescription retinoid.”
This type of retinoid can be particularly helpful for those with sensitive skin or those who are new to using retinoids for this reason. Garshick adds, “It can be a great option for someone who is unable to tolerate a prescription retinoid. Since it doesn’t require as many steps to be converted to retinoic acid, unlike traditional retinol, it may be more effective than retinol while still being less irritating than a prescription retinoid, which is what makes it a good option for those with sensitive skin.”
I’m excited to try this type of retinoid since I used tretinoin for years only to realize that it was way too strong for my sensitive skin and did my moisture barrier no favors. I’m still dealing with the damage, but I’m ready to incorporate a gentler retinoid like hydroxypinacolone retinoate. For Garshick’s recs and a few more options with HPR, keep scrolling.