Pro-retinol is a trademarked name for a derivative of vitamin A marketed by the cosmetic company L'Oreal. It's used as an ingredient in topical anti-aging and wrinkle-diminishing creams and moisturizers. A 2007 study performed by University of Michigan researchers found that retinol, the primary ingredient in pro-retinol, does smooth wrinkles due to aging as well as minimize fine lines in skin that's experienced sun damage.
Retinol is an antioxidant that can be absorbed through the skin. The University of Michigan researchers note that it helps improve production of collagen, the skin's primary building block, making the skin less vulnerable to injury and enhancing its elasticity. Retinol can also increase the number of glycosaminoglycans, compounds that keep the skin hydrated. Retinol exists in many different over-the-counter and prescription skin creams, but the derivative known as pro-retinol is only available in Advanced Revitalift, a L'Oreal product.