One of our most popular prescription medications is Retin-A Tretinoin. Why? It is one of the most powerful products in the war against aging skin.
Many scientific studies, and my own experience utilizing Tretinoin personally and in my practice, have shown these powerful results: (Already sold on the power of Tretinoin? Check out these helpful tips for using it.)
- Tretinoin has proven itself to reduce, reverse and prevent wrinkles. (The younger a person starts using it, meaning in their teens and twenties, the more benefits they receive. But, it’s never too late to start using it!)
- Tretinoin helps lighten and prevent age spots.
- Tretinoin builds collagen to thicken and increase the structural strength of treated skin.
- Tretinoin helps to decrease a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. (This should be reason enough!)
- Skin just looks better and younger when people use Tretinoin.
When used correctly, Tretinoin does amazing things for skin!
I recently had some interesting conversations with two patients, both of whom expressed gratitude for my recommending Tretinoin years ago. They both attributed the healthy condition of their skin to their years of Tretinoin skin therapy.
The first patient is a woman in her early 60s with rosacea (Learn more about rosacea in my e-book, Rosacea: Understanding What It Is and What You Can Do about It.) and a history of skin cancer who said that she had more wrinkles 15 years ago when she started using Tretinoin than she does today! Her pores appear smaller and her skin texture is better, both of which she credits to her Tretinoin usage.
The second patient just turned 39 and looks like she is in her mid-twenties, no joke. She started using Tretinoin when she was 27 and also believes she looks better now than she did then. She even had a woman giving her a pedicure stunned to find out she was over 30!
Tips for Getting the Most out of Tretinoin
Retin-A Tretinoin is clearly a powerful skin care treatment, but there are tricks for using it to get the greatest benefits. Here’s what I tell my patients:
- Always apply it to your skin at bedtime.
Never use it during the day.
- Never layer tretinoin with benzoyl peroxide and ideally don’t apply it when you also have acid products on your skin like vitamin C, glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
- Always wait at least 15-30 minutes after cleansing and applying any other skin care products to your skin before you apply Tretinoin.
I personally keep my tube of Tretinoin on my bedside table and read a little to pass the time before I apply it.
Despite the many benefits of Retin-A Tretinoin therapy to prevent wrinkles and aging skin, it can result in some issues if it’s not used correctly. For instance, when starting Tretinoin therapy, you need to begin with “pearl-sized” portions for the face, neck and chest.
It is important to begin using it gradually to allow your skin to adjust. I recommend that patients use it twice a week (every third night) for the first couple of months. During this time, understand that a little scaliness and irritation is normal at first, but if the treated skin becomes really sensitive, back off the Tretinoin for a bit. Let your skin return to normal before you begin the treatment again. As your skin adjusts, slowly try to increase to using it every night.
Now, if your skin continues to become irritated and just won’t adjust to Tretinoin treatment, switch to entirely non-irritating cleansers like Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser or Calming Zinc ® Soap. Many other cleansers are simply too irritating for Tretinoin-treated skin.
Since Retin-A Tretinoin can be a tricky medicine, you need to be aware of the following warnings:
- Tretinoin-treated skin is very exfoliated and should not be waxed for hair removal.
- Any doctor or skin care specialist performing a procedure such as a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, laser or light treatments, etc., needs to know if you are on Tretinoin. It could interfere with your other treatments so they may ask you to stop using it for a period of time before and after your procedure.
- Anyone who is or may be pregnant should not use Tretinoin.
- It is critically important for anyone using Tretinoin to take the strongest precautions in the sun. As mentioned above, skin treated with Tretinoin is very exfoliated. This means that, if Tretinoin users do not aggressively embrace sun protection, they will have more sun damage on their skin than if they never used Tretinoin.In short, if you use Tretinoin, you should wear a really good sunscreen on your treated skin every day.
- At Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, we recommend our mineral zinc oxide sunscreens because we believe they give the best sun protection. My personal favorite is our Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreen for all skin types or Citrix Sunscreen SPF 40. Both are oil-free and invisible on the skin. I’ve worn one of these every day for all these years I’ve used Tretinoin. I also love and highly recommend Suntegrity 5-in-1 BB Cream for dry sky types.
If your skin becomes red and even further irritated by elements such as the wind, sunburn, harsh products, or surgical or cosmetic procedures, Tretinoin should not be applied until the skin has entirely returned to normal.
To also help you reap the bounty of benefits that Tretinoin treatment offers, I suggest patients use it in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory and soothing product. The most effective choice is Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy . The high concentration of green tea antioxidants combined with caffeine in this product help patients adjust to, and tolerate, Tretinoin better.
In fact, sometimes just adding the Green Tea to your skin care creates all the difference between a positive and a troublesome experience with this great medicine. Apply these products twice a day after washing, and apply your other skin care products on top of it.
I love all of Dr. Bailey’s products, but if I had to choose just one, I would have to go with the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy. I love the way it makes my skin feel and keeps my skin from getting all flaky from the Retin-A.Anne F.
As I’ve said, I’ve used Tretinoin for anti-aging for over 25 years and will continue to do so. I see the benefits every day in the mirror, and for me, these benefits outweigh the inconveniences. How about you? What are your stories?
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