Tips and Tricks for Retin A – the Anti-Aging Wonder

Every Dermatology or Aesthetic meeting I have ever been too, like the recent Aesthetic Extenders Symposium in Miami, always talks about the importance of using Retin A (also known as Renova, Tazorac, Aveage, tretinoin, derivatives of Vitamin A). Unlike most topical products, there is proof that it works! Retin A has been used for acne for over 40 years and is shown to help eliminate and prevent plugging of the skin. It also exfoliates. In 1988 a study out of Michigan was published about Retin A’s effect on photo damaged skin, showing it statistically improved skin. There have since been many studies showing that it actually works to remodel skin on a cellular level. Skin cells contain retinoid receptors that help regulate how cells function. As we age our cells are more erratic (like the rest of our body). Consistent use of Retin A helps normalize the cells. Now that I think of if maybe we need to bathe in it!
So why isn’t it more popular? Unfortunately, if it isn’t used properly it can be irritating and people give up.

Here are a few tips:
– It is best tolerated if used at bedtime.
– Never apply it over glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide (it oxidizes).
– Always wait at least 15 minutes until your skin is dry, or use a hair dryer.
– Start by using it only twice a week and slowly increase to every night over a month or two. If you have a little excess dryness or redness skip a few nights then try again. If you are really struggling apply moisturizer with it.
– It makes you more sensitive to sun so make sure you use sunscreen and or don’t take it on a sunny vacation.
– Use only a small pea sized amount.
– If you are having a treatment such as waxing you may want to stop for a few days before and after.
If you are going to have a procedure (peel, laser, MDA) you may be asked to stop before and hold off after.
Most MD’s prefer you not use it with pregnancy.

Retin A studies show:
– It has proven to reduce, prevent and improve wrinkles and benefits all age groups.
– The younger you start the more benefit you have.
– It helps lighten and prevent age spots.
– It builds collagen to thicken and increase structural strength of the skin.
– It helps to reduce a person’s risk of skin cancer.
– The skin just looks better when you use it.
– It takes at least 30 days for your skin to turn over one time so with any new product you need to give it 4-6 months.

In my opinion: Retin A is the #1 anti aging product on the market. If you are really struggling getting started there are over the counter retinoids and once you adjust to it you can move to the prescription strength. We carry both at Dermatology Northwest.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.