Tretinoin is the form of vitamin A that doctors prescribe for acne & anti-aging treatments. It comes in cream or gel and works best for dry skin.
This super-power topical medication can do a lot – reduce wrinkles, clear acne, even out skin tone & pigmentation, lighten melasma and boost collagen levels so cheeks look fuller – but it does take time.
Tretinoin has been a proven treatment for acne since it was first introduced to the medical community almost a half century ago. It works by unclogging pores and preventing bacteria colonization that causes acne.
It also helps diminish the appearance of pitted, textured scars from acne by kick-starting collagen formation. Although it may not be able to completely eliminate scarring, tretinoin can greatly reduce its appearance when used over a long period of time.
Unlike most other popular anti-acne medications, tretinoin is applied topically rather than swallowed orally. It is safe for most people to use except those with extremely sensitive skin, rosacea or who are pregnant (it can cause harm to the fetus). It’s important to only apply tretinoin when your face is clean and dry so it doesn’t burn or irritate the skin. A pea-sized amount of the cream or gel should be squeezed out onto the finger and gently rubbed in. It’s normal for acne to worsen during the first 3 to 6 weeks of use, but it should improve over time.
Tretinoin is one of the few treatments for wrinkles that is backed up by serious scientific research. It speeds up the skin’s cellular turnover, and helps your skin cells to act in a more youthful way. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improves skin texture.
It also helps you get rid of the dark areas caused by melanin deposits. This includes melasma, and the brown spots that may occur in pregnancy or while taking birth control pills. It can be combined with alpha hydroxy acids for additional skin-smoothing effects.
You should avoid using other products that can make your skin dry or irritated while you’re taking Tretinoin. This includes certain astringents, shampoos, and toiletries that contain alcohol or spices. It’s also important to avoid excessive sunlight exposure, both natural and from sunlamps. Make sure you use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), wear a hat, and stay in the shade as much as possible.
Skin Lightening Treatment
Tretinoin accelerates cell turnover and may cause a temporary period of inflamed, red and flaking dry skin. It is best to start slow with application (2-3 nights per week) and increase frequency as your skin adjusts.
Unlike some other lightening ingredients, like hydroquinone, tretinoin does not inhibit your body’s production of melanin. Instead, it fades dark spots by speeding up the process of removing old cells and producing new ones with your natural skin tone.
Studies* have shown that tretinoin is effective in treating hyperpigmentation of the face, such as acne scars and age spots. This includes Black and brown skin tones, as opposed to the common misconception that it won’t work on dark skin.
It is important to avoid using tretinoin on sunburned or open wounds, as it can be too irritating. It is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Tretinoin is available by prescription only and can be obtained from your doctor or a dermatologist after a consultation.
Many over-the-counter wrinkle products claim to be able to reduce fine lines and dark spots, but only tretinoin has been scientifically proven to do so. It works wonders for aging skin by speeding up cell turnover, which in turn reduces fine wrinkles, age spots, and rough skin patches.
It also helps soften fine lines and wrinkles by encouraging the growth of new skin cells. Tretinoin has also been shown to increase the production of collagen, which improves skin elasticity and tone.
Tretinoin can cause some serious side effects, so it’s important to use it only under a doctor’s supervision. If you are concerned about the risks, talk to your doctor about other anti-aging options that may be safer and equally effective.
You can also start with less potent retinoids such as adapalene or Differin, which are available over-the-counter and then gradually move to prescription tretinoin. Tretinoin is available in three different strengths and it is recommended that you ‘prime’ your skin with lower strength retinoids before starting on higher-strength tretinoin.