Everything You Need to Know About Tretinoin

When it comes to skin care, there are plenty of serums, creams, lotions, and high-tech tools out there, all promising to treat fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles (oh my!). . However, anti-aging creams and gels that contain tretinoin are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason.

Tretinoin, a type of retinoid often used to treat acne, has taken on new life as an anti-aging ingredient, and dermatologists say it is very effective at reversing signs of aging such as fine lines and dark spots. To understand why (and to determine if it’s right for you), you first need to know how it actually works.

People often think of retinol and retinoids in the same sense, but they are not exactly the same, says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS: Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City.

Retinol is available over-the-counter and is generally considered more acceptable for those with sensitive skin , while retinoids usually require a prescription and are a more potent treatment.

Both retinol and retinoids have been studied as one of the most effective ingredients for both the treatment and prevention of wrinkles, and are considered essential ingredients in anti-aging regimens, says Dr. Garshick. Tretinoin is commonly used in the treatment of acne due to its fast-acting, pore-removing abilities, and according to international educator Amanda von dem Hagen of Glo Skin Beauty , the powerful ingredient helps to lower oil levels in the skin. The benefits of tretinoin,” she says, “are that it alters the behavior of aging cells, accelerating cell turnover and acting more youthfully by smoothing and refining the skin’s texture.

Tretinoin, a topical (read: applied to the skin) vitamin A derivative that falls into the retinoid category, is referred to by a variety of brand names, including Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova, Tretinoin-X, and Atralin, explains Anthony Terrasse, MD, owner of Terrasse AestheticSurgery and EraseMediSpa in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Scientists have developed formulas with different strengths of the active ingredient tretinoin. This allows pharmaceutical and medicated cosmetic companies to include them in their skin care lines. A number of new tretinoin products have emerged that report success in reducing wrinkles, decreasing pigmentation, and creating younger, fresher looking skin.

[The use of tretinoin]

causes inflammation of the skin, causing skin cells to divide, grow, and die more rapidly, and the more frequent metabolic turnover of cells helps maintain the collagen component of the skin and, in fact, promotes new collagen formation, says Dr. Terrasse.

In short, tretinoin creams, gels, and lotions work for both acne and wrinkles for several reasons. First, in mild to moderate acne, new cells replace scarred cells and cell turnover is rapid, which limits the formation of new acne, Dr. Terrasse says. Likewise, these smooth new cells help even out areas of irregularity and color, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, he notes.

Because tretinoin is a retinoid, it is available by prescription only as a gel, lotion, or cream (see brand names above). This helps individualize treatment for your skin type, Dr. Gersick says, because gels are best for oily skin, while creams and lotions are better for more sensitive skin.

If your dermatologist thinks it’s appropriate for your skin type, it’s important to start slowly. When it comes to retinol or retinoids, less is more, Dr. Gersick says. Start by applying a pea-sized amount to your entire face. If you are just starting out, use it a few times a week and increase the frequency as tolerated.

The reason for this?

Tretinoin, like many retinoids and retinols, is known to be drying and irritating, especially at first, says board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dermatology Specialists in New York City. Altreno, the first formulation of tretinoin in a lotion, has been approved by the FDA. This new lotion is reported to help moisturize the skin, says Dr. Cook-Bolden. This should make this new tretinoin more tolerable for people with sensitive, dry, mature, and irritable skin.

Tretinoin also makes the skin more susceptible to sunburn, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to slap on some SPF daily, and keep facial massage daily!

Facial massage helps promote healthy skin while relaxing your facial muscles. It has a relaxing and rejuvenating effect, helping you look and feel better. Whether you want to use facial massage purely for relaxation or to treat a specific condition, there are plenty of techniques to try such as L&L Skin beauty tools, the MIO2 which features an ergonomical design of three angles and three arcs. Using the three-round corners to press the acupuncture point, you can choose to apply either light or heavy pressure. The three convex arcs fit any curves and the three-dimensional lift perfects the anti-aging effect. The round triangular three-arc design allows for comfort, and each part can be used uniquely to care for either the face or neck.