Style & Beauty
A Beginners Guide to Fighting Wrinkles With Retin-A
7/14/2016 1:25:02 PM


Most people are only familiar with Retin-A for teenagers, since dermatologists commonly prescribe the topical cream to treat acne. But even those of us who have moved beyond the days of excess oil and pimple woes can benefit from Retin-A. Recent studies have shown that it fights wrinkles just as well as it eliminates acne.

What is Retin A?

Generically known as tretinoin or retinoic acid, Retin-A is derived from vitamin A. It’s typically sold in cream form and fights acne by reducing the amount of dead skin cells clogging pores and producing pimples. Most dermatologists agree that retinoids are the most effective means of treating acne.

How does it Work for Wrinkles?

Doctors have discovered the same solution for curing acne can also reverse sun damage, eliminate dark spots and tighten up wrinkles. All skin cells have retinoid receptors that control skin function and cell production. As we age, those receptors break down, leaving skin more susceptible to dark spots and damage. Retinoid cream reduces the appearance of damage the same way it reduces acne: by causing skin cells to turn over more quickly, thus reducing flaws.

Over time, sun exposure also causes our skin to lose collagen, which is the substance that makes young skin supple. Retin-A can prevent this breakdown by boosting collagen and preventing future loss, which both repairs damage and stops new loss from occurring.

Where Can You Get it Retin-A?

Many drugstore face creams claim to contain retinoids, but just because a cream boasts a vitamin infusion (and often includes a hefty price tag to match) doesn’t mean it actually does anything. Over-the-counter creams are often so diluted that they don’t do much, so the best bet is to see a dermatologist with specific skin concerns to discuss the proper use and dosage of the treatment.

Before You Get Started

Unfortunately, Retin-A is not without side effects, the most common being dryness and peeling of the affected area. Start small, applying just a pea-sized amount about 30 minutes after washing the face with a gentle cleanser, such as Cetaphil. After the cream dries, use a moisturizer and eye cream. And remember to use retinoids at night, since they shouldn’t be worn under makeup. At first, it’s best to use Retin-A just a few times a week, but as the skin adjusts, most users can slowly work their way up to making it a part of their every day skincare routine.

Even though it’s got some drawbacks (those first few weeks of flaky skin can be killer), everyone from celebrities to journalists to doctors swear by Retin-A for both its acne fighting and skin saving properties. So if you’re not feeling your dark spots or sun damage, retinoids could be the simple solution you’ve been looking for.


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