A dermatologist-supervised prescription retinoid can soften fine lines and wrinkles, upgrade skin sallowness and roughness, and even out your pigmentation. But the treatment can be frustrating, especially during the ‘purge’ period of inflamed, red, flaking skin that can last for weeks.
Start with a low concentration, using the product every third night and building up to daily as tolerated. Then listen to your skin – it will tell you how much is safe and effective.
How Tretinoin Works
Tretinoin is a mainstay in treating acne and also addresses common concerns like fine lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. It’s a gold standard dermatologist favorite, and it can be used alone or in combination with other products.
The retinoids in tretinoin help to stimulate skin cell growth and turnover, which minimizes visible signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. Tretinoin also decreases collagen degradation by inhibiting a protein called collagenase.
Another ingredient to consider is adapalene, which is similar to tretinoin and has been shown to promote skin cell turnover. It is more gentle than tretinoin, so it might be better for those with sensitive skin.
When starting tretinoin, it’s important to use it consistently and correctly. Your Curology provider can guide you. Some side effects to expect include a warm or stinging sensation, dry skin, redness and itching. The tingling usually stops after two to four weeks of consistent use. You might also experience a period of worsened acne or more breakouts, known as a “purge.” The acne typically clears within a few months of consistency and proper application.
Tretinoin for Acne
Tretinoin is a powerful topical medication that helps many people get clearer skin. It also improves some of the more stubborn acne scars.
Retinoids stimulate cell turnover, which means your skin creates new cells at a faster rate. This sloughs off old, dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne. It can also help reduce the appearance of pitted or textured acne scars by stimulating collagen formation.
The downside of tretinoin is that it can cause some uncomfortable side effects such as dryness and flaking. However, these side effects are usually only temporary. It is important to use tretinoin as part of your daily skincare routine and to apply it properly.
You should not use other topical acne treatments (such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid) while using tretinoin, as it can cause your skin to become too sensitive. You should also avoid exposing your skin to sunlight while using this medication, as it can increase sun sensitivity.
Tretinoin for Wrinkles
From crow’s feet to forehead wrinkles, almost everyone notices fine lines and wrinkles as they age. While over-the-counter wrinkle creams may help temporarily reduce the appearance of these lines, retinoids are proven to reduce them dramatically and prevent their reappearance. Your dermatologist can recommend the appropriate strength of tretinoin for your skin type, and provide guidance on how to use it effectively.
A 2022 analysis of 7 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found that topical tretinoin reduced fine wrinkles and other signs of photoaging. It was shown that the higher strengths of tretinoin (0.15% and above) are more effective than lower-strength prescription gels (0.01% and below). Generally, patients should start with a pea-sized amount twice or thrice per week and slowly increase to nightly use as tolerated. This will minimize typical retinoid side effects such as redness, dryness, itching and flaking. It will also allow you to get the most benefit from the treatment, as it takes time for the skin to acclimate to tretinoin.
Tretinoin for Sun Damage
Tretinoin and retinol are powerful anti-aging treatments. They speed up skin cell turnover, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, reduce pigmentation (melasma) & increase collagen production. Tretinoin is especially effective at evening out the skin tone & reducing blotchiness caused by sun damage.
The retinoic acid in tretinoin reduces uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation by dispersing the melanin granules that give your skin its natural color. Over time, regular use of tretinoin can also reverse the signs of sun damage and photoaging (Zasada, 2019).
When using tretinoin or retinol it is important to use a moisturizer during the day. This helps counteract the dryness and peeling that can occur with these products. It is also essential to apply sunscreen regularly. In fact, retinol is often packaged in moisturizing formulas, making it easier to incorporate into your skincare routine. Sunscreen prevents sun sensitivity which can be exacerbated by tretinoin and retinol. This sensitivity is usually temporary and improves after your skin becomes used to the treatment. Tretinoin for Collagen