Tretinoin is a powerful and effective skincare ingredient that is proven to reverse signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. It also works to shrink pores, remove excess oil and correct hyperpigmentation. It is available as a cream or gel under prescription only. Tretinoin can be used by both men and women of all ages. It is suitable for most skin types but is particularly beneficial for those with acne, skin that has enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation or melasma (dark spots).
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that work to reverse the effects of ageing on the skin by stimulating new collagen growth and increasing cell turnover. Retinol is a natural form of Vitamin A that can be found in foods such as eggs, carrots and liver. Retinoids are also available as a range of over-the-counter skincare products, such as Retin-A Micro and Retinol Creams. However, tretinoin is considered a more potent version of retinol and is prescribed by dermatologists and GPs. Retinoin has been shown to be more effective than other resurfacing treatments, such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There are three strengths of tretinoin cream available, 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%, and one strength of tretinoin gel, 0.05%. It is important to start with the lowest concentration of tretinoin that your doctor or dermatologist prescribes as higher strength tretinoin can be too harsh on the skin. Your doctor may decide to offer you a stronger prescription at a later date once your skin has become accustomed to the treatment.
The first few weeks of using tretinoin can cause your skin to be red, dry, flaky and itchy. These symptoms should improve with continued use. Avoid exposing your skin to sunlight whilst using tretinoin as it can make your skin sensitive to light. Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying tretinoin cream, and avoid other skincare products which could irritate your skin, such as astringents and shaving lotions.
It’s important to talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you think you are pregnant, breastfeeding or might be getting pregnant as there haven’t been enough controlled studies done on the effect of tretinoin during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also, make sure that you tell them if you are taking any other medicines as tretinoin can interact with some medications.
Both tretinoin cream and tretinoin gel perform the same function for your skin, but they are slightly different formulations and are more suited to different skin types. Cream formulations are often best for dry or normal skin, whereas gels can be useful on oily skin. Both tretinoin creams and gels should be applied to clean skin in the evening and gently massaged into the area where you want to see results. It’s important not to get the product in your mouth, eyes or the corners of your nose – these areas are very sensitive. Be aware that you may experience a purging phase while using tretinoin, which is when your body starts to shed dead cells and this can result in blackheads and whiteheads appearing. This is a good sign, as it’s showing that the treatment is working. tretinoin cream uk