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Not Your Mother’s Retin A

Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) have been around for many years – your mom used them and got red and flakey. Your friend brings tubes back from Mexico every year – but does she really know what’s in them? You’ve heard they can be good for the skin but you’re a little afraid to try them. So, here’s the skinny -

Retinoids, used topically (retinol or Retin-A) or taken orally (Accutane) help skin cells slough at a more uniform rate. They stimulate collagen production to reduce wrinkles and improve fine lines. They speed cell turnover which helps to reduce discolorations and brighten the skin. And this sloughing action keeps pores from clogging, making them look smaller and helping with acne. (Accutane, taken orally for severe acne, also reduces oil production)

Retinol, found in non-prescription products tends to be less potent and is a great starting point for most patients. Tretinoin, Retin-A, is by prescription only and is more potent and faster acting than retinols. Dr Ehlert and her nurses, based on knowledge of your skin, can tell you which product or formulation is best for you.

Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin – contains .05% stabilized retinol for increased cell turnover, calming and anti-redness agents to soothe and hexylresorcinol for even tone and texture.

Intensive Brightening Treatment – contains .05% retinol to increases cell turnover, agents to brighten the skin, reduce redness and protect against water loss. Also contains agents to reduce inflammation.

Intensive Age Refining Treatment – contains .05% retinol, agents to retain hydration and reduce redness and age-related yellowing of the skin. Inflacin reduces skin inflammation that contributes to aging.

Renova .02% – more potent than retinol this is prescription strength Retin-A but in a low-enough concentration and an emollient base so that it is well-tolerated by most patients and, unlike more potent formulations, can be used every night. Renova .02% is available in our office (the prescription is kept in your chart) in a handy dose-dispensing pump.

Because retinoids increase cell turnover it’s recommended that patients start using them gradually, working up to nightly use. They should be used only at night and daily use of SPF 30 or higher is essential to protect the skin. Retinols can yield improvement in about 12 weeks while the benefits of Renova may be seen in as little as 4 weeks.

Retinoids are not a miracle, but when combined with a comprehensive physician-directed skin care program and light peels, they are a valuable addition to our anti-aging armamentarium. If you aren’t yet using one, ask us about it. We likely have a product that’s perfect for you.