In the world of anti-ageing treatments, there are a vast and ever-increasing number of creams on the market aimed at wrinkle reduction. None have the proven results of Tretinoin. After decades of use, a vast amount of evidence has accumulated on its effectiveness, with surgeons and dermatologists now accepting it as a sound solution for mild wrinkles and loose skin.
If you are already embarking on this treatment course, then you probably know that Tretinoin works by increasing skin cell turnover, which increases collagen in the process. While this main effect of this cream is positive, it is a potent medication which can have side effects like flaking, dryness, and irritation of the skin.
Before you start any treatment, it is essential that you read the instructions carefully and note any contraindications. Assuming you have done so, now it's time to look at these ways to minimise the side effects of Tretinoin and get the most from this "wonder-cream".
1. When and How to Use
The active component in Tretinoin breaks down in sunlight. It is, therefore, essential to use it overnight. Wash the area you'll be treating and allow 20 minutes to pass before applying the product, which will work while you sleep.
2. Less is More
Only a pea-sized amount of Tretinoin is needed. The temptation to use more in the hope of speeding up the results will prove futile. This is likely to cause irritation and may ultimately require a break in the treatment course to allow the skin to recover.
3. Where to Apply It
The usual choices of location for the treatment course are those where ageing shows first, including the face, neck, décolletage and the back of the hands. There are contradictory views on whether Tretinoin should be used around the eyes, but many dermatologists are happy to prescribe it for use around the peri-orbital area. Ask your dermatologist, who may suggest you use it sparingly and less often than other locations.
4. Use Moisturiser
Most people will experience some degree of dryness or scaling from the use of Tretinoin. If you find that your skin is sensitive to the cream, you may be able to limit these effects by using a moisturiser immediately after Tretinoin application and applying sunblock during the day.
5. Avoid Sunshine
It is never a good idea to allow your skin to tan, and this is even more important when using Tretinoin. A good sunblock is essential, as the sun will quickly reverse the beneficial effects obtained by the use of the cream.
The most important thing to understand when using Tretinoin is that you require a degree of patience to see the results. This is not an overnight miracle cream, but rather a long-term commitment to better skin. Do not give up at the first hurdle. If your skin is irritated early on in the treatment course, allow it to heal and start again, applying less frequently to allow the skin to adjust. While it can be tempting to stop when you look at your skin and see dryness and poor condition, if you can persist through this you'll find yourself glad that you stuck with the treatment.