Retin-A, also referred to as Aretinoic acid or tretinoin, is a prescription strength cream that has been shown to have multiple benefits for the skin. Derived from Vitamin A, Retin-A was originally prescribed for the treatment of inflammatory and cystic acne and still is widely used for the treatment of acne. But dermatologists soon discovered that it had numerous other benefits to the skin. It has become the go-to for many dermatologists as well as other medical providers.
Retin-A works to speed up the skin cell turnover process which allows your body to replace older skin cells and form fresh cells. This is what helps prevent acne but similarly helps with the texture of the overall skin as well. It helps promote collagen synthesis, which helps the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is what gives the skin it’s firmness and elasticity, and as we age, cells produce less collagen. Retin-A helps to boost that collagen production so the skin stays full and firm.
Benefits of Retin-A
- Improves skin texture
- Fade dark spots and freckles
- Boosts collagen
- Erase hyperpigmentation from sun damage
- Lessen appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Retinol, Retin-A’s cousin, can be found over the counter in various beauty products. It is not as strong as prescription strength Retin-A and does not work as quickly but products containing Retinol tend to be gentler on the skin.
There are a few things you have to be aware of when using Retin-A and prescribing it to your patients. Pregnant women should NOT use Retin-A as it has been known to cause birth defects. It can also make the skin extremely sensitive to the sun so it’s important to stress the use of sunscreen daily. Retin-A does not mix well with other products so you’ll want to recommend a very gentle wash and moisturizer and avoid any chemical exfoliators or toners. Often times, Retin-A can make the skin look worse for up to eight weeks, but after that, patients should see significant results. You must educate your patients on the proper use of Retin-A so that they do not use too much too often, as this can produce negative side effects.
If your patients are struggling with acne or wanting to keep their skin looking young and vibrant, prescription strength Retin-A may be something to offer them.