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You may have been prescribed a topical Vitamin A derivative, often referred to as a ‘retinoid‘, when you were a teenager to fight acne.

Approved originally approved in the 1970s as a topical treatment for acne, Retin A ((tretinoin, a retinoid) middle aged women reported that it helped them to reduce wrinkles as well. When this claim was examined further, it was found that Retin A did in fact reduce wrinkles. It has since become an essential part of an anti aging skin care regimen.

Tretinoin (Retin A) has since been joined by tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac) and adapalene (Differin). All are prescription only products. Though highly beneficial some women can't tolerate prescription strength retinoids due to their harsh action. Over the counter preparations such as retinol as found in [Link Removed] are available.  

What Are benefits of Vitamin A derivatives?

In studies, retinoids have been shown to improve wrinkles, reduce skin roughness and decrease overall aging severity. They’ve also been shown to even skin tone, increase blood flow, unclog pores and are thought to possibly help prevent some types of skin cancer. They are beneficial not only in reducing wrinkles but also in improving skin texture as well as in the management of acne.

How to Use Retinoids

Retinoids are best used at night after cleansing. Peeling, flaking and redness are quite common during the first few weeks but this generally dissipates with time. The use of a moisturizer is usually recommended and will help most individuals to tolerate the treatment more effectively. Because retinoids are quite potent, they should be applied very thinly - a little goes a long way. Retinoids make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so the use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen such as [Link Removed] should be used daily.  

Alpha hydroxy acids and benzoyl peroxide should not be used in conjunction with retinoids as they can not only deactivate the action of the retinoid, but can potentially be a highly irritating combination. Vigorous exfoliation in conjunction with a retinoid is also a no-no.

Retinoids begin to lose their potency one year after opening so it’s best to toss out your open container and replace with a new one.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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