If you are a genuine skincare “addict”, it is impossible not to know about tretinoin. A top-notch active ingredient that solves all skin problems. However, products containing tretinoin are quite “hard to play” and not very skin-friendly. If you are not careful, your skin will receive enough. But don’t let that make you miss this magic potion. As long as you know how to use it, there’s no need to worry. Today, heresreview will talk about how to use Tretinoin properly to help transform the skin to a perfect shine.
What is tretinoin? Mechanism of Action
Tretinoin (retinoic acid) is one of the derivatives of vitamin A that has been converted to acids (also called retinoids). It was first approved by the US FDA under the name Retin-A.
Tretinoin belongs to the group of dermatological drugs, not cosmetics that can be used arbitrarily so you have to know how to use Tretinoin properly. In Europe or the United States, tretinoin can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription. But in some Asian countries consumers can buy those products at pharmacies in concentrations of 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%.
Tretinoin has emerged as a cure-all that treats almost all skin problems. As treatment for acne, sun damaged skin. Or the skin appears to have small wrinkles…
Mechanism of action is to accelerate the production of new cells. Expel dead cells quickly, minimize oil gland activity to help clean skin deeply, prevent and treat acne effectively.
At the same time, it works against aging, improves wrinkles. By limiting the formation of enzymes that weaken collagen, helping the skin to increase collagen production, effectively smooth wrinkles…
What is the difference between tretinoin and retinol
In the retinoids family, there is also retinol. This is also an acne treatment, anti-aging ingredient no less than tretinoin. Both have the ability to promote exfoliation, stimulate collagen and elastin, resulting in smoother skin. But they are not exactly the same.
You may not know, retinol and tretinoin both have the same name as retinoids, they only differ in concentration.
+ The concentration of Retinol available in cosmetics is from 0.01%; 0.03%; 0.1%; 0.5% up to 1%.
+ The concentration of Tretinoin currently in cosmetics: 0.025%; 0.05% to 0.1%.
In addition, Tretinoin and Retinol also have differences such as:
+ Tretinoin is a synthetic version of vitamin A, stronger than retinol and available only by prescription. Sensitive skin is not well tolerated.
+ With retinol, this is a natural form of vitamin A. Mild and less irritating for sensitive skin. Available without a prescription and found in many over-the-counter cosmetics and skin care products.
If you have tried retinol but it doesn’t work. Ask your dermatologist if tretinoin can help with your skin problems.
The ingredients shared below are slightly lighter than tretinoin. However, they all belong to the same class of drugs and have similar effects.
Adapalene is a third-generation retinoid commonly found in over-the-counter anti-aging and acne products.
Retinoids don’t just reduce signs of aging and sun damage. They are also really effective for people with acne because they act as an exfoliator. Currently, this is the most popular active ingredient and is most trusted by women.
Bakuchiol is gaining a lot of buzz in the beauty world as a potential “natural” alternative. Bakuchiol has been shown to help improve collagen production, reduce collagen breakdown, and decrease melanin (pigmentation) synthesis.
Retinaldehyde is a vitamin A derivative, a precursor to retinoic acid. This is a common ingredient in anti-aging serums, some other anti-aging products, and acne products. Retinaldehyde is almost as effective as tretinoin. But it significantly reduces the side effects of tretinoin.
Should you use retinol or tretinoin?
Whether you choose retinol or tretinoin will depend on what your goals are.
If you want to improve your skin tone, prevent some signs of aging. Without any major problems to deal with, retinol is a practical choice.
You can look for retinol in treatments like moisturizers, eye creams, or serums.
For those who care about acne, blackheads. Or pigmentation problems, deeper wrinkles, Tretinoin will solve more effectively. It is more irritating than retinol, but it doesn’t have to go through the process of metabolism, it doesn’t have to be at a certain pH to work like retinol.
You need a prescription from a dermatologist, it takes time to get used to tretinoin. And with long-term use, you will get impressive results with use.
As mentioned above, tretinoin is considered a great invention in the history of dermatology with many outstanding features to improve skin.
- Exfoliates dead cells. Acne treatment. Improves pore size.
- Regenerating anti-aging skin, removing wrinkles.
- Improves skin health caused by sun damage.
- Treat dark spots, uneven skin tone.
- Removes the feeling of rough skin, effectively smoothes the skin.
When applied externally, tretinoin will unclog pores clogged with dirt, dead cells, etc. Increases the rate of skin regeneration, removes dead cells, minimizes sebaceous gland activity. From there, effectively treat acne, improve acne scars and pore size.
Besides, it has anti-aging activity. By boosting collagen production, minimizing wrinkles, stimulating blood circulation and the formation of new blood vessels, giving skin a healthy rosy glow.
In addition, thanks to the ability to stimulate activity and the skin regeneration process. Tretinoin is also an effective way to treat uneven skin tone. Helps reduce dark spots and pigmentation caused by ultraviolet rays, helping to brighten and even skin tone.
Remember, tretinoin can be a little irritating when you first start using it. During the first few weeks of treatment. It is normal for the skin to be red, dry, flaky, and mild to moderate itching. These side effects should lessen as your skin adapts to tretinoin.
Stop using tretinoin and consult a doctor if skin irritation does not improve within a few weeks and these symptoms get worse:
- Persistent irritation.
- Blistering, scaly skin.
- Excessive redness of the skin.
Is tretinoin safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women
Women who are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant within the next 6 months should absolutely not use it.
How to use Tretinoin
When starting out, only use a pea-sized amount
Since tretinoin is a strong active ingredient, you need to know how to use Tretinoin. So when you first start using it, you should only use a pea-sized amount to avoid irritation. When applying, make sure the entire face is covered with a thin layer of the product.
In addition, when using this ingredient you “absolutely” must not skip sunscreen. Because it will make the skin more sensitive to the sun. But whether you use it or not, applying sunscreen is still extremely important. As you know, UV rays are the leading cause of damage and problems to your skin.
Once your skin gets used to it, you can use an amount the size of a knuckle for best results.
What age should tretinoin be used?
At what age does not matter. Tretinoin was born to solve skin problems, so depending on your skin condition, you can consider using it early or not. In case you have severe acne. But other ingredients can’t be handled or you need to fight aging, treat dark spots… then you can use around the age of 20.
Appropriate concentration at the start
According to experience using properly, there will be 2 ways for you to start using:
1. Low to high concentration: this is the safest way to use. If your skin has just been corroded by alcohol or your skin is too sensitive, easily irritated. At the same time, have never used high-concentration specific products with BHA, AHA before. Then you should start with the lowest concentration of 0.025% and then gradually increase in combination with products with skin-restoring effects.
Currently, the product Obagi Tretinoin 0.025% is the number one choice for those who are just starting to use tretinoin, with the ability to reduce acne combined with extremely effective anti-aging but still ensure gentleness to the skin.
2. Concentration from high to low: if your skin is too used to strong specific treatment products. And if you have been using retinol for a long time, but your skin has not reacted or felt any big changes, you can start from the highest concentration (0.1%) for maximum effect. After the skin has reached the desired level of shine, you can reduce the concentration to maintain.
Note How to use tretinoin properly: when you first start using it, you should only use it 1-2 times a week. And gradually increase to let the skin get used to it.
How to use Tretinoin for sensitive skin
Although it is a strong active ingredient, sensitive skin can still use it. But to avoid irritation, the experience of using tretinoin properly for sensitive skin is that you should apply a moisturizer before using tretinoin. Or mix this active ingredient with cream to apply. In the morning, you need to increase the use of serums with restorative effects for a healthier skin.
Frequency of use
- Safe for daily use. But taking it regularly can cause irritation for some people.
- If you find that using tretinoin daily is potentially irritating to your skin, you can try applying it every other day or every few days until your skin adapts.
What active ingredients should Tretinoin be avoided in combination with
Since this is a strong active ingredient, if you want to combine it with vitamin C, BHA, AHA… it’s still best to use it every other day or every other day to limit the skin being over-affected, causing redness, dryness and irritation. sloughing.
Of particular note, do not use skin care products containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid unless otherwise directed by your doctor. These products can cause serious skin irritation if taken with tretinoin.
Monitor skin reaction
Usually when using tretinoin, if the skin has a lot of hidden acne, you will see more pimples in the first few weeks. At this point, don’t worry too much, keep using it, this situation will improve. Besides, some skin will experience a reaction that is dry, flaky, red, itchy. You just need to increase water supply, restore and replenish moisture to the skin in the morning, or at night when not using tretinoin to fix it.
But if after 18 weeks your skin still doesn’t get rid of redness, itching, burning… that means your skin is not responding to that concentration and ingredient. The solution is to switch to lighter concentrations, stretch the time, and use the dosage. Or use milder forms like retinaldehyde or retinol.
Answers to questions about Tretinoin
How long should tretinoin be used
Tretinoin should only be used for 6 months to 1 year while retinol can be maintained for a long time to fight aging. (Unless you are pregnant, stop using it!)
How long does it take to get results
Like other medicine, tretinoin takes time to work on the skin. On average, it takes 8 to 24 weeks of tretinoin treatment to significantly improve problems associated with acne, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
The time it takes for tretinoin to be effective depends on the body of each person. It is important that you be persistent and use tretinoin regularly. Even if you don’t see any daily changes in your skin.
When can tretinoin be stopped
The length of time someone needs to use tretinoin will vary from case to case. Some people’s skin will clear faster, faster than others. Meaning they will use it for a shorter period of time and stop sooner. Others may need to take tretinoin longer to get rid of stubborn skin problems like dark spots or wrinkles.
Therefore, to know exactly when to stop applying tretinoin, it is best to consult a specialist, a dermatologist.
Who should not use
The following people need careful consideration and expert advice before using:
- Allergic to ingredients.
- Some brands topical are not approved for use by anyone under the age of 18.
- If you have ever had eczema or are allergic to fish (gel products may contain ingredients derived from fish).
- Pregnant and lactating women. If you are using tretinoin and find out you are pregnant, stop using it and let your doctor know.
Things to avoid
Tretinoin may make your skin more susceptible to sunburn. Therefore, it is necessary to limit sun exposure. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) when you are outdoors, including on cloudy days.
During the first 6 months of use, avoid exposing the treated area to sunlight, wind or cold weather. Your skin will be more susceptible to sunburn, dryness, or irritation, especially during the first 2 or 3 weeks.
Avoid using the following products on the same area as tretinoin: Any acne products or skin products that contain peels; irritating hair products, such as dyes or hair removal products; Products with alcohol, strong soap, …
Notes must be remembered
In order for the best result, you must definitely note the following:
- Using more doses or applying more often than prescribed will not make it work faster or better.
- Do not take orally. Tretinoin is for external use only.
- Wash your hands before and after applying.
- Before applying, clean and dry the area to be treated. Applying to wet skin can cause skin irritation.
- Do not wash the treatment area or apply other skin care products for at least 1 hour after applying tretinoin.
- After cleaning the skin, it is recommended to wait for about 20-30 minutes before applying tretinoin.
- It can take up to several weeks before your skin shows a positive change. So please be patient.
- Store the product at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Close the bottle cap tightly when not in use.
Tretinoin gel is very flammable. Therefore, absolutely do not use near high temperatures or open fire. Do not smoke until the gel is completely dry on the skin.
How to limit skin dryness and irritation
Tretinoin accelerates skin cell turnover. And can cause breakouts, dryness and flaking in the early stages. These symptoms will disappear and leave clean, healthy, beautiful skin after 1 time.
To soothe skin and minimize dryness and irritation, you should apply a moisturizer after tretinoin has been absorbed into the skin. At night, apply a thick moisturizer, preferably one that contains natural lipids such as ceramides. In the morning, use a moisturizer containing SPF 15 or higher.
- For those using to treat acne: Regularly use water-based, gel-based skin care products.
- For those who use to treat fine lines, dark spots, and rough skin from the sun, it’s a good idea to add an oil-based lotion.
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