Scientists, explorers, and woman and men all over have long been searching for the “Fountain of Youth.” While the mystical Fountain has still alluded us, so far, the closest thing we have is Retin A. Retin A is a topical vitamin A application that was developed more than 25 years ago as an acne treatment. Currently it is used to treat many skin conditions including acne, fine lines and wrinkles, oily skin. While oral vitamin A derivatives such as Accutane have substantial systemic side effects, the topical use can limit many of these.
Aesthetically, Vitamin A derivatives work by helping build collagen in the dermis, firming skin over an extended period of use. In addition, skin is exfoliated, creating a smoother appearance. It can be effective in the treatment of acne by helping remove plugs in the pores which can also lead to inflammation and acne. In order for Vitamin A to be effective, it must be in a high enough dosage, which typically necessitates either a prescription or physician grade product.In Dr. Shah’s practice, maintenance of skin is critical to looking and feeling your best. Healthy skin is one of the key factors in looking younger and refreshed.
The critical question here is not “Do I need a Retinol product?” but “Which one will my skin tolerate best?” For patients using a prescription product (i.e. Retin-A, Renova) look at the compositon of the product (cream, gel, solution) to help guide to the best product for your skin. For patients seeking a prescription strength product, our office recommends Retriderm Serum, probably one of the best retinol products on the market, in part since it is a less oily product, with greater concentration of Retinol, and has the added side benefit of costing less. Retriderm Serum is only available in physicians’ offices, and Dr. Shah’s office in one of the few in Chicago that carry it.
Types of Vitamin A:
Retin A (Tretinoin): Strengths:0.01% Gel; 0.025% Gel; 0.025% Cream; 0.05% Liquid; 0.05% Cream; 0.1% Cream; .04%, 0.1% Micro Gel, .05% solution.
Retriderm (.5%, .75% and 1%): RetinA in a more tolerated moisturizer base. Ideal for fine lines and wrinkles. ?Strengths: 0.05% Cream; 0.025% Cream Most patients use Vitamin A at night on either a daily or every other day basis.
Avita (Tretinoin): Strengths: .025% cream, .025% gel.
Differin (Adapalene): Strengths: 0.1% Gel; 0.1% Solution.
Tazorac (Tazarotene): Strengths: 0.1% Cream; 0.1% Gel; 0.05% Cream; 0.05% Gel.
Atraliin (Tretinoin): Strength .05% gel.
Refissa: .05% cream.
Tretinoin Topical Strength: .025%, .05%, .1% cream, .01%, .025% gel.
For Dry Skin- Consider using a cream to hydrate skin.
Oily Skin- Consider using a gel to dry the skin.
Very Oily Skin- Consider using a solution to dry skin further.
Sensitive and Dry Acne Skin- Use a Microgel which is less irritating.
Keep in mind it takes up to 2 months to see any changes in the skin and often as long as 6 months to see rejuvenation or youthfulness in the skin. Instructions for using Vitamin A derivatives:
- Initially use product along jawline or shoulder to see if can be tolerated. If tolerated can begin to start using product every other night on face.
- Wash your face with non-irritating soap
- Apply a small bead, roughly the size of a pea to your finger and dab to affected areas of face and rub in well
- Do not place product in or around eyes
- Increase strength and frequency as instructed by your physician
- Wear sunscreen daily- Vitamin A will make skin more sensitive to light
- Increased Sunburn Potential
- Do not use during pregnancy- Vitamin A derivatives have potential to cause birth defects