If you’re someone who is interested in caring for your skin, and strives to have a vibrant complexion, chances are you’ve stumbled across Retin A at least once in your search for an effective beauty elixir. Retin A has a longstanding reputation in the skincare industry for being incredibly effective at treating a range of skin conditions, from acne to minimizing and preventing the signs of aging.
Along with its reputation for producing amazing results, there are it also some rumors flying around that Retin A can damage the skin, which isn’t exactly the result you’re looking for. So, is there any truth to these rumors? Here’s the scoop.
What Exactly Does Retin A Do?
Here’s something that a lot of Retin A users don’t know. When we take away all the fancy terminology, Retin A works by disrupting the skin, and overstimulating to the point that it becomes mildly irritated. There’s a method to this madness, but on the surface, it sounds a little unpleasant.
As Retin A produces a mildly irritating effect, your skin reacts by going into overdrive in a sense. Have you ever used a product that was too strong and drying in an attempt to clear an acne breakout, only to find that your skin became oilier as a result? Your skin has a natural defense mechanism built in, and it’s always going to attempt to restore balance once it has been disrupted.
Your skin’s reaction to Retin A is similar to this, although the worst of it is short lived. As your skin is stimulated, Retin A causes a cellular reaction which speeds up the rate that your skin cells regenerate. Retin A also enhances collagen synthesis as the skin works to repair itself against the irritation.
These mechanisms are why some people experience at least mild to moderate side effects when first using Retin A. Common initial side effects with treatment can include redness, irritation, dryness, itching, stinging and peeling skin. For most people who use Retin A, these side effects reside within a few weeks of starting treatment. However, some people find these side effects uncomfortable enough that they either request a lower strength retinoid product or discontinue use in favor of something a little gentler.
Can Retin A Damage Your Skin?
The above reaction to Retin A doesn’t sound too pleasant, does it? If you’re not someone who has powered through the initial stages of Retin A treatment and arrived at the point where you’re seeing the incredible results, knowing you might temporarily suffer unattractive and uncomfortable side effects can make Retin-A seem like a less than desirable treatment option. The good news here is that the unpleasant and unsightly results are temporary.
Retin A, on its own, isn’t going to permanently damage your skin. Even people who have a severe sensitivity to it do recover without permanent damage to their skin. However, Retin A is a prescription only treatment for a reason, and it’s crucially important that you’re careful in how you use Retin A and follow the instructions for using the product exactly as it’s intended for you.
For instance, you should never try a friend’s Retin A. If they’ve been using it for a while, their skin has adjusted, and they might be using a formulated strength that is too strong for your uninitiated skin.
You should also use caution and avoid layering Retin A, or using it in conjunction with, any product that produces a drying or peeling effect on the skin. Other common skincare ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and products that contain significant amounts of alcohol such as astringents and certain aftershaves, can amplify the side effects of Retin A. If you have a question about how your other skincare products might interact with Retin A, it’s important that you speak with a professional rather than learn on your own through trial and error.
One way that Retin A might lead to permanent skin damage is if you’re not cautious when it comes to sun exposure. Retin A can make your skin more vulnerable to damaging UV rays. In this way, Retin A is a bit of a contradiction in that it works to repair sun damage but also makes your skin more susceptible to damage at the same time. If you’re using Retin A to hold off the effects of the hands of time on your skin, not being diligent with sunscreen can result in the opposite effect that you’re looking for.
So, if you’re using Retin A never skip out on the sunscreen, even if you don’t think you’re going to be outside for any significant amount of time. You’re also constantly exposed to UV rays through windows, while you’re driving and even on the cloudiest of days.
Protect yourself and slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen – and then reapply regularly throughout the day as needed. It’s also a good idea to avoid skincare products that contain citrus as they can also increase your sensitivity to the sun. If you do experience sunburn while using Retin A, contact your prescriber for advice on how to proceed with treatment.
Risk Free Alternatives to Retin A
While it isn’t likely that Retin A will permanently damage your skin when used properly, you might not be too excited about the short term side effects, the unknowns of long term use, or the idea that you need a prescription to use it. Fortunately, there are non-prescription alternatives to Retin A that are effective while being gentler on your skin.
Admire My Skin’s Clinically Effective Retinoid Cream can deliver many of the benefits of Retin A without the harsh side effects. In addition to 2.5% Retinol, it contains hyaluronic acid and plant stem cells among its many beneficial ingredients. As with anything that you put on your skin, quality and integrity matters. Look for main ingredients that support your skin’s health, rather than tear it down. By choosing wisely, you can achieve the beautiful skin you want and deserve.