There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning, catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and loving the reflection that stares back at you. Honesty, all faces are beautiful, but it isn’t always easy to convince someone of that when they’re focused on flaws like fine lines, discoloration, and acne. We all want perfect skin, which is why the skincare and cosmetic industry generates billions of dollars in revenue every year. With so many products on the market, you want to make sure you’re investing your time, energy, and money in a solution that will work to solve your skincare concerns.
When it comes to solving skincare problems, skincare experts agree that tretinoin is one of the most effective ingredients for addressing a range of concerns – from acne to minimizing the signs of aging. Not familiar with tretinoin? Maybe you’ve heard of its most popular brand name formula, Retin-A.
Retin-A and retinoids have become buzzwords in the skincare industry, and this might have you wondering what exactly all the fuss is about. What is tretinoin, or Retin-A, best used for, and can it offer a solution to your skincare woes?
What Is Tretinoin?
Tretinoin is one member of a family of retinoids. Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, and depending on the type and strength, can have different applications in skincare. Of the family of retinoids, tretinoin is one of the strongest, which helps to explain why it’s only available through a prescription. You can purchase other retinoid skincare products without a prescription, but Retin-A and other tretinoin formulas are available only through a qualified medical professional.
Tretinoin was approved by the FDA decades ago for the treatment of acne, and for years that was its primary application. Over time, skincare experts noticed that tretinoin seemed to produce other positive outcomes for a range of skin types, and so the applications of its use began to expand. While tretinoin may be prescribed for many different skincare concerns, the treatment of acne remains the only FDA-approved application.
That said, we see tretinoin often prescribed for skin conditions other than acne. What all can tretinoin be used for, and is it the best option available?
Tretinoin for Acne
If you were to ask the FDA, acne is the only approved application for tretinoin in any form. Tretinoin’s main mechanism of action is in its ability to speed up the rate at which your skin sheds old cells and replaces them with healthy new ones. In the world of skincare, we call this cellular rejuvenation or cell turnover.
So, how does this help treat acne? The seed that causes acne is formed deep within the pores of your skin. It happens when an accumulation of sebum (skin oil), dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells become trapped within the pores. While it sounds unpleasant, all these things are on the surface of our skin almost constantly. Cleansing and toning help to remove them, but they are quickly replaced throughout the day. In many ways, our skin adapts naturally to this.
However, when all this stuff gets trapped in the pores, it can cause problems. How does all of this get trapped? Dead skin cells are often the culprit. When they accumulate and are not effectively removed from the skin, they form a thicker layer over the pores and settle into them. You can probably see where this is going to cause some problems for your complexion.
As tretinoin helps speed up cellular renewal, it also helps your skin shed those dry, dead skin cells that can trap oils, dirt and bacteria inside. Most people who are prescribed tretinoin for their acne report positive results.
Tretinoin for Acne Scars
Any who has ever suffered with acne knows that even once you get the breakouts under control, evidence of acne can remain in the form of scars and discolorations. While acne scars aren’t as painful and uncomfortable as the acne itself, they can leave a person feeling self-conscious about their appearance.
Tretinoin may be effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars. Because tretinoin speeds up cellular turnover, those dark, damaged skin cells that form acne scars are more quickly replaced with healthy skin cells. Tretinoin won’t magically erase acne scars overnight but it can reduce the amount of time it takes for acne scars to heal and fade.
Tretinoin for Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Today, Retin-A is often prescribed for those who are interested in smoothing out their complexion and minimize the appearance of those fine lines and wrinkles that sneak up over time. Retin-A has become so popular in the anti-aging skincare circle, that many say it has a cult following. If tretinoin is effective at speeding up cellular renewal, it’s easy to understand how that might freshen up a complexion but how does it actually work to minimize the signs of aging?
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but tretinoin works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and slow down the rate at which skin ages, by slightly irritating the skin. When skin is irritated this way, it automatically goes into overdrive in an attempt to repair itself. As a result, there’s an increase in the production and synthesis of collagen and elastin – two important components of your skin’s structural support system.
Collagen and elastic decline naturally as we age, which leads to skin that isn’t as resilient as it once was, leading to a bit of sagging and those first fine lines and wrinkles. As tretinoin increases collagen production, it helps protect your skin against some signs of aging.
Is Tretinoin the Only Answer?
Tretinoin has been shown to be effective in treating a range of skincare conditions but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only solution to treating your skin issues. Tretinoin can cause some side effects and it isn’t the ideal solution for many people. If you’re wondering if there’s another alternative, there is. Non-prescription strength retinoid products like Admire My Skin’s Clinically Effective Retinoid Cream can help soothe acne and rejuvenate your skin. Formulated with 2.5% retinol, hyaluronic acid and plant stem cells, this non-prescription alternative can provide many of the same benefits of Tretinoin in a gentler formulation.