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Who Invented Retin A?

by Ella Goodman 06 Jan 2020

How many of us have looked in the mirror and wished we could change something about our skin? Whether it’s acne, skin discolorations, sun damage, or the signs of aging, many of us are looking for a solution that will improve the health and appearance of our skin. This is why so many people have turned to Retin A over the years as a treatment with long, proven track record of success.

Retin A is a brand name form of the retinoid tretinoin. It has been used for decades to treat a variety of skin conditions, but in recent years Retin A has really picked up steam as one of the few truly effective anti-aging products in the skincare industry. If Retin A has your attention, you may be curious about how this trend started and who discovered it. To answer your questions, we decided to dig a little deeper into one the skincare industry’s most well-known and widely prescribed topical skincare treatments.

Who Discovered Retin A?

Retin A, and its generic form tretinoin, are members of the retinoid family. Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A, which means they’ve pretty much been around all along, but they just needed someone to realize their potential.

While a couple of people had their hand in the discovery of Retin A, a man by the name of Dr. Albert Kligman that receives most of the credit. In the early 1960s Dr. Kligman was handed a vile of something called Vitamin A acid. European researchers had been looking at this compound for some time, but in the end determined that it was simply too irritating for use in most applications.

Dr. Kligman was a bit of a pioneer in the field of dermatological research, although he did eventually come across some controversy during his career. That issue aside, it was Kligman and his colleagues who worked with the Vitamin A acid, which we now know as retinoids, more specifically tretinoin, to determine a formulation that produced minimal side effects while maintaining a high level of effectiveness.

In the earliest stages of development, tretinoin was used for treating acne. In fact, even to this day, the treatment of acne is the only application for which the FDA has approved Retin A and other tretinoin products. In 1971, the license for the most effective form of tretinoin was released to Johnson & Johnson, who marketed the product under the brand name of Retin A.

How Is Retin A Used Today?

Here we are, nearly 50 years since Retin A made its way onto the market as topical treatment for acne, and it’s still at the top of nearly every dermatologist’s list. While not much has changed with Retin A itself, the range of applications that we use it for has. Currently, Retin A is still approved by the FDA only for the treatment of acne, and not any other skin conditions. However, most skincare experts would agree that Retin A has the potential of Retin A for bringing about many other transformative changes in the skin.

As Retin A became more widely used to treat acne, those in the skincare profession began to realize that it seemed to do more than just eliminate acne. Skin discolorations began to even out, blotchiness was a thing of the past, and adults with acne who used Retin A experienced fewer signs of aging on the treated areas.

We’ve learned quite a bit about Retin A since it was first brought onto the market. We’ve also learned more about skin health, and what the skin needs to reveal its healthiest, most vibrant version of itself. We’ve learned about the critically important role of collagen in keeping skin smooth and supple, and how Retin A works to reverse the deterioration of collagen synthesis that occurs naturally as we age.

As a result of all of this, we now tend to connect Retin A to anti-aging skin regimens just as much as we do to its role as an acne treatment. Dermatologists are now just as likely to prescribe Retin A to their patients who are looking to smooth the texture of their skin, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and bring a renewed suppleness and vibrancy to their complexion.

Is Retin A the Right Choice for You?

Retin A has been shown to do wonderful things for many different types of skin. That said, it isn’t right for everyone and can produce some unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, if you’re interested in trying something a little gentler, there are effective options available to you.

The most important thing is that you take the time to do a little research. Retinols are gentler than Retin A and can be equally effective in some cases. However, the quality of the formula and complementary ingredients are a big factor in determining if a product is worth the time and money you invest in it.

What will happen when you choose a natural, gentle non-prescription strength retinol cream is that you’ll be rewarded with skin that’s radiant and healthy looking, allowing the real beauty that resides within you to shine through. Choose only the best for your skin, because you’re truly worth it.

Discover how to build an effective skin care regimen for all skin types with our top selection skin care product bundles.

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