The Beauty of Retin A

Most dermatologists, even those  pushing their own line of products, recommend some form of Retin A  as “the foundation of anti-aging skin care” ( their words, not mine).  Yet many of my friends are dubious about using it.  I tried it   a few years ago, but just wasn’t into it.   At that time I didn’t  have sun damage or wrinkles and probably did not see the point.   Now I really want it to live up to its promises.  To improve my chances of success  and reduce  redness and irritation, I came up with a Retin A tip sheet:

1. Use a very mild cleanser, avoid  scrubbing grains, exfoliators, alpha hydroxy acids, and wash cloths.

2.  Wait 30 minutes after face washing  to apply Retin A

3. Start with a low dose of a milder product in a cream base.  I’m using Retin- A Micro  which is a low dose product where the medication is encapsulated to reduce iritation

4. Use only a tiny pea size dab  and apply to the whole face– not just on dark spots and wrinkles. 

5. Twenty minutes after Retin A application, top it with a mild moisturizer.  Avoid products with potential irritants including vitamin C,  over- the- counter retinoids, and alpha hydroxy acids.

6. For the first week or two, use Retin A only every other night.  If the skin seems calm and happy, work up to every day application.

7. In the morning, use mild cleanser and top with gentle moisturizer that  has a 30SPF.

8. If the skin starts looking irritated, avoid using Retin A on the reddened areas.  If irritation persists, take a 2 day holiday from Retin A.

This is what I’ve gleaned from reading clinical guidelines and talking to dermatologists.  Lets now see how well  these “rules” work in the real world. 

CLose-Up:  Hyaluronic Acid

I got a very interesting comment asking about Hyaluronic Acid.  There are so  many ingredients out there that I decided to add a little ingredient paragraph to every post.   Some of these I had  written about in The NonNonsense Beauty Book, while others  are  new to me.  Hyaluronic  Acid is an old friend with new  uses.  Found naturally in our skin, it has the ability to attract and hold  water.  In fact it has been reported that one molecule of hyaluronic acid  can hold up to 1000x its weight in water.   As  time passes  our  body produces less and less of  this great moisturizer.  By age 50, the skin has about half  that  we  had when  we were in college.  It’s an  expensive ingredient and primarily found in high-end products .  For example, a  moisturizer  rich in hyaluronic acid  is Skin Medica Hydrating Complex ( $76 for one ounce). Another form of hyaluronic acid  is used  in long lasting injectable fillers such as Restylene.  Because hyaluronic acid is a naturally occuring  substance there is far less risk of inflammation and allergy compared with some  of the other fillers.  In case you can’t tell, I really like hyaluronic acid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *