Question & Answer– Am I a Retin A Failure?

Question:  You’ve totally sold me on the benefits of tretinoin but it just doesn’t work for me.  I used Retin A Micro  and  followed your guidelines– washed with  a mild soap, waited 30 minutes after washing, and used it 3X/week– but my skin is constantly  irritated and flaky.  What else can I do to deal with too many years in the sun?

Answer: Before you declare defeat, keep in mind that Retin A is a brand name( like Kleenex or Xerox) and there are different formulations that could be a better choice for  you.  Retin A  Micro is a gel that is actually approved for acne, not anti-aging.   It works well for thicker, oilier skin ( like  mine) but finer, drier skin types  may over react.

To get the benefits of tretinoin without irritation, Dr Heidi Waldorf of Mount Sinai Medical Center … Continue Reading…

Retin A Road Rules

I get more questions about Retin A than just about any other topic.  I believe that  this retinoid is the foundation of anti-aging skin care- but it can be tricky to use effectively.  The package insert  never tells  you the important stuff like what’s the difference between the  available brands,  kind of cleanser to use, and  should you put a moisturizer on before or after the Retin A.

Ten years ago I tried Retin A and gave up after a week or two.  Now ten years older, I really needed to use it and I was determined to become a Retin A master.  I have been writing about my Retin A journey and posting the results, but its annoying to  have to track back through the archives to get the answer to a … Continue Reading…

Retin A — Easy Does It

I was so delighted with the gentle progress of my new .1% Retin A Micro, I decided to step it up and use it every night after just a week.  Not my best idea  Seemingly overnight, my skin sprouted dry white flakes.  I’m sure that the cold windy weather didn’t  help.  I can’t control the weather– but I am  the supreme master of  how often  I use Retin A.  I’m going back to  an every -other- night routinue.  Lesson learned.

So what do I use on  my Retin A night off?  I know that I can’t use Vitamin C at the same time – potentially irritating- but what about on the  Retin A free nights.   There are shelves of peer reviewed studies that demonstrate Vitamin C  ( a powerful  anti-oxidant) can smooth out lines and wrinkles and  increase healthy  collagen– and after age 50 who can’t  use some extra collagen. 

There … Continue Reading…

Milia – those annoying white bumps under the skin

Its amazing what you can learn at a medical conference.  At a lunchbreak at the recent Mount Sinai Derm meeting, I sat down next  to two young dermatologists.  They were  talking about milia, those little white bumps under the skin– sort of faux pimples. ( In the picture below my milia is under my eye). Milia are formed when a pore becomes blocked with dead skin cells.  They are more common as we get older,  the result of slower cell growth.  Unlike the garden variety pimple, they do not contain oil or bacteria  so they don’t become red and inflamed.   Milia  just sit there. Forever.

Another important difference, milia are actually  in the dermis and if you try to  remove them yourself, you  can do real  damage to the skin. Seriously, you … Continue Reading…

Glycolic Acid: Five Top Questions

Glycolic Acid is an amazing anti-aging tool. Used in a peel it  gives the skin a fresh rosy glow tht lasts for hours.  In a moisturizer,  glycolic acid increases cell renewal,  stimulates collagen and reduces wrinkles– sort of  a baby steps  Retin A. The trick is getting  maximum  benefits.

1.  What’s the difference between a glycolic peel at home and an office based peel?

The glycolic peel you can buy in stores contains 10-12% glycolic acid.  It will give your skin a little extra boost and a bit of a glow.  Cost:  $2/treatment.  THe office based peel uses 30-70% glycolic acid.  It can  leave your skin pretty red, and by the next day, somewhat flaky.  Everything calms down within 48 hours leaving your skin especially smooth and fresh.  Cost:  Range form $100-150 per session.  Home peels can be used several times a week, while office based peels are used no more than once a … Continue Reading…

Big Girl Retin A — Week One

The flaky dry skin has arrived.  I had almost forgotten  the white peeling skin that goes along with Retin A treatment.  The weather has turned cold and windy which isn’t helping matters. My regular moisturizer can’t keep up, so I’m going to have to crank up on the hydration.

I’m also a little concerned that I don’t see my skin “pinking up”.  One of the first things that I noticed with Retin A Micro was a youthful healthy glow, the result of  an increase in circulation.  This was just about my favorite  anti-aging benefit from Retin A, but so far, I don’t see it from this  generic, albeit much stronger formulation.  Even my mom said I looked pale– and when the one person in the world who thinks you always look good says you are pale– well, I pay attention.

I was so buzzed to find  such an affordable version … Continue Reading…

Retin A – Five Top Questions

Readers of  The No-Nonsense Beauty Blog have sent in some really interesting questions about Retin A and you may  have missed the answers in the comments.  These questions showed that  there are  so  many details about Retin A that can spell the difference between getting the results you want and  just giving  up using it. 

1.  Can I use Retin A on my neck?

Absolutely!  It will take longer to  see improvement and it won’t be as dramatic as on the face, but it certainly will help.  Use a little pea size dab, about the size you use on  your face.

2. Can I use both hyaluronic acid and Retin A?

Again, yes.  There are actually two forms of hyaluronic acid– one that is injected into lines  to smooth out the face and the other is added to creams as a super moisturizer.  Both can be used with Retin A.  In face,  hyaluronic acid is … Continue Reading…

Moving Up to Big Girl Retin A

My  new  Retin A prescription (.1%) arrived this week and I am getting things in order to try it out.  I have my mild Cetaphil cleanser, Aveeno Ultra Calming Sunscreen for daytime and Fresh soy enriched moisturizer at night.  I’m a little anxious since  this is the first time  I have used a generic product from Canada but the cost saving were irrisistable.  My Retin A from the north  was $44 including shipping.  At my local CVS, brand name Retin A was almost $200.    I have big plans for that $150 difference.

I am  also doing a little experiment. Today, celebrity dermatologist Dr Neil Saddick  is examining my face with a Wood’s lamp which will highlight  the areas of  sun damaged skin.  I will  use my new big  girl Retin A and in a month, plan to  check the progress  with the Wood’s lamp again. When I first started to use Retin A, I could see   real changes in the … Continue Reading…