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… →
Question: I’m concerned that that Retin A Micro .o4% will irritate my skin. Can I mix it with my moisturizer before applying it?
Answer: I’ve received this type of comment so frequently I think it deserves a post of its own. Mixing Retin A ( aka tretinoin) with a moisturizer immediately reduces its concentration and impast on the skin. If you take a pea size dab of .04% tretinoin with an equal dab of moisturizer, the concentration is now .02%– lower than any other prescription grade tretinoin. If there is more moisturizer than tretinoin, then the concentration is even lower and the action on the skin will be very limited. Then there is the issue of cost. Retin A Micro .04% runs about $300/tube. If you dilute it to .02% you will get more for your beauty dollar if you buy .1% Retinol from Skinceuticals which clocks in at $100.
Question: If I can’t use Retin A ( aka retinoid) on my eyes, what can I use?
Answer: I answer every email that I get at No-Nonsense Beauty Blog, but this one is so relevant for all of us, I wanted to put it in my Q& A. While its true that you can’t use straight retinoids around the eyes, a combination product of retinoids, a steroid and hydroquinone known as Triluma can deliver anti-aging benefits. Triluma’s claim to fame is its ability to erase dark spots and patches, but the retinoids also may build collagen and reduce wrinkling. For reasons that are not clear, Triluma is no longer available commercially, but a full-service pharmacy can compound it specially for you. I did just that and uploaded up post about the process on March 28, 2012.
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.
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… →
This is getting a little boring. Using this Retin A 2x a week is not causing problems– but I’m not feeling it. Where is the glow? I’m beginning to believe that the generic ( read cheap) Retin A does not have what it takes to get the job done. I’ve committed to using the product for at least eight weeks to see changes in facial imaging from Dr Katz. I think I’m going to give into the temptation and apply it every other night for a few weeks, then step it up to every night.
Lets see what happens. I know my face is going to be rough and irritated, but if the end point is healthier skin, its worth the trouble. I have been talking to women who have been using Retin A “for years” and who are not impressed with the results. I’m beginning to wonder if they are … Continue Reading… →
I’m learning how to deal with this uber-strength Retin A. I’ve stepped back and now using it every three days, rather than every other day. The white flaky bits are gone and I can see a bit of a glow– rather than a chalky pallor. When we think of aging, wrinkles and lines are what usually come to mind. But its that dull pale skin ( a combo of a slow down in circulation and increased dryness) that is making the skin seem old and tired. Every cell in my body wants to speed up my anti-aging project– but I’ve learned to respect the process and take it slower.
I wait a full hour between washing my face and applying the new Retin A. After … Continue Reading… →
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… →