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…

Q and A– Diluting Retin A?

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.

Continue Reading…

Question and Answer– Retin A and the Eyes

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.

Triluma (  branded or custom made)  can only be used for  three  months at … 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…

Retin A — Week 4

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…

Big Girl Retin A– Week 2

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…

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…