There’s a huge range of anti-ageing skincare products out there, but one of the most effective and clinically proven is tretinoin. This vitamin A derivative can address everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and rough skin, as well as reducing pores, and it’s available by prescription only. It’s also not recommended to use during pregnancy, and it isn’t suitable for women who are breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
It’s usually prescribed as a topical cream or gel and comes in 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1 strength. It’s generally deemed safe for long-term use when prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist, but it can take weeks or even months before you start to see the results.
Once tretinoin is absorbed into the skin, it starts to work by increasing the turnover rate of cells and removing dead skin. This is particularly useful for those suffering from acne, as it can speed up the healing process of pimples and cysts, and help to prevent future breakouts by dissolving oil-clogged pores. It can also reduce pigmentation, promote collagen production and help to fade redness and hyperpigmentation, as well as improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.
Despite its many skin-boosting benefits, tretinoin can be pretty intense and is only suitable for those with good skin health. It can irritate the skin, and if you apply too much too soon, it can cause severe redness, flaking, dryness and itching. It’s also not advised to use it if you are taking certain medications or have certain medical conditions, including inflammatory skin diseases, so it’s important to always check with your doctor first.
You should also avoid using tretinoin if you’re prone to swollen glands, as it can make them worse. It’s also advisable to avoid smoking or drinking too much alcohol while using it, and you should never apply it to open wounds. Lastly, it’s crucial to avoid UV light while using tretinoin, as it can make the skin sensitive to sunlight.
It’s important to know that you should only use tretinoin under a doctor’s supervision, and they’ll likely ask you about all the other medications, creams and other skin products you’re using. It’s also vital that you make a list of any allergies you have. Your doctor may also advise that you start with a low percentage prescription and avoid using harsh exfoliants, or anything else that can irritate your skin. They may also ask you to apply a moisturiser as a barrier before applying the tretinoin, and opt for gentler ingredients like glycerin, shea butter and panthenol. It’s also best to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with it, as tretinoin can make the skin more sensitive to harmful UV rays. Finally, it’s important to follow the application instructions exactly. tretinoin uk