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What Is Tretinoin And How To Use Tretinoin

People who are skincare junkies, mostly familiar with the presence of retinol or any other retinoids. That's because retinol or other retinoids is a "star" ingredients in skincare products that work amazingly in preventing aging signs and hyperpigmentation.

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what is tretinoin

What Is Tretinoin And How To Use Tretinoin

Nevertheless, much research shows that the benefits of retinoids don't stop there. One of the unpopular retinoid derivatives called Tretinoin is a golden ingredient that is often used and recommended by dermatologists to prevent and treat severe acne. Still curious about tretinoin? Please continue to read.

What Is Tretinoin

What is tretinoin? many people are wondering about the answer to this question. Tretinoin is a retinoid group, and its the strongest vitamin A derivative.

It works by promoting the growth of the new skin cells, and at the same time, exfoliating the dead skin cells.

Tretinoin is often recommended by dermatologists due to its powerful content to treat severe and chronic acne.

Tretinoin also known as All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), acts effectively in clearing any dirt that clogs skin pores, removing dead skin cells, and stimulating the regeneration of new skin cells. Clogged skin pores and dead skin cells can cause acne breakout if you didn't treat your skin properly.

Tretinoin products that you can find in your market are labeled with the trademarks Retin A, Vitacid, Renova, Tretin-X, Avita, Trentin, and others.

What Is Tretinoin Cream

What is tretinoin cream? Tretinoin cream is a cream that contains tretinoin active ingredients. In the market, there is 3 level of tretinoin, from the lowest to the strongest. The higher the level the more potent it will be.

There is 3 level of tretinoin cream,

  1. 0.025%: At the lowest level, it contains tretinoin 0.25mg.
  2. 0.05%: Medium level, it contains 0.5mg tretinoin
  3. 0.1%: The strongest level, it contains 1mg of tretinoin
Besides tretinoin cream, tretinoin also can be found in other forms such as gel and liquid forms.

Is Tretinoin A Retinol

Many people often mistake that tretinoin is the same as retinol. In fact, both are different. Though tretinoin and retinol are both retinoids that work effectively to prevent aging and other skin problem, tretinoin is strongest compared to retinol.

The difference between Tretinoin and retinol is, that tretinoin is more concentrated and more potent compared to retinol. Therefore, the use of tretinoin shows a faster result compared to retinol.

Unlike retinol, the use of tretinoin needs a doctor's prescription. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, tretinoin is 20 times more effective in treating skin problems than over-the-counter retinol.

What Does Tretinoin Do

What does tretinoin do? According to Dr. Anna Karp, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and also a dermatologist, tretinoin works as an exfoliant by eliminating all dead skin cells, regulating sebum production, preventing dead skin cell buildup, increasing skin cells regeneration, and treating chronic acne.

Acne is a common skin problem caused by excess oil or sebum and the increase of dead skin cells, which lead to clogged pores and cause inflammation. However, there are many types of acne depending on the causes.

The type of acne that is often treated using tretinoin is cystic acne which usually occurs due to hormonal problems. It is also called hormonal acne. This type of acne is difficult to treat and strong medication is needed. 

How Long Does Tretinoin Take To Work

Tretinoin is an active ingredient that has characteristics as exfoliant and comedolytic, which help to prevent dead skin cells from buildup and prevent clogging the skin pores. When your pore is clean and nothing clogging over there, blackheads and acne will not be able to form in your skin.

The notable improvement can be seen at least 4 weeks to 8 weeks. In some cases due to severe or chronic acne, the medication can last to 12 weeks3

Does Tretinoin Help With Acne

Tretinoin helps with acne by opening your clog pores and preventing blackheads formation, which is the start of pimples form. When your pores are clean and your dead skin cells are exfoliated regularly, it can prevent the blackhead to occurs. The clean pores will also make your pores appear smaller.

Tretinoin Benefits for Skin

Following are the benefits of using tretinoin for your skin,

1. Exfoliate dead skin cells

One of the main benefits of using tretinoin is to stimulate and exfoliate dead skin cells. The exfoliation will clean your skin pores and promotes new skin cells to grow. It also opens your clogged pores and removes bacteria that can cause acne.

2. Overcome acne

Tretinoin will prescribe by a doctor if your over-the-counter medication doesn't show its effectiveness to treat acne. Tretinoin as the strongest retinoid will help to speed up the dead skin cell turnover, prevent clogging pores, promote new skin cells to grow, and remove the bacteria that can cause acne.

According to a study published by the Journal Dermatology and Therapy, using topical retinoids such as tretinoin are proven to be effective in treating inflamed acne with pustules and non-inflammatory acne. 

In another study published by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, tretinoin is also effective in reducing inflammation caused by acne. Therefore, applying tretinoin cream to combat stubborn acne is the best way to clear your skin.

3. Regulate the sebum production

Another benefit of tretinoin is help to regulate sebum production. People who suffer from oily skin, it's likely to develop acne on their skin.

Oily skin happens due to the sebaceous gland producing excess oil, which can cause clog pores. Untreated clogged pores over a period of days will develop acne. 

Oily skin will also cause your skin to get dull and easily trap the dirt inside the pores. Therefore, once your skin sebum production is in control, it will help to prevent acne formation in the future.

4. Reduce wrinkles and fine lines

A bunch of research has shown the effectiveness of tretinoin in reducing aging signs such as wrinkles and fine lines. The regular use of tretinoin can reduce wrinkles in both the short and long term.

Tretinoin works by promoting collagen production and elastin production. Due to this ability, the skin will look plumper and softer.

5. Reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation

There are many skin problems related to skin discoloration. One of the skin discolorations is a post-acne dark spot, dark spots caused by excess sun exposure and also hyperpigmentation. All these skin problems can be treated using tretinoin.

Once again, tretinoin has the ability to speed up skin cell regeneration, removing dead skin cells and promoting new skin cell growth. This process will help to fade the dark spot faster compared to using over-the-counter medication.

Does Tretinoin Expire

The answer is YES. The tretinoin product usually has a lifetime of up to 10 months respectively.  But with proper storage, you can extend the shelf-life of these active ingredients. 

Tretinoin product manufacturers recommend the product to store at room temperature and not exposed to daylight.

Generally, every tube of tretinoin (20gr) can last for 2 - 3 months. Expire tretinoin won't do any harm to your skin, it is just less effective.

How To Use Tretinoin

People can use the tretinoin following the guidelines given by the dermatologist or follow the instructions listed in the product packaging.

Before you start applying tretinoin, it's advisable to wash your face with a gentle facial wash and dry your skin with a clean towel.

Wait for 15 - 30 minutes before you start applying the cream. After that, start gently applying a pea size of the tretinoin cream. Since this is a strong medication, please do not use over the recommended guidelines. Applying too much will only increase your chance of getting the risk of skin irritation.

Since tretinoin is a strong exfoliant, you need to use this active ingredient with cautions. Alway avoid eyes, nose and mouth corner area. Those area is a delicate area, therefore you need to be cautious.

For the beginner, you can start to use tretinoin for every 2 or 3 days, then gradually increase the use to become daily use. Choosing the lowest level will be great option to eliminate any side effect that might happen on your skin.

The use of tretinoin can increase the sun sensitivity, therefore wearing sunscreen is very important. Choose sunscreen that contain at least 30SPF and non-comedogenic. Always wear your sunscreen in the morning and in the afternoon.

Tretinoin Side Effects

According to the dermatologist, the use of tretinoin is safe for most people. However, people with rosacea and sensitive skin need to avoid this active ingredient because the side effects can worsen their skin condition.

Tretinoin side effects will only appears temporary who are beginner in using exfoliant product. Following are the common side effects that often occurs,

  • red skin
  • irritation
  • itchy and dry skin
  • purge skin

However, if the side effects still persist and it worsening your skin condition, please discuss with your dermatologist. 

In addition, pregnant women also need to avoid using tretinoin. The studies that have been held on the animal, show that adverse effects happen to the fetus. However, the side effects on pregnant women still don't have controlled studies.

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