While there is no secret to perfect skin, topical retinoids may be the closest thing to a miracle product you can use. Backed by more than 40 years of science, Retin-A® has proven it works effectively to treat fine lines and wrinkles, acne, skin texture and skin discoloration. Available only by prescription, Retin-A penetrates to the deeper levels of your skin to promote cellular turnover and increase the production of elastin and collagen. After the age of 30 our exfoliation process slows down, so we have a lot of “dead skin” sitting on our face. This gives the skin a dull appearance. With the use of Retin-A, your skin will become brighter and tighter. Tightness is from the collagen stimulation. For acne sufferers, it unclogs pores, clears blackheads and controls oil. For fine lines and wrinkles, it increases collagen production to fill in those lines. For skin with large pores, it exfoliates and removes the dead skin cells resulting in new smoother skin. For discolored skin, it lightens the imperfections as it exfoliates the old skin off. Retin-A really is the multi-purpose skin care product for almost anyone. If your budget only allows one skin care product, the most important one is Retin-A.
Be careful not to confuse prescription Retin-A with over-the-counter retinols found in many department store and drugstore products. Retinols are only about 1/10 as strong as Retin-A. So while there may be a small benefit, it will save you time and money and you will see much greater results by using the prescription quality. There are several strengths of Retin-A available depending on your skin type. Your medical skin care provider can determine which strength is best for you.
Keep in mind that Retin-A should only be used at night. Not only is nighttime when your skin repairs itself, but the medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. In addition, Retin-A is not stable when exposed to sunlight, so you would decrease the benefits of the medication if you used it during the day. After washing your face at night with a mild cleanser, allow your face to dry for at least 15 minutes. Then, apply a small amount of Retin-A over your entire face. When using Retin-A for the first time, you should expect a few side effects including redness, dryness and flaking which may last for several weeks as your skin adjusts to the medication. If you find the side effects to be troublesome, consult your medical skin care specialist who can help you resolve those side effects. Summer is actually a great time to start using Retin-A. The increased humidity in the air makes your skin less likely to become as dry. As always, whether you are using medical skin care products or not, a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF should be applied to your face every morning and every two hours when you are outside. Women who are pregnant or nursing as well as those who suffer from eczema should not use Retin-A.
No matter your age, your skin will benefit from using retinoids. Talk to you medical skin care professional and see if you are a good candidate for Retin-A and how you can get started as soon as possible!
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, practicing in Warsaw and Ft. Wayne. She is a sought after speaker at medical conferences such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons. Jennifer is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on sclerotherapy.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com.