We prescribe retinoids often at Vanguard because they work. Many of us also use retinoids at home. You may be more familiar with retinoids under names like Retin-A, Renova, tretinoin, or Clara Bright Custom Blend. Retinoids were originally intended to treat acne. However, researchers found that retinoids can also reduce fine lines, wrinkles, spots, and UV damage. There is more clinical data supporting retinoids as the anti-aging ingredient, versus any other skincare ingredient.
Despite the wonder of retinoids, many people are frustrated about the side effects. Redness, peeling, and sensitivity are common. Our response—this means the retinoid is working! Power through it, because after you get through the initial weeks, you’ll see renewed skin.
Here is our advice on using your retinoid:
- Do not use in combination with anti-aging or acne products containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, unless directed by your medical provider.
- Start slowly and work your way up. Many times, we start a patient on a lower strength retinoid and have patients gradually build up to a higher strength. The application of retinoids happens the same way. Start by using it once every 3 nights, then once every 2 nights, then daily. Once you are comfortable with your lower strength retinoid, we may increase your prescription strength.
- Make sure you are applying the right way. After you wash your face at night, wait 15-20 minutes or use a pH balancing toner. Your skin’s pH needs to return to baseline for optimal penetration. Your skin should also be completely dry. Then, apply a pea size amount beginning with your forehead, then your nose, followed by cheeks and mouth. The skin around your mouth is he most sensitive so application should be lighter in that area. Avoid eyelids and lips.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day because you will be extra sensitive in the sun.
Stick with it, because after 6 weeks, you will see results. After 18 weeks, you will notice skin that is clearer with improvement in texture and fine lines.