Who Can Use Tretinoin Gel?

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Acne | 0 comments

Tretinoin is the best-studied and most effective medicine for treating acne-prone and aging skin. It is a powerful prescription treatment that can interfere with your daily skincare practices differently. This blog will help you find what you should know when beginning treatment and whether you are a suitable candidate.

What is tretinoin gel, and how does it work? 

Tretinoin gel is a medication derived from vitamin A. It increases the production of new skin cells and the shedding of old cells, thus enhancing your skin’s turnover rate. Tretinoin belongs to a larger group of chemicals called retinoids, which have been widely proven useful in treating skin conditions. It effectively treats mild to severe acne (pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed nodules). The gel formulation helps to open clogged pores, reduce inflammation, and promote the shedding of dead skin cells, thus improving acne-prone skin. 

Although tretinoin gel has long been prescribed as a first-line therapy for acne, it has recently gained popularity for its anti-aging benefits. It is important to note that tretinoin and other retinoid formulations are often confused with retinol, an over-the-counter medication in numerous skincare products. It is best to purchase tretinoin only when your dermatologist prescribes it. Tretinoin is believed to be 20 times more potent than retinol.

What are tretinoin gel’s skin benefits?

Tretinoin gel is a water-based formulation absorbed rapidly into the skin, delivering its active component more rapidly. The fastest absorption may contribute to a more potent effect on the skin.  The lightweight, nongreasy formulation does not leave a residue on the skin.  

  1. Reduces Acne 

Tretinoin gel has been used for over 50 years as an acne-fighting medicine. Its primary effect is to enhance the skin’s cell turnover rate, allowing your skin to eliminate the material found within existing acne lesions. This helps to eliminate pimples while healing future pimples before they begin. Tretinoin gel also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling and redness caused by acne. 

  • Decrease dark spots

Tretinoin gel can help even out dark spots, medically termed hyperpigmentation. The appearance of dark spots can result from several factors, including pregnancy, thyroid disease, sun damage, or the use of certain medications, including oral contraceptives and anti-seizure medications. Tretinoin can help improve skin pigment while triggering new skin cells’ growth, thus lightening the skin and making the dark patches less noticeable.

  • Increase collagen production 

Collagen is important because it provides strength and elasticity to your skin. Tretinoin gel can stimulate the production of new collagen while preventing the breakdown of old collagen. This improves your skin tone and restores a youthful appearance.

  • Fades fine lines & Wrinkles

Tretinoin can smooth out fine lines and wrinkles by improving elasticity and filling the sagging skin with collagen. 

Who should use tretinoin gel?

Tretinoin got the approval of the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of both acne and photoaging (roughness, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation). Recently, the anti-aging benefits of tretinoin have made it increasingly popular among women approaching menopause. Menopause is a condition that affects every organ and tissue in your body, and your skin is also included.  As estrogen levels drop, your face may age more rapidly than you should. And while this can be quite a difficult aspect of the menopause experience, a well-rounded skin care technique can do wonders. However, not everyone can benefit from this medication. 

  • Tretinoin gel is generally recommended for people with oily skin because it is less likely to cause oiliness. However, it should not be used by people with oily skin.
  • You should not use tretinoin gel if you have an allergy or hypersensitivity to tretinoin formulation or other retinoid medication. You should proceed carefully if your skin is frequently exposed to harsh environmental conditions such as cold, ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, extreme wind, or UV from tanning beds. 
  • There haven’t been enough research studies to evaluate tretinoin gel’s safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Discussing the benefits and harms is important to make an informed decision. 
  • If your job requires you to spend much time in the sun, you are not a suitable candidate for tretinoin formulation. Please consult a dermatologist.

If your dermatologist recommends that tretinoin is right for you, ensure you know how it should be used, how it works, and what signs you should stop using it.

Incorporating tretinoin gel into your skin care regimen 

Tretinoin causes mild skin irritation, so it is important to adjust your daily skincare routine to accommodate it and get the most out of this topical formulation. And as with any new skincare medication, there can be a learning curve. You must work closely with your healthcare professional to identify what’s best for you. Here are some helpful tips that most people find helpful. 

  1. Use at Night

Some tretinoin formulations degrade in the sunlight, so applying the topical formulation at night before bed is always a good decision. This allows the medication to work without interference from other cosmetic items (makeup) you may wear during the daytime.  

  • Start your day with a mild cleanser.

Before applying tretinoin gel, wash your face with a mild cleanser. Avoid using hard products on facial skin; cream-based products are more gentle than foaming cleansers.

  • Use a pea-sized amount.

Tretinoin is a potent medication, so only use the amount recommended by your dermatologist. Spread the formulation carefully over your cheeks, forehead, chin, etc., while avoiding sensitive areas, including the skin around your nostrils and eyes.

  • Moisturize!

A water-based moisturizer after tretinoin is suggested. This helps protect your skin from some side effects of the medication, including dryness, irritation, and peeling. To minimize side effects, it is best to go slow. Start applying the gel twice weekly or every other day and gradually work your way up.  Daily application is an ideal target for many people, but some find it excessive. 

The bottom line 

Hormonal and environmental changes bring a lot of problems. For many of us, changes in skin appearance are the most challenging. Fortunately, real, science-backed treatments can help you manage skin concerns. Ask your dermatologist about tretinoin gel and determine whether it can strengthen your skincare routine. 

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