The recent tradition of using preparations from the pharmacy as cosmetics is gaining momentum. Retinol-containing cream Tretinoin has become especially popular. How safe to use it, and why is it so effective? We looked into it.
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About Tretinoin cream
To understand that “Tretinoin” is a serious ingredient, it is enough to read the instructions and indications for use:
Refers to the group of retinoids, similar in structure to vitamin A. Tretinoin has antiseborrheic, antitumor, keratolytic and comedonolytic effect.
It also stimulates tissue regeneration, strengthens the immune system and has a local anti-inflammatory effect.
It is used to treat acne. In the form of capsules, the drug is effectively used for processes of remission of myeloleukemia. The drug should not be prescribed to pregnant women.
Leading dermatologists agree that retinoin is incredibly effective as an anti-aging treatment, as are all retinol-containing creams and ointments and lotions.
Retinol, or pure vitamin A, causes an increase in the number of basal cells that make up the base of the epidermis. Retinol helps the skin smooth itself out from the inside.
As we age, our skin thins precisely because the basal cells gradually die off. Stimulating their growth renews the skin from within: young, healthy cells grow and the surface layers of the skin are actively exfoliated. In fact, wrinkles are simply erased from the face. In addition, retinol blocks the action of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, and stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturizer.
Why then haven’t we dabbed ourselves head over heels with Tretinoin anti-wrinkle cream and found eternal youth?
Retinol has a lot of side effects!
The first and most important one is the increase in photosensitivity of the skin. That is, if you use retinol regularly, even on a cloudy winter day you need a cream with an SPF-factor not less than 30, otherwise you will get pigment spots on your skin.
The second point: retinol often causes skin irritation, redness and peeling, like a strong peeling. In principle, this reaction is normal, gradually the skin gets used to the effects of the drug and calms down, but the itching and burning that occur in the first few days can cause serious discomfort.
Retinol products exclude the use of other creams and lotions. That is, if you need a moisturizer or nourishing cream, you can apply it only 10 hours or more after using retinol.
Scrubs and alcohol-containing cosmetics are prohibited during the entire period of retinol use.
The first effect of using a retinol-containing drug will be noticeable after 2-3 months, and the maximum effect is after 2 years.
So, using retinol for a month and then stopping because you want to tan is the same as not using the product at all. However, you should not use retinol daily and all the time either: this will lead to skin dryness.
An absolute contraindication is couperose. The vascular network that appears when using Tretinoin is often irreversible.
How to use retinol creams correctly?
Most cosmetic products with retinol contain it in concentrations ranging from 0.025 to 2%. However, they can be roughly divided into groups:
- low concentration (0.025% to 0.04%);
- medium concentration (0,04% – 0,5%);
- high concentration (0.5% – 2%).
Optimal regimen for retinol is as follows:
- Use retinol in low concentrations 1-2 times a week to monitor skin response and adaptation;
- Gradually switch to daily use;
- Increase the concentration to 0.2%;
- Continue to use retinol daily before bedtime.
It is very important to apply Tretinoin or other retinol-based product on a completely dry face 15-30 minutes after washing. Just a small amount of cream will be enough for the entire face, a thicker layer will not make the product more effective, but it can seriously damage the skin.
Creams containing retinol or retinoids are recommended after the age of 30 – from this age the synthesis of natural collagen and elastin is disrupted and skin cells are no longer renewed as quickly.
Retinol-containing products are really very effective in the fight against skin aging.
They will only work if you carefully follow the instructions, always consult a specialist, because the drugs have serious side effects and a long list of contraindications.
The effect will not be noticeable immediately, it takes a long (sometimes lifelong) course.