Topical Retinoids

Retinoids are derived from vitamin A. Creams containing the retinoids or retinol and retinaldehyde can be obtained over the counter at pharmacies and supermarkets. Other topical retinoids containing tretinoin or isotretinoin require a doctor’s prescription.

Areas suitable for treatment include the face, the neck and the back of hands.
There are many brand name face creams that contain retinol or retinoids, which are quite well tolerated and may help improve the appearance of aging skin.

Examples of products are:

  • Retin-A Cream (tretinoin)
  • Isotrex Gel (isotretinoin)
  • Differin Gel, Cream (adapalene)

Topical retinoids may be prescribed by your doctor to treat mild to moderately severe acne. Clinical trials have shown that tretinoin can reverse the signs of photo-aging, i.e. sun damage. Indeed, retinol or retinoids can treat fine wrinkles, freckles and reduce the appearance of pigmentation melasma when used in conjunction with other prescription lightening agents.

Retinoids can result in possible side-effects if they are not introduced slowly into your skincare regimen.

This includes skin irritation, redness and peeling.

Follow these instructions carefully:

  • Use your topical retinoid once or twice weekly at first. If you have very sensitive skin, wash it off after an hour or so. If it irritates, apply it less often.
  • Your skin will gradually get used to it.
  • Retinoids should not be used in pregnancy or if you are actively trying to get pregnant.
  • To reduce stinging, apply it to dry skin i.e. 30 minutes after washing.
  • Apply a tiny amount to all the areas affected, and spread as far as it will go.
  • Retinoids can cause increased sun sensitivity therefore it is important to always apply a sunscreen to exposed skin in the morning.
  • If you suffer with sensitive skin or are prone to eczema you may not be able to tolerate retinol products even with cautious usage.

Learn more about topical retinoids by discussing the benefits further with our healthcare professional at CosmeticDoctor.ie, Slievemore Laser and Skincare Clinic, Stillorgan, Dublin  01 685 3100.