The retinoids are a family of Vitamin A and its derivatives that can reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles as well as correct dark spots. They can also increase skin cell turnover. The most important member of the retinoids is tretinoic acid. This can be derived from retinol through the oxidation of its alcohol end to produce all-trans retinaldehyde and then tretinoic acid.
What is Tretinoin?
Tretinoin (and other retinoids) are a family of Vitamin A derivatives that treat acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost collagen production, and correct skin discolouration. They’re a bit like steroids for the skin and are only available on prescription.
Alicia recommends a gradual introduction to tretinoin and explains that qualified dermatologists will start you off with a low percentage prescription, such as 0.0015%, for your first few weeks of use. You should also avoid exfoliants, such as glycolic and salicylic acid, while using it, and stick to a gentle moisturiser.
Remember that tretinoin can make you very sensitive to sunlight and it’s best to use sun protection such as a high SPF sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days, when using it. It is also not recommended to be used by women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, as not enough controlled studies have been done yet to establish its safety in pregnancy.
How Does Tretinoin Work?
Tretinoin (pronounced tret-i-noh) is a vitamin A-based prescription drug that helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also fades actinic keratosis spots and evens pigmentation. It’s one of the most studied anti-ageing ingredients. It was first used as an acne treatment but researchers found that it also speeds the turnover of skin cells. This smooths the complexion and helps to clear up acne scars.
It’s also known to encourage growth of collagen and elastin, making the skin appear plump. It can also increase the thickness of the dermal layer and slow the ageing process by reducing pigmentation changes due to sun damage.
Retinoids are a large family of synthetic and naturally occurring compounds derived from vitamin A. Weaker retinols like retinyl palmitate need to be converted into retinoic acid before they work but high-strength prescription tretinoin is already retinoic acid and works directly on skin’s receptors. This explains why it can be more effective than shop bought creams but also means that it can cause dry, red and itchy skin if not used correctly.
Tretinoin Creams in the UK
You can buy tretinoin creams and gels in the UK only if they are prescribed to you by a dermatologist or GP. This means that you can’t just Google it and order it from a website, or even buy it on Amazon.
When first starting out, a doctor will likely prescribe a low strength, like 0.025 or 0.1. They will want to make sure your skin gets used to it and doesn’t over react.
You will also need to cut out most exfoliants – including glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid – while using tretinoin and use a gentle, simple, bland moisturiser. You should also use sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible,’as the new skin created by tretinoin is more sensitive to UV rays.
You will need to keep up your tretinoin routine for a long time, as it will take your body months to get used to it. However, it is very effective and can improve blemishes, minimise fine lines, dark spots, and even reduce scarring.
Tretinoin Gels in the UK
Retin-A gel contains the active ingredient tretinoin, a form of Vitamin A that is used in the treatment of acne. It works by loosening cells in the surface of the skin, which helps to unblock pores and decrease the formation of blackheads (comedones) and spots. It also increases the turnover of skin cells, which aids the natural exfoliation of the outer layers of skin. This can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve general skin tone, as well as reducing dark spots and improving photoaged skin.
It is important to use tretinoin in strict compliance with the instructions given by your dermatologist. Avoid putting the product in contact with the eyes, lips, mouth or mucous membranes and do not apply it to broken skin.
If you’re interested in using tretinoin for anti-aging purposes, you can find it online and purchase it through UK Meds after a consultation with an independent prescriber. Alternatively, you can buy it at pharmacies or skincare shops that are licensed to sell tretinoin products. retin a uk