Today, I'm sharing all about why and how I use Retin-A for younger looking skin!
A few years ago, I decided it was time to up my anti-aging product game. I really wanted to do whatever I could to prevent and delay wrinkles. I had read over and over again about the benefits of Retin-A. Since I used products with retinol (the less potent form) from time to time, and knew my skin tolerated it well, I asked my dermatologist for a Retin-A prescription.
What is Retin-A and what does it do?
Retin-A is derived from Vitamin A. The most common form is a cream, and the generic is called Tretinoin. It comes in 3 strengths: .025%, .05%, and .1%. It increases cell turnover, boosts collagen (which gives our skin firmness), and fades dark spots. It has long been used to treat acne, but the anti-aging benefits make it a major player in the wrinkle prevention game! The first time I used Retin-A, I woke up the next morning, and my skin just looked smoother and more even-toned. I’d never used a product just once and seen results like that! Obviously no tube of cream is an instant miracle, but I’m convinced Retin-A is a must have weapon in your anti-aging arsenal.
Here’s how I use it, and some tips if you are planning to give it a try!
1. Start with the lowest strength. I went through 2 tubes of .025% Tretinoin before I bumped up to the .05% strength.
2. When you start out, only apply it every third night. It can be drying and irritating at first, so it’s best to start slowly. Once you see how your skin tolerates it, you can adjust your frequency accordingly. On average, I use it every other night.
3. Use a pea-sized amount. A little goes a long way.
4. Wait 15 minutes after you wash your face to apply Retin-A. The only adverse reaction I’ve ever had is some flakiness around my nose and mouth. I found that if I waited to apply about 15 minutes after I washed my face (to ensure my skin was really dry), the flakiness problem went away.
5. Use a good SPF product during the day. Retin-A can cause sun-sensitivity, so it’s super important to use SPF. I always use a moisturizer or face sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
6. Sometimes, if my skin is feeling extra sensitive for whatever reason, or if I want to use Retin-A more frequently, I’ll mix a drop with some plain no-frills face moisturizer. This method also works well in the beginning stage of use, if you feel it’s too irritating straight from the tube.
The cost of Retin-A varies greatly between name brand/generic, strength, tube size, pharmacies, etc. Most insurances won’t pay for it unless you are under a certain age and using it to treat acne. I’ve always had luck using a GoodRx coupon when I purchase it. So, I definitely recommend checking out the GoodRx site if you are like me and insurance won’t cover it. I've also noticed that prices on this stuff are always fluctuating. At the time of writing this blog post, my 45 g tube of .05% Tretinoin cream costs between $75 and $100. A tube lasts me around 6 to 9 months, so I feel like it's a great deal compared to most high-end face creams (that don't perform nearly as well). Also, Retin-A is a class C drug for pregnancy. So, if you are pregnant- be safe and don't use it, and talk to your doctor for questions/concerns.
If you were curious about Retin-A, I hope you found this blog post helpful. I think it’s a fabulous anti-aging product! If you are still on the fence, I encourage you to get more info from your dermatologist.