Retin-A Review


Retn-A, which is generically known as Tertinoin Topical, is a common ingredient found in several popular skin care products. As the generic name implies, it is a topical ingredient. Retin-A is another form of retinol, which is itself a heavily studied derivative of Vitamin A. Retin-A is said to increase skin cell turnover. It has shown the most promise in anti-acne treatments, and specifically in those that are designed to treat blackheads and whiteheads, and to prevent the formation of new skin impurities. However, it does also appear in anti-wrinkle treatments as well, although this aspect of Retin-A has been the subject of fewer studies to-date.

Some of the big-name products that include Retin-A are Avita, Renova and Tertin-X. Retin-A is a potent ingredient, and many products that incorporate it are available with a doctor’s prescription only. This could be more trouble and expense than some users looking for a wrinkle cream wish to deal with. Retin-A is usually included in products for logn-term use, and the results window for many acne treatments that feature this ingredient is actually 6-9 weeks. The wrinkle treatments that do incorporate Retin-A say that it could take a whopping 6 months before significant results become noticeable.

Product Details

Typically, Retin-A shows up in anti-acne treatment creams. Directions indicate that product should be applied at night, in a thin layer, before bed. One side-effect of Retin-A is that it often dries the skin out significantly, so avoid using any other harsh facial cleanser and also apply a gentle moisturizer in the mornings. Retin-A also dramatically increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, and it should not be used by women who may be pregnant or nursing. Initially, users will likely be directed to apply a Retin-A based products only every other night, or even every three nights.

The Good

  • Has been the subject of multiple clinical studies.
  • Has shown great promise when it comes to fighting blackheads.

The Bad

  • Retin-A increases sensitivity to sunlight, to the point where users are cautioned to wear at least SPF 15 when going outdoors.
  • Often requires a doctor’s prescription.
  • Should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • In the case of Retin-A based wrinkle treatments, results can’t be expected for at least 6 months.

The Bottom Line

After getting the facts, it looks to us like Retin-A is more of an acne treatment than a real wrinkle fighter, although it is marketed with wrinkle fighting as a secondary use. Retin-A is a pretty serious ingredient to find in any product, and usually users will need a dermatologist’s prescription to get hold of a product that features Retin-A on it’s ingredient list. It also comes with several potential side-effects and cautions, the most significant of which is increased sun sensitivity, so be careful!

One Response

  1. Elaine December 9, 2011

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