Retin-A Treatments

Best Candidates

Retin-A® improves skin texture and appearance. It is a prescription medication containing vitamin A that can be used to thin the skin and even its tone, and is sometimes utilized as a pre-treatment for a chemical peel. It increases the speed with which the surface cells of the skin are replaced. The major benefit is a decrease in the visible damage caused by aging and exposure to sunlight. As a precaution, Retin-A is not prescribed for pregnant women or nursing mothers because it is unknown whether the medication is passed along to the baby and could be potentially harmful.


Serious side effects are very uncommon with Retin-A use, but minor irritation may occur. The most typical reactions include skin becoming dry, red, itchy, scaly or experiencing a slight burning sensation. Any symptoms usually subside after the first few weeks of treatment, however if they do not, your doctor may recommend changing over to a weaker strength or less frequent dosages.

If a more severe reaction takes place, such as skin blistering or crusting, swelling of the eyelid, acute burning, discoloration, allergic reaction or reddening of the eyes, notify your doctor immediately.

Beginning Treatment

After washing your face with a cleanser and patting it dry, you can apply Retin-A using a cotton ball or gauze pad. Just a small dab of the medication should be thinly spread along the areas that require treatment. Your doctor will inform you how often to apply Retin-A, but in most cases it is recommended for use every night at bedtime. Retin-A has a drying effect on the skin, so your doctor may suggest applying a moisturizer as needed to counteract this. After a period of about eight months to a year, you may be reduced to a schedule of applying Retin-A only two or three times each week. During follow-up visits with your doctor, he or she may make periodic adjustments to the strength of your prescription or how often to apply it.

After Treatment

It’s essential to protect and care for your freshly rejuvenated skin. Due to the fact that Retin-A thins the skin’s outer layer, it can become more sensitive to sun exposure. You will need to avoid prolonged periods of time in the sun and regularly use sunscreen. If you do get a sunburn, you should discontinue use of Retin-A until it has disappeared. Wind and cold weather may also irritate your skin.

For each patient taking Retin-A, the overall results and how quickly they take place will vary somewhat. However, over the course of treatment with Retin-A, you should eventually begin to notice improvements to both the texture and the tone of your skin. Many users will develop an initial pinkish flush during the first several months of treatment. The next stage is often a fading of fine facial lines and a minimization of any large pores. By approximately six months into treatment, many Retin-A users find that their wrinkles are imperceptible and their age spots are diminished. However, to maintain these benefits, Retin-A use must be continued indefinitely.

For more information about Retin-A Treatments, please contact our office.

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