Retin-A or tretinoin is a form of retinoid that is a widely accepted topical medicine for acne therapy. This is an effective medication for curing mild to moderately severe acne and even blackheads and whiteheads. There are various commercial brand names of tretinoin like Retin-A, Retin-A micro, Retinova, Avita, Renova, and so on. Besides curing comedones, this unique derivative of vitamin A is also capable of preventing hyperpigmentation caused by inflammation and even wrinkles.
How it Works
Acnegenic conditions are generated by conglomeration of the dead skin cells inside the hair follicles. Sebum or the body oil which otherwise comes out of the follicles up to the skin surface, starts concentrating inside the pore itself. The situation worsens by bacterial infection and subsequent inflammation of the affected pores. Therefore it is very clear that the initiation of this situation is stimulated by improper and unsuccessful mechanism of skin exfoliation which fails to peel the dead cells out of the body. The basic principle of Retin-A rests on augmenting the rate of cell turnover, which in turn speeds up the process of skin exfoliation preventing the accumulation of dead cells and unclogging the skin pores. And that’s how the risk of formation of comedones is also minimized.
• One of the senous side effects associated with the application of tretinoin is skin flaking. Since this medication enforce the exfoliation mechanism of skin, it is quite likely that at times it would aggravate and result into noticeable flaking of the skin. Many people misunderstand the impact of Retin-A due to this consequence and discontinue the medicine without even consulting their physicians. Patience is the most important factor for tretinoin medication, since it takes around 6 to 9 weeks to observe any noticeable improvement in the acne condition. And according to some skin experts, the best benefit could be achieved if it is continued for a year or so.
• The other major side effect of tretinoin is an extra sensitivity to sunlight. There is a risk of sunburn as well for the same reason.
• Dryness, itching and other forms of skin irritations might also accompany the above side effects, which are all nothing but the outcome of flaking.
• Blisters, swelling, redness, and even skin discoloration might also occur in some cases.
• In some rare cases Retin-A had been found to be responsible for causing birth defects in pregnant women. This medication is not suggestible for women who are expecting a baby or planning for the same.
Directions of Usage and Associated Side Effects of Tretinoin
1. Initially the human skin takes time to adjust with the side effects of this medicine. The common side effects that almost everyone suffer are skin flaking and irritation which worsen dunng the first two weeks of starting the medication. Although it takes time, but after some time the skin is accustomed with the side effects and starts showing signs of improvement. Therefore it is advised to apply Retin-A initially on every second or third night and then increase the dosage gradually as per the skin gets familiarized with it.
2. Sometimes skin flaking and irritation is more prominent and intensified than diminished. In that case it is advisable to discontinue the medication for a few days or so. But stopping it completely without consulting the physician is certainly not a wise decision.
3. The risk of sunburn aggravates under the influence of tretinoin. Therefore, using a good oil-free sunscreen cream or lotion is highly suggestible while using this medicine.
4. Retin-A is applied at bed time in a thin layer right on the lesions. Only a small amount delivers an immense impact. In the morning it is essential to wash the face using a wash cloth or mild scrubber. This would remove the visible skin flaking.
5. Tretinoin induces an overall dryness since it removes the natural sebum from the skin surface. Any soothing moisturizer can be applied in order to cope with this drying effect. The moisturizer should essentially be water based.
6. Flaking might happen anytime during the day. The only resort is to apply moistunzer and nothing else.
7. Since Retin-A is a derivative of vitamin A, one must be highly cautious of not taking any medicine or foodstuffs containing vitamin A, or else an excess of this vitamin in human body might generate yet more adverse effects.