Tretinoin cream is one of the most-often prescribed treatments for the skin. The basic ingredient is a form of vitamin A that accelerates the growth cycle of skin cells, getting rid of dead skin more quickly, and bringing new, fresh cells to the surface. Not only does it rejuvenate the appearance of the skin, it triggers the production of collagen and strengthens the skin as new cells are compacted. Dermatologists recommend the ointment for a wide range of medical and cosmetic issues.
Available in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths, this medication is the number one treatment for all types of acne, from mild to severe, and it’s one of the only effective treatments for cystic acne, which can cause scarring. Many people use it for its anti-aging benefits, which include reducing and preventing wrinkles and minimizing or eliminating age spots. Another significant benefit of the medication is that it is known to decrease the risk of developing skin cancer.
Even though it is possible to buy this medication over the counter, it’s important to take the instructions for use very seriously. Using it improperly can lead, at best, to a lack of results and, at worst, to some unpleasant side effects. The following are some of the most important points to keep in mind.
1. Build up gradually. Start with just a pearl-sized drop for the whole face, another for the neck and throat, and another for the chest, and use the ointment only every few days. Gradually build up to daily use of very small amounts, and back off whenever the skin seems too irritated.
2. Stay out of the sun. Treated skin is extra-sensitive and can be more easily damaged by the sun. It’s important to use sunblock with a high SPF before going outside. Tanning beds should also be strictly avoided. This is true even for people who have naturally dark skin.
3. Avoid this product before and during pregnancy. Although it is not clear to what extent the product may increase the risk of birth defects, women who want to become pregnant are advised to stop using the medication at least one week before trying to conceive.
By using the medication properly, patients can get the best possible results and avoid irritated skin. It’s important to go slowly and take the time to adjust.