When retinol first hit the beauty scene, it became the Marmite of skincare – some loved it for its effectiveness and were happy to tolerate the ‘retinol uglies’ while others left it on the shelf due to the flaking, dry and irritated complexion that accompanied its use. However, for those who were able to persevere, there’s a whole new world of anti-aging goodness waiting in the form of retinol’s powerful big sister – tretinoin.
Available by prescription only, tretinoin cream and gel work together to unblock pores, cure blackheads and whiteheads, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and limit discolouration. It can even help reduce the appearance of sun damage and melasma, and prevent future damage by increasing collagen synthesis and blocking free radicals.
It works by irritating the skin, which sounds counterintuitive, but it encourages cells to shorten their lifespan and die, allowing fresh, healthier skin to replace them. This is why many patients experience a period of red, scaly, itchy and flaking skin called the ‘retinol purge’ when first using tretinoin, which can last from 2 to 4 weeks. It’s important to note that this is a normal reaction and should decrease with continued use.
If you’re looking to purchase tretinoin, you can get it at a pharmacy or via a doctor’s prescription from a dermatologist or GP. It’s best not to buy it off the internet, as there are many fake products that can cause serious skin irritation and even lead to severe burns.
You can also ask your doctor for a personalised skincare regimen that will be the most suitable and effective for you. They will be able to assess your specific needs and recommend the correct strength of product, how often to use it and how to apply it.
Obagi Tretinoin 0.025 cream is a prescription topical treatment for acne, hyperpigmentation and signs of ageing. It’s derived from Vitamin A in the form of retinoic acid, and works by healing deep beneath the surface of the skin. It targets acne, stops excess pigment production and unblocks pores, as well as improving skin texture, scarring and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Before applying tretinoin, always wash your hands and the affected skin area thoroughly with mild, bland soap (not medicated or abrasive) to make sure that your skin is completely clean. After this, wait 20 to 30 minutes before starting your treatment to allow the tretinoin to settle on the skin. Afterwards, avoid touching or rubbing the treated area as this may make it sting or itch. Instead, pat the area gently to distribute the product evenly and avoid overdoing it. Follow the manufacturer’s printed information sheet within your tretinoin packaging for further instructions on how to apply it correctly. tretinoin cream uk