How to Use Retin A for Aging and Acne Treatment

Even though Retin A is not as buzzy as other forms of retinoid such as retinol, it is one of the best anti-aging ingredients that help to treat skin issues. Retin A is the most potent version of vitamin A because of its strength. It is important to know how to use Retin A on the skin.  

Retin A (generically known as retinoid) is a derivative of vitamin A that works to treat acne and aging signs such as wrinkles and fine lines. Regular use of Retin A will help to clear off existing acne and prevent new ones from forming on the skin.

Using Retin A on your skin will intensify the rate at which there is a cell turnover in the skin. This sloughs off dead skin cells and reveals fresh new skin; thereby improving the texture and tone of the skin while reducing the appearance of dark spots.

“There is so much historical evidence that Retin A works better than anything else,” says Dr. Joel L. Cohen, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado. “Retin A actually works to remodel skin on a cellular level,” Dr. Cohen stated further.

How to Use Retin A on Skin

“Retin-A is prescription-strength retinol that is stronger and quicker to yield results on the skin than over-the-counter retinoids,” says Stacy Chimento, a board-certified Dermatopathologist.

To begin using Retin A on your skin, pick your preferred form. Retin A is available in different forms and levels of concentration. You can choose between purchasing a Retin A gel, cream, or solutions. Pick one that works well for your skin.

Before you start using Retin A, ensure that you do a patch test on your skin to check if your skin can tolerate it. Apply a small amount of the product on your inner wrist for a few hours. If your body does not react with severe signs of irritation, then you can start using Retin A on your skin.

If your skin starts swelling or becomes extremely itchy, wash your skin with a gentle cleanser and contact your dermatologist for help. Generally, it is wise to speak to a dermatologist before incorporating the use of Retin A in your skincare routine. 

How to do it:

  • Before anything, wash your hands to get them clean before the application process begins.
  • Clean your skin gently with a soapless cleanser.
  • Pat your face dry with a clean soft cloth or towel.
  • Now take a small size of the Retin A cream or gel with your fingertips
  • Apply it gently on your skin.
  • If you are using a liquid form of Retin A, use a cotton swab to apply the liquid to your skin. 
  • Wait for about 20 minutes after washing your face to apply liquid Retin A on your face. 

Note: Do not use Retin A on your lips, inside your mouth, and in your nostrils, and try as much as possible to not get any of it in your eyes. Also, do not use too much Retin A on your skin. Using too much does no good as it will only increase the risk of developing side effects on the skin. 

How to Apply Retin A Cream on the Face

The first thing to do before applying Retin A cream to your face is to ensure that your face is clean. Clean your face by wiping off all your makeup and washing your face with a gentle cleanser. Do not exfoliate your face before using Retin A as this may irritate your skin. 

Gently use a clean, soft towel to pat your face till it is dry. After doing that, wait for about 30 minutes for your skin to be completely dry before applying your Retin A product to your skin. 

To apply Retin A on your skin:

  • Squeeze or pump out half an inch of your Retin A cream or gel on your fingertips.
  • Gently use your fingertips to apply the cream or gel on areas of your face where you want it to work.
  • While you do this, avoid your eyes, inner lips, and your nostrils.

Note: Only apply Retin A on your skin once daily, it is best to do so just before going to bed. Apply once a day, preferably before bed. Do not apply too much; to avoid irritating your skin.

SEE: What Does Retinol Do? See the Benefits and Side Effects

How to Use Retin A for Wrinkles

Retin A is one of the most active anti-aging skin care ingredients that you can find in any skincare product. Retin A helps to treat and reduce the appearance of aging signs such as wrinkles. 

To use Retin A to clear off wrinkles and any other aging signs, all you have to do is apply a small amount of the product on your skin in your evening skincare routine.

How to do it:

  • Start by washing your hands because you will need your hand for the application and you don’t want to use a dirty hand to apply the product on your skin. 
  • Proceed to wash your face; do not apply your Retin A product on unclean skin. 
  • Use a mild cleanser or soap and warm water to clean hands and skin.
  • Use a clean soft towel to pat your face till it dries. 
  • Wait for about 20 minutes for your skin to dry up completely.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of the Retin A product on your face.
  • Ensure even coverage of the product on your face.
  • When applying your Retin A product, ensure that you do not get any in your mouth, nostrils, and eyes.
  • After applying your Retin A product, avoid touching your face.
  • Wait for a couple of minutes for your skin to absorb the product fully. 
  • You can now apply other skincare products to your skin.

SEE: Does Retinol Work? Learn the Facts

How to Use Retin A for Acne

“Retin A was first used to treat severe acne and later discovered as an effective solution to treat wrinkles and aging skin,” says cosmetic chemist David Petrillo.

Retin A works to treat acne by unclogging your skin pores to treat every follicle that causes cystic acne. Apply your Retin A product in a thin layer before going to bed as this will help to treat the area of the skin that is affected by acne. 

Before you apply your Retin A product at night, ensure that you wash your skin and hand gently with a mild soap. After washing, use a clean towel to pat your skin till it dries. Allow your skin to be completely dry before using Retin A on it. Use a little amount of it on your skin. 

When you wake up in the morning, wash your skin using a gentle soap and a washcloth. After washing your skin, apply your favorite water-based moisturizer on your skin to prevent the drying effect of Retin A on your skin.

Use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher or apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen for protection against the sun. Using Retin A makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. 

Note: Your acne might seem to worsen during your first week of using Retin A but don’t fret, it is just the product working on the pimples that may be forming in the skin. 

How to Use Retin A and Vitamin C

Using Retin A together with vitamin C will result in the best anti-aging effects and benefits on the skin. To use Retin A and vitamin C effectively to improve the appearance of your skin, use them separately in your skincare routine. 

Use your vitamin C serum in your morning skincare routine and use your Retin A in your evening routine. This will help you achieve bright and glowing youthful skin. 

SEE: How to Get Rid of Jowls: 14 Different Ways That Work

Safety Precautions

  • Using Retin A increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Therefore, always use your sunscreen daily to protect your skin from the sun.
  • If you get burnt or blisters due to exposure to the sun, speak to your dermatologist and wait for your skin to recover fully before you begin to use Retin A on your skin again.
  • While using Retin A on your skin, avoid waxing for hair removal.
  • If you recently used salicylic acid on your skin, wait till it no longer affects the skin before using Retin A on your skin.
  • Make sure you consult your doctor before using Retin A on your skin during pregnancy; to avoid harming your baby.
  • “First, thoroughly clean the face of any makeup, dirt, or impurities. Be careful not to scrub harshly; exfoliation during the cleansing process can cause the Retin-A to irritate the skin,” says Dermatopathologist Gretchen Frieling.

SEE: What Is Face Serum? A Complete Guide for Skincare Beginners

Frequently Asked Question

How often should you use Retin A on your skin?

You can use Retin A on your skin every night, depending on your skin type and how your skin reacts to it. 

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to take things slowly by applying it only three nights weekly till your body can tolerate more frequent use. 

Can you use Retin A on your skin every night?

Yes. However, you can only do this if your skin can tolerate the Ingredient. 

If you have sensitive skin, you can use it one night on, the other night off. This will help to minimize the risk of side effects.

How long does it take Retin A to work?

It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for you to start noticing improvement in your skin

It may take about 6 – 12 weeks to notice better results on your skin. 

What are the side effects of using Retin A on your skin?

Generally, Retin A may irritate your skin for the first few weeks of using it. Common side effects of Retin A are mild redness, dryness of skin, peeling, and itchiness.

The side effects should reduce as time goes on as your skin will become familiar with the ingredient. 

Conclusion

Retin A is the most potent version of vitamin A because of its strongness. It is important to know how to use Retin A on the skin. Retin A (generically known as tretinoin) is a derivative of vitamin A that works to treat acne and aging signs such as wrinkles and fine lines.

Retin A is a great option if you are looking to treat acne and reduce anti-aging signs on your skin. Although the product might irritate your skin at first, once your skin gets used to Retin A, you will enjoy smoother and healthier skin.

Follow the guides in this article to use Retin A safely on your skin without triggering an irritable skin reaction.

Thanks for reading.

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