You’ve probably heard of Retin-A, the skin cream recently hailed as the answer to aging skin. The truth is that Retin-A cannot actually reverse the effects of aging, but it can improve the condition of sun-damaged or “photoaged” skin.
Retin-A is actually retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A that has long been used in the treatment of acne. When applied to photoaged skin that is rough and sallow, Retin-A can reverse the thinning of outer skin layers, reduce fibrous build-up in lower skin layers and help reconstruct the collagen network that supports the skin.
All this doesn’t mean that if you use Retin-A you will wake up one morning with completely new skin. It takes four months or more of treatment to see results with Retin-A. During this time, some people abandon treatment because of the skin irritation and swelling that can be caused by the cream. These side effects can be minimized by avoiding the sun, using a moisturizer and decreasing the frequency of Retin-A applications.
Retin-A will not eliminate the deep wrinkles normal to aging. However, if you use it consistently, Retin-A may noticeably reduce the “fine” wrinkling, age spots or other skin pigmentation commonly seen in sun-damaged skin.