As a certified dermatologist, I am often asked by patients if there are any creams to prevent and treat wrinkles. Luckily, there is! Retinols are vitamin A based derivative that increase cell turnover and help build collagen. Retinols are also great for treating blackheads/whiteheads and help reduce the appearance of some sun spots by exfoliating them away. Until three months ago, prescription strength retinols could only be prescribed by an MD, however Differin recently became a great OTC alternative. Differin, also known as Adaplene .1% gel, is available over the counter at retailers like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc and costs approximately $15 for a 15 gram tube.
Retinols are available in varying strength from low to strong potency. Adaplene is considered a low potency option and is great for people with sensitive skin. However, some individuals may need a stronger retinol such as Retin-A (also known as Tretinoin which is a mid potency medication) or Tazorac (the strongest available retinol). It is best to consult your dermatologist before using any of these medications to determine they are safe for you to use.
Even though adaplene is considered a low potency retinol, it is important to be educated before using it.
All topical medications should first be patch tested on a small area of skin to see how you react to them. For many people, adaplene is a strong retinol and they experience peeling, redness and irritation with overuse. It is best to start using a retinol only a few times a week. When applying a retinol, you should always follow it with a moisturizer to prevent excessive peeling or irritation or even apply moisturizer before and after the retinol, sandwiching it in between to layers of moisturizer. It is best to use a moisturizer that is noncomedogonic product, like Cetaphil or CeraVe, that won’t clog your pores. For people who don’t want the added step of applying moisturizer, the Tareen Dermatology Retinol Repair 50 is a great option which has moisturizer added to its formulation.
It usually takes two weeks for your skin to get used to a retinol and over several weeks you may be able to increase your usage to every other night or nightly. Retinols are safe to apply long term by all ages but should be discontinued when planning pregnancy.
For other information or to discuss further treatment options, call Tareen Dermatology at 651-633-6883 to schedule your appointment today.