Many patients are aware of Retin-A. It is a powerful anti-acne topical treatment, and for many patients it is TOO powerful. Patients complain of dryness, redness and flaking, which are mainly due to the effect the treatment has on accelerating cell turnover and loosening of the top layer of skin. Then patients start using extra moisturizer which can clog their pores and it becomes a cycle of drying, more cream, breakouts and then more drying to stop the breakouts.
Retinol is a milder form of Retin-A. Many versions of it are created in a liposomal form so that it penetrates the skin better. Depending on the concentration and the frequency of use, the drying effect of Retin-A can be avoided and patients will enjoy healthier looking skin along with less acne, diminished wrinkles, and a more even tone and texture. These anti-wrinkle effects are due to the thickening of the epidermis which enhances the youthful appearance of the skin. It also causes biosynthesis and deposition of the glycosoaminoglycans which is a building block of more youthful skin.
I also like using Retinol for spot treatments of individual pimples. The minute the pimple starts, apply a dot of Retinol to the area and it helps the pimple to dry out and disappear twice as fast. My favorite Retinol is made by SkinMedica, and comes in three concentrations: 1.0, .5 and .25. For general anti-aging it is best used in the evening before bed, 3-4 nights a week initially and then build up to 7 nights a week. Be sure to use an SPF 30 sunblock if you are using a Retinol as the key ingredient in retinols can be sensitive to sunlight. It is also important to note that if you are pregnant or breast feeding, retinols should NOT be used for that duration of time.
Give Retinol a try! You are unlikely to be disappointed.