The answer to this question depends on how we use it. If we use it badly, if we hurry, if we believe that “more is better”, we will make it ugly. And although we are super careful, we can also find the unpleasant side of this ingredient.These are some of its (possible) side effects:- Increased skin sensitivity: the skin can hurt, burn, and tolerate few creams. Sometimes the application of a simple moisturizing cream burns and annoys. When I had such days, my best friend was almond oil, it was the only thing that did not make me burn.- Disappearance: it is very, very common to suffer from skin breakdown, it is not that it is broken in strips, but rather it is like a micro-snort.- Aggravation of problems : this is especially normal in the case of acne skin or with comedones. It is called “the purge”, because the skin begins to expel everything that is hidden in the deeper layers, and it can happen that we have many buds in a row. It's not cute, but it's necessary, if we really want to improve; that which is inside the skin yes or yes needs to go out, so the purge is inevitable.
– Severe dehydration: it is normal in dry skins and with wrinkles. Tretinoin is extremely dehydrating, so at first it will seem that we have more wrinkles than before. The texture of the skin can also be worse, since it does not have hydration or natural sebum, it looks like a raisin.
– Erythema: reddening of the skin, especially in skin with cold undertone (or pink undertone).
After all these possible side effects, they will ask: is it really worth going through all that?
The answer is, definitely: YES!
First of all, if we do things properly, the most likely thing is that nothing happens to us of everything that I just wrote, or if it happens to us, it is very slight, and then it improves, as soon as the skin adapts to the treatment. It is an asset that really works , it deserves to go through some discomforts, it deserves to endure the purges, it deserves the infinite patience we must have when using it. But I have an obligation to warn all this, so they know what can happen. Many people start using tretinoin would almost say naively, and when they find these things do not know where to run, they think it ruined their face, or is a horrible and mutilating ingredient, and then we can see them swarming defending forums and groups poor tretinoin, which is not to blame for its users have not known what to expect!
To use this ingredient we will need:
3) A good sunscreen, which we should use even in the shower (I'm exaggerating, just in case!)
4) A good moisturizer, or several
5) A correct application technique
Especially if we run into the undesirable side effects, we need to have a lot of patience for this treatment, and always go slowly. The first stage of the treatment has a name in English: “tretinoin uglies”, which would be like we are going to turn into an ugly duckling for a while, and maybe we can not even use makeup, because the base stands out as if we used a Magnify all dry and unblemished areas of the skin. My 13-year-old niece was mercilessly making fun of my pear that had been stung in my early days with tretinoin (when I had not yet made the mega-discovery of hyaluronic acid), while I returned it mocking her pimples as a teenager, because I am a Aunt very, very bad!
Tretinoin needs at least a year to show visible results to anyone. What I mean by this? That we, that we analyze every inch of the skin of the face with a magnifying glass 300x and a mirror and a light of 2000 megawatts, we can see little by little how the skin is improving, but others will not notice it until have spent a few months of treatment.
The first thing that people will notice in our face, after the stage of the uglies, is a kind of “glow”, or healthy glow. The skin seems much more refined, soft, luminous, healthy. That is the effect of the exfoliation that this ingredient provokes, by keeping the skin of the stratum corneum refined, and promoting cellular renewal at a rate of twice the normal rate (for a young person, for an older one, it can be up to four times faster). It also has a tensor effect, the skin looks more tense, firmer. And depending on the reason why we have started using it, we will definitely see the acne disappear, disappear the comedones, smooth the wrinkles, clear the spots, etc.
Wonderful words, right? Well, for that we have to have the constancy of banking the first months of uglies, possible purges, and results that take forever.
We must use it ALWAYS, to sun and shade. The skin is much more sensitive and reactive using this ingredient, so we can not allow them to penetrate the sun's UV rays, since not only will they undo all the good that tretinoin is doing, but it will also cause deep damage to the skin . I can not emphasize this enough: using tretinoin we must or do take care of the sun a lot .
4.- Moisturizing cream
It is a MUST, a YES or a YES. I recommend using and abusing any moisturizer that we have on hand. And I also recommend my discovery (because there is absolutely no one on the Internet that recommends what I recommend), which is to use hyaluronic acid in conjunction with tretinoin. It's a before and after, I assure you!
We must choose a cream that says the percentage of hyaluronic acid in its label, not any cream that promotes that it comes “with AH” because we do not know if it has the sufficient amount to avoid the despelecho. Because what I discovered is just that using AH with tretinoin, we avoid a huge percentage of the skin.
In this blog I always recommend Iuronicoderm, Laboratorios Paylos, because it is a pharmacy cream with 0.2% hyaluronic acid, and also has a texture that leaves no greasy residue. But it can be any cream with AH, even with a higher percentage at 0.2% of Iuronicoderm. I have to carry out a deeper investigation of the subject, but according to what I have read, the type of AH that works for this purpose is the one with the highest molecular weight.
Beyond that, let's find a good cream, try different brands, let's rotate, play and experiment to see which are the best to help us cope with the treatment.
5.- A correct application technique
The way to apply tretinoin is what determines if we are going to have horrendous side effects or not. For that, we must follow the following instructions to the letter:
– Start with the lowest percentage : the ideal percentage to start is 0.025%, but if we have very, very sensitive skin, we can start with 0.005%, which is too low, but it will always be better than any retinal or retinal that we buy in the pharmacy (over the counter). A lower percentage used every day is preferable than a high percentage used once a week. I also recommend using the cream version, rather than the gel version, which is much more irritating.
– Start using tretinoin one day every two: the ideal is to get to use it every night, but for that we must go very slowly. If our skin is sensitive, it is better to use it once a week for the first week, twice a week for the second week, and so on, until once every other day, and keep it for a couple of weeks, and then with Caution try using it every night. If we see that the skin reacts badly, that it irritates and stinks and burns, we go back and go again one day for half or two days in between.
– Do not use any other active at the same time: until we learn to combine ingredients and until the skin gets used to the use of tretinoin, we do not want to irritate it by adding other active ingredients (such as exfoliating acids, for example). We must dedicate exclusive use, and combine it only with moisturizing and restorative creams. Of course, we say goodbye to the cleaning brushes, and also to the scrubs. The ideal is to simplify the routine as much as possible, we will always have time to add things as we gain confidence and learn to use the product.
– Do not suspend the treatment: if we are sure that we want to continue, we should not suspend the treatment before a side effect, because otherwise we will return to zero sheets, and the skin will never be accustomed. If the skin left us very irritated because we started very suddenly, we waited two days and reapplied, if necessary we applied half a balloon, or tested with a lower concentration, but we should not suspend the application.
– Tretinoin is only applied at night: this ingredient is degraded by light, so not only should we use it at night, but we should also wait until we are about to go to sleep, so that we do not expose it to light. the lamps. This point seems silly, but there are laboratory studies that show that tretinoin degrades immediately with just a low exposure to light (I leave the link to the study at the end of the post).
– We must wait at least half an hour after washing our face: being extremely irritating, it is convenient to wait until the skin is dry, since dry skin is less permeable than wet skin (penetrates less). I also strongly recommend having learned to properly cleanse the skin , and while using tretinoin, use a cleanser that is for sensitive skin, obviously with a pH less than 5 .
– We should wait about five to ten minutes before or after having applied tretinoin to use any other moisturizing cream: the only thing we should not do , is to use an emollient cream (with oils) before tretinoin, since the emollient cream will form a protective barrier on the skin, and tretinoin will partially penetrate that barrier. While it is not emollient, we can use any cream a few minutes before using tretinoin, and once the tretinoin is applied, after a few minutes we can throw over what we want (emollient, softener, which helps us to avoid irritation). This point is a matter of proving what form of application is best for our skin. Also, do not be afraid to use several moisturizers, one on top of the other. Always the rule is: first apply those that do not have oils or emollient agents, and then those that leave oil film on the skin.
– When applying tretinoin, we should not use more than a balloon of cream: it is not necessary more than a small balloon of cream the size of a pea, in the center of the palm of the hand. That balloon we spread it between the fingers, and then we apply it to the face, simply applying it, it is not necessary to rub too much.
– We must avoid the most sensitive areas: until the skin is not used, it is preferable not to use tretinoin neither on the eyelids, nor on the sides of the nose, nor in the corners of the mouth, since these areas are the most sensitive and the most prone to be disheveled and irritated.
– Do not break any of these rules: if we hurry the adaptation, we will end up with a very irritated and stunned face, and it does not make sense, because you can use tretinoin without suffering those undesirable side effects, it's just a matter of going slowly, but being constants with the application.
Let me recommend a product I've learned it worked very well to some of my friends, you can check it out here: https://okdermo.com/product/retin-a-gel-tretinoin-gel-usp-20g/