I am 23 and I currently do not have any wrinkles, however I have been using Tretinoin for the past year for the prevention of wrinkles as I have read it is best to start early. I started with 0.025% and now I can use 0.05% daily with no adverse side effects (only very minimal peeling). Now that my skin has gotten used to this percentage, should I move up to the 0.1% to further enhance collagen building and prevention of aging? Or should I stay at 0.05%?
What is Optimal Percentage of Tretinoin?
Doctor Answers 6
Retin A/Tretinoin strength to prevent wrinkles
The optimal strength of Tretinoin or Retin-A is usually what is best tolerated. If you can use the 0.05% with minimal to no irritation, you can try the 0.1%, but you will likely ultimately have similar results with either strength in the long run. If you develop any redness or peeling, you can use a moisturizer before, after, or mixed in with the product.
Retin-A Treatment to Prevent Wrinkles
There is no dose of Retin-A proven through research studies to be best at preventing wrinkles. However, Retin-A has been shown to be effective in improving fine facial wrinkles as well as treating acne. This medication is a derivative of Vitamin A and comes in three strengths, 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%. I prescribe Retin-A once nightly using the cream at the highest concentration that does not cause side effects, such as dry or red skin. Use of sunscreen daily and avoidance of smoking will help keep your skin looking the best possible for many years to come.
Use of Tretinoin or Retin-A
As you have noted Tretinoin or Retin-A comes in various strengths (0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%). Depending on the sensitivity or delicacy of the skin and the depth of the wrinkles to be treated, the strength of Tretinoin or Retin-A can be adjusted to achieve the maximum benefit with the least amount of side effects (redness, dryness, flaking). One can also vary how often the Tretinoin is applied from everyday to once every other day or less frequently. In most cases, I also recommend the use of a moisturizer with sunblock (SPF 30 or higher). I would recommend using the lowest strength Tretinoin that achieves the desired results with the least amount of side effects. Follow up with your physician to see what regimen works best for you.
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OK to move up in strength
It is OK to move up in strength. You can cut it 50/50 with moisturizers or use the full strength.
Retin A for sun damage and wrinkle prevention
The higher the dose the more effective is the Retin A, however the higher the dose the more side effects too, like irritation and dryness. Whatever increases you make, do it slowly. Introduce the new dose twice a week, while continuing the old dose the other days, and gradually increase the number of days with the new dose.
Make sure you are using the Retin A at nighttime. Retin A makes your skin more sun sensitive, and it is also not stable in the sun light, so you are decreasing the benefits and increasing the risk of a sunburn if you use it during the day.
And, most importantly, please use a broad spectrum sunscreen daily. That is the best protection against sun damage and wrinkles. Together Retin A and sunscreen are an excellent combination.
Strength of tretinoin
Most of the time we push levels up to as high as can be tolerated without side effects. However, you are young and I think that 0.05% will serve you well if used over many years . That being said, there is no harm in trying 0.1%. If you do, do not use immediately after washing face. Make sure to use sunscreen every AM.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.