Tretinoin for Sun Damage on Body. Slow but Steady Improvement. Kent, GB

First of all, I underestimated the importance of...

First of all, I underestimated the importance of protection from sunscreen due to my skin type 4 which tans easily and burns minimally. I sunbathed without protection in a country on the equator. It was stupid and I felt pain during the sunburn but I was determined to get tanned. It was 2 hours of unprotected sun exposure.

Now I have no interest whatsoever in changing my natural skin colour. Matter of fact, I'm spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds to normalise my skin tone on my body.

Well my ignorance and daredevil attitude to the sun has cost me loads in terms of consultations and purchasing expensive tretinoin from online or clinics.
I've also done a single session Fraxel dual to hands, arms and chest that have lightened and smoothness the skin to a degree.

Thank god I quickly rubbed a dollop of sunscreen on my face before the sunbathing incident. Otherwise, I'd feel even more distraught then I do.

I've purchased tretinoin from multiple sources: online Obagi website from uk cost me £100, ridiculously expensive, £50 from dermatologist clinic (Hydroquinone was purchased separately from same clinic which cost another £50) but the best value was All day chemist which was about £30 for a pack of 6 tubes but a flat rate shipping fee is added on top.

Now, I held back from doing a tretinoin review partially because my facial skin has been historically fresh faced and mostly minor pimples from time to time but since I was using tretinoin on my hands and arms I went ahead using it on my face.

It requires patience. It's extremely difficult to be patient because everyone who is on this website is desperate for improvement. I was desperate for a quick fix but tretinoin requires steady and gradual improvements.

I got excited with my 0.1% tretinoin (highest strength) that I applied all over my face as if it was nearly a moisturiser for the first 3 days. After looking like I had a very very red chemical burn on my face and a few days of non stop embarrassing peeling, I cut back to just one Saturday a week for 6 weeks. The sensible route allowed me to go up to 3 days. You are in charge of slowing it down as you see fit. You just need to remember that it takes 8-12 weeks to get benefits. It's frustrating but it's the only way.

I switched to a 0.05% for my facial skin and the remaining 0.1% was used for forearm and hands as tretinoin seems so damn slow to work off the face.

I tolerated the 0.05% tretinoin for the face well and gradually rose from every other day application to everyday. Now I take a day off once a week to give my skin a rest (I use 10% glycolic acid lotion or just a simple oatmeal moisturiser on the day off). Another product that I have educated myself on to help with sun damage that use is vitamin C combined with hyaluronic acid serum that I use once every few days in the morning before sunscreen. Vitamin C helps protect against UV damage when combined with sunscreen. It also is a younger sibling of retinoids to plump out fine lines although I just think it helps brighten skin in general.

The aim is to use it as often as you can tolerate and the 0.05% allowed me to use it without peeling. 7 months in, I do look slightly pink around the cheeks but I can easily calm it down by just taking a day off it. I just choose to use it daily because of the beautiful results. Tretinoin tells skin cells to behave "young". Whether the cells has been sun damaged or just naturally lazy because you're 30 years old, retinoid acid gets them into formation! It slaps them back into action like an army commander. This effect only lasts as long as you're using it and then a few months after you stop. However it's worth the cost in my opinion.

Results
Skin looks really alive and healthy
An odd pimple makes a very brief guest appearance from time to time and then disappears
Pinkish glow
Smooth looking skin
My face feels firm

I have always been told I look young due to my facial features and like I said my facial skin has been pretty good due to my skin type 4 in mild UK weather, I also never actively sunbathed before that one incident.

Since using the tretinoin people still can't believe my age (nothing new) but people have said my skin looks healthy which I'm pleased most about.

I may have had a uniform skin tone before but now my facial skin it looks healthy and dewy.
To be honest, if I was educated before the sun bathing incident about the sun I would have only used sunscreen because that is all most young people need to maintain healthy skin (unless you have acne of course).
But since I have suffered sun damage which has affected my confidence like it would to an acne sufferer, I have turned to this vitamin A product. The off the face areas seem to be thicker or resistant to the medication so I've turned to lasers. However for my face, I will continue to use it to maintain the healthy look.

My few fine lines seem to be plumped out around my eyes so they're way less noticeable so the collagen production is true.
I do think that wrinkle wise tretinoin is stronger in prevention rather than treatment.

I use sunscreen whatever the weather now. After trial and error, Nivea Protect and refresh SPF 50 is an amazingly invisible and least shiny one that I like for the face. For serious sun, I avoid altogether and reluctantly use the slightly ghostly looking zinc oxide sunscreen.

Please please please know that any treatments you do are for nothing if you don't bother with sunscreen to maintain or prevent solar damage. Most people wouldn't be on this website had they used sunscreen religiously.
Patient directed

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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