How Does Tretinoin Work?

Tretinoin is a powerful skin active that helps with a wide variety of skincare concerns. It can treat acne, increase collagen production, reduce hyperpigmentation & more.

But it’s important to understand what this ingredient can do – & what it cannot do. It is not a wrinkle eraser, it will not lift nasolabial lines or plump your cheeks.


Acne is a common skin condition that can occur at any age, but it is most prevalent in teenagers and people in their early to mid-twenties. It is caused by fluctuations in androgen levels which cause the body to overproduce oil, leading to blocked pores. Tretinoin regulates sebum production, which helps prevent new pimples from forming and reduces redness and swelling of existing ones.

Retinol is an ingredient that can be found in over-the-counter products like serums, creams, and moisturizers. However, tretinoin is stronger and only available by prescription. Both retinol and tretinoin work to stimulate cell growth, but tretinoin is more effective at treating existing acne and preventing future breakouts.

While using tretinoin, you should avoid exposure to sunlight or use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This is because the medication can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, which can lead to sunburn and premature aging of the face. If you notice any side effects, contact your doctor right away.


When you have fine lines and wrinkles, Tretinoin can help reduce them. This is because tretinoin stimulates your skin’s collagen production, which makes the skin firmer. It can also smooth the skin’s texture and even out the tone of the skin. It may also reduce melasma and hyperpigmentation.

However, it is important to note that tretinoin doesn’t remove all wrinkles, nor does it reverse all sun damage. It’s best used as part of a comprehensive skincare routine that includes adequate sunscreen and anti-aging products.

A dermatologist can recommend a specific regimen for you. The strength of the tretinoin you use is important as well, but not all strengths are equally effective. The key is to find the one your skin can tolerate. This can be done by starting with a low concentration and slowly ramping up. The ideal strength is 0.01%. 0.10% is typically the highest a dermatologist will prescribe.

Sun damage

If you have sun damage (such as dark spots or rough skin) from years of excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, Tretinoin can help. This topical medication boosts your skin’s ability to produce new cells, so it can replace old damaged cells more quickly. This reduces wrinkles, redness & uneven skin tone.

If your sun damage is mild, a regimen with Tretinoin and regular use of sunscreen should be enough to treat it. However, it is important to avoid sun exposure as much as possible while using this medication and to use the recommended SPF level of sunscreen when you do go out in the sun.

If your sun damage is severe, a more intensive regimen with this medication and regular use of hydroquinone may be needed. Remember, though, that this will increase your sensitivity to sunlight so you should also wear sunscreen and protective clothing and limit your time in the sun or sunlamps.

Age spots

As we age, the sun’s rays accelerate the natural aging process, causing the skin to thin and dry out. Over time, this leads to wrinkles and dark spots. Unlike over-the-counter products, prescription retinoids penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production.

The most popular retinoid, Retin-A (also known as Tretinoin), was developed in the 1970s to treat acne, but it also reduces fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration, fades actinic keratosis spots and evens skin pigmentation. It also boosts new collagen in the skin, which helps minimize nasolabial folds (the lines from your nose to your mouth).

It is essential to use a sunscreen with a high SPF daily while on tretinoin. This is because it can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so you will need to take extra precautions during the daytime to protect your skin from UV rays. This includes using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and staying in the shade when possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top