Tretinoin is widely known as an effective treatment for acne. However over the years it has proven itself as a product that is effective in treating wrinkles. There are two brands of tretinoin and they are Renova and Retin A. It affects the skin by firing molecular switches that reside in the skin cells called retinoid receptors. These switches are responsible for many intracellular processes which include cell growth and differentiation, sebum production, synthesis of proteins (including collagen and elastin), and possibly even the cell’s lifespan clock (telomeres). It has also been researched and proven that tretinoin can block matrix metalloproteinases (MMP). Metalloproteinases are enzymes that are responsible for the destruction of collagen and elastin. These are the skin’s key structural proteins and without them the increase in wrinkles is inevitable. MMP increase as we age and contributes to sagging skin and wrinkles.
In 1988 a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, they were able to analyze the effects of tretinoin’s on skin aging. The study consisted of patients who were given a product over 16 weeks. During this time they were able to see “statistically significant changes in cell growth of forearm skin”. They noted that they saw few wrinkles, their freckles were faded , lessened skin roughness and patients had rosier skin. There was also an increase in epidermal thickness and stimulate deposition of collagen. Typically the strength of most topical tretinoin creams is 0.025 – 0.1 %. Studies indicate that 0.025 percent tretinoin may be almost as effective as 0.05 or 0.1 percent, but with lower incidence of skin irritation.Side-effects are not uncommon and include skin-irritation, dryness, peeling and sun sensitivity. With tretinoin, more is not necessarily better. According to the studies, improvement on tretinoin may continue for up to a year of continued use.
At first tretinoin was used to treat acne. The brand Retin A was highly successful and people wondered how it would work as a product to treat wrinkles. Tests were done and different products that included tretinoin were created. The main focus was a way to try and reduce skin irritation and other side effects that would arise through the products use. One such formulation was Renova (tretinoin in a highly emollient base to reduce dryness), ajd Retin A Micro (slow-release tretinoin encapsulated in microscopic particles to reduce skin irritation) and others. Currently all topical tretinoin brands are sold once you have a prescription from your doctor. Individuals should watch out for the side-effects even