Retina-A & Skin Care
Retin-A, a prescription medication derived from vitamin A, is a versatile drug that is helpful in treating both acne and fine wrinkles. The medication can reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles, remove dead skin cells, even skin tone and make the skin smoother. Although Retin-A improves the condition of your skin, you may not notice improvement for several weeks or months after you begin use the medication.
Retin-A is a topical gel medication applied directly to the skin. The medication works by increasing collagen production and stimulating production of blood vessels in the skin, according to Harvard Health Publications. The exfoliating properties of Retin-A unclog pores, improving acne.
Doctors usually suggest using Retin-A gel every evening, although your doctor's instructions may vary, based on your skin condition. When you first begin using the medication, your doctor may recommend that you use the gel every other night to help reduce redness and irritation that may occur until your skin adjusts to the medication. Apply a pea-sized amount of Retin-A gel to your skin, covering problem areas with a thin layer of gel. You may notice a stinging sensation on your skin when you begin using the medication. Wash your hands immediately after applying Retin-A, but don't wash your face for an hour or more after using the medication.
Side effects of Retin-A may include peeling, itching, scaling, swelling, discoloration, dryness, burning or swelling of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests contacting your doctor if any of these side effects occur, as these problems can be managed by adjusting the amount of Retin-A you use and changing the time when you use the medication. In some cases, a severe reaction to the medication may occur. If you develop trouble breathing, hives or swelling in the throat, lips, tongue or face after using Retin-A, seek emergency medical assistance immediately.
You may notice a reduction in acne eight to 12 weeks after beginning treatment, although Drugs.com cautions that your condition may temporarily worsen if you are using Retin-A to treat acne. If you are using Retin-A to reduce wrinkles, you may not notice a change in your appearance for three to six months. It may take up to one year of regular use until you see the full benefits of the medication on your skin.
Don't apply Retin-A if your skin is chapped, irritated, windburned, sunburned or if you have eczema or a wound on your face. Using harsh hair and skin care products can irritate your skin while you are using Retin-A. Use only gentle cleansers and shampoos and avoid products that contain alcohol, citrus juices or astringents. Before using any other type of skin medication, check with your doctor first, as some products may irritate your skin. Use of Retin-A increases the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Using sunscreen every day will help prevent sunburn.
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