Retin-A (tretinoin) is a form of vitamin A that helps the skin renew itself. Retinoids work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles take hold.
Retin-A is often confused with Retinol, a natural form of vitamin A. Retin-A is a derivative of retinoic acid. The generic name is tretinoin or retinoic acid. It has been heralded as the most significant addition to skin care this century.
Originally sold to treat acne, it was found that Retin-A creams could combat wrinkles, dark spots and sagging of facial muscles. It works by stimulating collagen production, inducing cell reproduction and removing the top layer of skin. This decreases the instances of wrinkles and it can prevent new ones from forming. Furthermore it increases elasticity in the skin. Retin-A is the only topical treatment for wrinkles that is FDA approved. Alongside these benefits, it also fades age spots and discolouration associated with sun damage.
It can cause skin irritation initially; it is associated with initial dryness, itching, redness and sun sensitivity.