Retinoids!! , Topical retinoic acids are the “first line” and “the gold standard” treatment for acne

Retinoids are a class of medication that regulates skin cell growth, which makes this product a very effective treatment for a number of dermatological diseases including, but not limited to, acne. Retinoids are made for topical use as an ointment, cream, lotion, gel, and liquid.

Commonly used retinoids (Retinoic acids) are as follows:

  • Retin-A (Tretinoin)
  • Tazorac(Tazarotene)
  • Differin(Adapalene)
  • Acitretin(Soriatane)

Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A that are made naturally by the body as well as synthetically in the laboratory as a medication. Retinoids are the main key treatment for acne as well as therapy of various diseases such as psoriasis.

These agents normalize the shedding of the hair follicle lining and also have direct anti-inflammatory effects, thereby preventing the blockage of pores and decreasing the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), unplugging existing comedones, and allowing other topical medicines (such as antibiotics) to enter the follicles.

What are the functions of natural Retinoids throughout the body?

  • Retinoids are essential elements for vision.
  • They regulate the growth of the bone and tissue.
  • They regulate cell proliferation and epithelial cell growth.
  • They regulate immune function and activate tumor suppressor

Retinoids other benefits and usage

  • Acne treatment: Main indication for retinoid use is the treatment and control of acne by regulating cell growth of the hair follicles and skin.
  • Anti-aging: Retinoids are commonly used as topical and oral antioxidants to reverse sun damage (photoaging) and prevent signs of aging.
  • Psoriasis treatment:It is a treatment for psoriasis by regulating cell proliferation and epithelial cell growth.
  • Cancer prevention: Isotretinoin (ACCUTANE), the oral version of retinoids is used for prevention of cancer such as leukemia by regulating immune function and activating tumor suppressor genes. It is also used as chemotherapy for the treatment of brain and pancreas cancer because of its ability to kill rapidly dividing cells.

How to use and apply Retin-A cream

  • Wash the skin with recommended cleanser and cool or lukewarm water twice a day or more frequently if your skin is too oily. Pat skin dry only, avoid vigorous rubbing of the skin.
  • Avoid irritant : Use of hot water, Alcohol, acids must be avoided. Avoid using the cream in thin areas such as around eyes and under lower corner of the mouth unless it is advised differently.
  • Apply only once every night: Retinoids comes in gel or cream and must be applied to the skin once at bed time. Remember you skin is going to be sensitive to sun regardless daytime.
  • Retinoids Strength: Retinoids are available in full (0.1%) , half (0.05) and quarter(0.025) strength. Dr. Shafa usually prescribes full strength and instructs you to apply a smaller amount of the cream if your skin is matured, aged, thin or too sensitive. This saves you recurrent trips to the pharmacy.
  • Start applying a pea-sized amount of the Retinoid cream to the entire face by dotting it on followed by gently smearing it across the skin.
  • Give time: Your skin needs time to get used to the retinoid cream. After a week you start seeing the unwanted effect of the Retinoids, irritation and peeling of the skin. These unwanted effects subside after a few weeks.
  • Modify the amount used: people’s skin tolerance is different. During treatment you can use smaller size cream if you are showing too much reaction, likewise increase the amount used if you do not see peeling after 7 to 10 days.
  • Get a break: you may give a day or two break to your skin if you notice annoying, unwanted effects of the cream. Subsequently continue the treatment with a smaller amount of the cream applied to the skin at bed time.
  • OTC hydrocortisone cream 1% up to three times a day for just a few days can be used if the skin is too irritated.
  • Moisturizer use: Retinoids gives a creamy soft feeling to the skin at bedtime. No additional moisturizer is needed at bed time. During the day you may apply non-comedogenic moisturizer if your skin feels too dry.

Retinoids side effects

  • Dry skin: these agents control acne by diminishing the oil production which causes dry skin
  • Flakiness and peeling of the skin: Which occurs only within first few weeks of the treatment, while dead layers of the skin, which causes clogging of the pores, peels off.
  • Initial worsening of the acne: Bare with it! Retinoids treat acne by shedding and normalizing the hair follicle lining. The dead shedded skin debris can be the cause of clogged pores at the beginning of the treatment.
  • Photosensitivity: Retinoids make your skin more sensitive to the sun and radiation. Your skin can become red and irritated or easier sunburn with direct sun exposure.
  • Avoid Pregnancy: While you are on such a treatment. If you become pregnant you must stop use of Retinoic acid
  • Increase skin sensitivity: When you start treatment with Retinoids, when you apply products to the skin or wash your skin with cleanser you might feel increased skin sensitivity, tingling, stinging, warmth,itching and irritation. This is a temporary side effect and can be avoided if needed,

Contact Us!

If you are suffering from acne, feel free to call us to make an appointment to see Dr. Shafa. During your appointment, Dr. Shafa will evaluate your skin as well as overall health. After the type and cause of acne is diagnosed, Dr. Shafa will explain the variety of treatment options best suited to your needs and help select the best regimen for you and your skin. If you have questions prior to your visit, please do not hesitate to ask questions.