Tretinoin is a topical form of vitamin A that can be applied to the skin. The cream is used in a variety of capacities, one of which is as a wrinkle fighter. Understanding how to make tretinoin work for your skin can help you achieve smoother, more wrinkle-free skin.
When applied to the skin, tretinoin activates certain triggers on the skin known as retinoid receptors, according to Smart Skincare. Examples of these receptors include those that control cell growth and the manufacture of proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are two fibers that give skin its elasticity. In addition to encouraging growth, tretinoin inhibits the production of an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin. Tretinoin is able to fight wrinkles by both building up proteins that fight wrinkles and inhibiting proteins that can cause wrinkling.
Tretinoin is available by a physician's prescription only. However, a number of formulations are available. If you have oily skin, gel applications can fight wrinkles while taking on a beneficial drying effect, according to Dr. Audrey Kunin, a dermatologist writing on DERMA Doctor, a skincare resource website. If your skin is dry to very dry, creams or ointment tretinoin formulations may be recommended for their ability to moisturize. Varying strengths also are available.
Apply tretinoin cream to your skin 20 to 30 minutes after washing your face, according to Kunin. Apply a pea-sized amount to your finger and apply to areas of wrinkling. Rub this cream in well. Wash your hands after use and be sure not to get the cream in your eyes. You can, however, carefully apply the cream around the eyes, where crow's feet occur. You may wish to apply the product every night when you first use it in order to minimize adverse effects.
Tretinoin application to fight wrinkles can result in initial skin irritation or burning, according to the MayoClinic.com. Other side effects can include skin dryness, peeling and skin lightening in certain areas. As your skin becomes more accustomed to the tretinoin application, side effects will likely diminish. However, if your symptoms do not cease after several weeks or you experience more severe symptoms, including skin darkening or extreme dryness, cease tretinoin use.
Using an anti-wrinkle cream containing tretinoin can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, according to the MayoClinic.com. For this reason, you should wear sunscreen containing a sun protection factor of 15 or higher in order to prevent sunburn and ultraviolet damage. Daily moisturizers that contain SPF 15 are available to minimize irritation from tretinoin application and the sun.