Retin-A 0.025 Cream Used for Wrinkles

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A woman has cosmetic cream in her hands. (Image: Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

With so many anti-aging products on the market, it is important to know which have proved effective for combating wrinkles and other signs of aging. Retin-A 0.025% cream is one of these products. The cream is used to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and other signs of aging on the skin, as well as to treat acne.

How It Works

Retin-A cream is the brand name of a topical prescription medication called tretinoin, which has been used to treat both acne and older-looking, sun-damaged skin. Retin-A cream is in a class of medications called retinoids, which are forms of vitamin A. Retinoids influence a variety of processes in the skin cells, including cell growth. At least part of the way that topical retinoids act to improve skin wrinkles is by increasing the number of epidermal -- skin -- cells, leading to a thickening of the skin in areas of wrinkles.

Studies on Effectiveness

Topical Retin-A is one of the most common medications for treating skin that has been aged by exposure to the sun. A study in the March 2015 issue of "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" reported that Retin-A 0.025% cream considerably improved wrinkles and overall signs of sun damage. A January 2012 study in the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology" likewise showed that Retin-A 0.025% cream significantly improved fine and coarse wrinkles, skin firmness, tone, roughness and overall sun damage on the face. These effects were achieved after applying the cream 2 times in the first week and then 3 times per week thereafter, for a total of 3 months. Retin-A cream is available in 3 strengths: 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%. Retin-A 0.025% generally works as well as the higher strengths.

Adverse Effects

The most common adverse effects of topical Retin-A are burning sensations, itching, redness and peeling of the skin in the areas of application. These effects usually occur within the first few weeks of treatment. To minimize or avoid these reactions, decreasing the frequency of application or switching to a less irritating retinoid, such as adapalene (Differin), may be advised. Another side effect of retinoid therapy is increased sensitivity to wind, cold and sun in the areas where the cream has been applied. Increased protection of the skin from the sun's ultraviolet radiation may be needed to avoid sunburns. Adverse effects are usually less with Retin-A 0.025% than with the stronger concentrations.

Precautions

Do not use Retin-A 0.025% cream if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen and protective clothing over the treated areas. Do not apply Retin-A cream near your eyes, mouth, nose or mucous membranes and do not apply it to any areas of broken skin. Other topical medications or products should not be used in combination with Retin-A cream unless recommended by your doctor. Avoid applying Retin-A cream to sunburned skin or skin with eczema, as this can produce severe irritation in the area. If you notice any sensitivity reactions, such as redness or a rash, stop using this cream and contact your doctor.

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