If you are starting to see some wrinkles on your face and have been told that Retin A would be good to get rid of those wrinkles- there is some truth to that. However, it is important to divide wrinkles into two categories, fine surface lines and deeper lines. Vitamin A products in general, are more effective for fine lines. Deeper lines usually require more procedural techniques such as Botox, facial fillers or plastic surgery.
Dr. Wright’s Tip
Topical products containing natural forms of Vitamin A (retinol, retinaldehyde) or vitamin A derivatives called retinoic acids (tretinoin) have proven to be beneficial for aging skin by reducing wrinkles and smoothing skin texture. Tretinoin (Avita, Renova, Differin) which has undergone extensive testing, has been shown to modestly improve skin texture and wrinkles. Available only by prescription, they are the most proven and effective creams. However, many people will experience an “acclimation period” where the skin will become red and flaky – and this will last for months! To solve this problem, Retinaldehyde (RETRINAL by Avene) is the next step down the list and studies have shown it to be comparable to Retin-A for wrinkle reduction and it is well tolerated. We carry RETRINAL by Avene in our clinic. It can help to reduce the appearance of facial redness as well. On the very bottom of the Vitamin A scale are Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate . These ingredients can be found in small amounts in useful over-the-counter creams. However, many of these products are not packaged properly and exposure to light will degrade the molecule and make it inactive. The FDA also warns that over-the-counter retinol skin products are unregulated; the amount of active ingredients is unknown and some preparations, in fact, may contain no retinol. Two examples of brands that are manufactured and packaged properly and I feel comfortable recommending to my patients are RoC Retinol Actif Pur and Neutragena Healthy Skin.