" At a 0.05% or higher concentration, tretinoin increases the phototoxicity of UV light."
What is Tretinoin?
Tretinoin is a member of vitamin A group. Also known as all-trans retinoic acid, it is the most potent form of vitamin A. Tretinoin is often used topically for the treatment of acne, wrinkle and hyperpigmentation.
The Skin Benefits of Tretinoin (All-Trans Retinoic Acid)
Sebum production in our skin is controlled by testosterone, a hormone which is produced in both men and women. In general men produce more sebum than women. However, women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are known to produce excess testosterone in their body. This causes the excess sebum production which triggers acne. Tretinoin has been proven to be effective for the treatment of acne. A study involving 577 people showed that tretinoin reduces the acne inflammation. It is particularly effective at 0.3% concentration. It also reduces acne scars within 24 weeks and hyperpigmentation within 40 weeks. Tretinoin boosts the collagen synthesis in the skin, hence it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and lines too.
" Antioxidant Youthful Essence is the first anti-ageing formula that I created for my own skin. 20 years on, I still use this ultimate pre-serum treatment complex twice a day."
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The Side Effects of Tretinoin
Similar to retinol, tretinoin increases the risk of UV-induced skin damage including skin cancer. Studies showed that at a 0.05% concentration or higher, tretinoin increases the phototoxicity of UV light. Other potential side effects include excessive skin dryness, peeling and sensitivity. Due to the potential severe side effects, tretinoin should only be used under supervision of a dermatologist.
The Safe Alternatives to Tretinoin
Personally, I don't want to use tretinoin due to its potential side effects. There are safe alternative ingredients to look for in skincare products such as:
1. L-ascorbic acid
Known as the most potent vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid boosts collagen synthesis in the skin, prevents UV-induced photoageing and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, lines, acne and pigmentation spots. The efficacy of l-ascorbic acid is significantly increased when it is combined with ferulic acid and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E). To reduce signs of ageing, dark spots, blemishes and to protect the skin from free radicals, pollution and UV lights including blue light emitted by digital devices, apply Antioxidant Youthful Essence to freshly cleansed face and neck every morning and evening. This multi-award-winning vitamin C pre-serum has been formulated with l-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, ferulic acid and pro-vitamin B5.
Niacinamide is the best form of vitamin B3 which helps prevent UV-induced skin damage. Studies also showed that niacinamide promotes the production of collagen, elastin and other proteins in the skin by up to 100%. The efficacy of niacinamide is further improved when it is mixed together with n-acetyl glucosamine, a natural peptide extracted from the outer shells of shellfish. Niacinamide and n-acetyl glucosamine work synergistically to reduce wrinkles, lines and pigmentation spots. To restore radiance, elasticity, firmness and to protect the skin from all ageing factors, apply Bio-Collagen Ageless Cream as a day and night moisturiser. Formulated with niacinamide, n-acetyl glucosamine, 24-karat gold, hyaluronic acid and coenzyme Q10; this supreme anti-ageing cream has been developed to diminish all signs of ageing.
" Bio-Collagen Ageless Cream was born from a request from my customer for the best possible anti-ageing cream. Now it is the only cream I use on my skin, day and night."
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Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA and UK at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
Scientific Sources: Evaluation of tretinoin cream 0.05% as a potential cause of phototoxicity and photoallergy, Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2002, 15(4): 17-20; Retinoid Associated Phototoxicity and Photosensitivity, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Volume 40, Issue 1, 1989, Pages 123-135; Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne, Dermatology and Therapy, 2017 Sep, 7(3): 293–304.
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