Tretinoin (All-Trans Retinoic Acid): Is It An Anti-Wrinkle or A Hype?

What is Tretinoin?

Tretinoin, also known as All-Trans Retinoic Acid, is a member of vitamin A group. Widely regarded as the most potent form of vitamin A, Tretinoin has been used extensively for acne treatment. However, due to the potential side effects including excessive drying, peeling, phototoxicity and photosensitivity effects, it is normally used at a low concentration.

The Skin Benefits of Tretinoin (All-Trans Retinoic Acid)

Tretinoin is one of the skincare ingredients that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of acne. As mentioned in the previous article about adult acne, the sebum production is controlled by testosterone, a hormone that is produced in both men and women.

The excess sebum and Propionibacterium acnes bacteria are believed to be the main trigger of acne inflammation.

Similar to Salicylic Acid, Tretinoin is greatly beneficial for acne-prone skin. A study involving 577 people showed that Tretinoin reduced the acne inflammation. It is particularly effective at 0.3% concentration. It also reduced acne scars (within 24 weeks) and hyperpigmentation (within 40 weeks). Somehow, Tretinoin helps boost collagen synthesis and skin renewal.

Nevertheless, Tretinoin is such a potent substance, therefore, it is highly recommended to only use it under the supervision of a qualified dermatologist.

For tretinoin-free skincare products for blemish-prone skin, try Overnight Skin Perfector. Formulated with Salicylic Acid, Liquorice extract, Blue Chamomile and Panthenol to unclog pores, reduce skin breakouts and even out skin tone without drying effect. Use this Complexion Repair Serum every night to boost skin renewal, lighten post acne marks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines.


The Risks of Using Tretinoin (All-Trans Retinoic Acid) Skincare Products

Similar to Retinol, Tretinoin is known to increase skin sensitivity to UV-induced damage including the development of skin cancer. As we know, the risk for cancer is increases with age, therefore, the use of Tretinoin skincare products for the treatment of signs of ageing should be reviewed and reconsidered. 

Due to the highly irritating, drying and peeling effects of Tretinoin; personally, I don't think it is suitable for mature, premature ageing and sensitive skin.

Is Tretinoin An Anti-Wrinkle or Just A Hype?

Due to the collagen-boosting and skin renewing properties, Tretinoin is sometimes used for the treatment of signs of ageing such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and UV-induced skin damage.

The most successful temporary anti-wrinkle is Botulinum toxin, that needs to be injected into the muscles. Widely known as Botox, this neurotoxic substance is capable of paralysing the muscles. The results are likely to last for a few months. However, this shouldn't be done casually. Regularly injecting toxic chemical into the body carries its own risk.

I don't believe there is a permanent anti-wrinkle; as with age, collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and other skin components are getting depleted at a pace that is depending on the genetic predisposition and external factors. There isn't a way yet to stop ageing completely; nevertheless, we can slow down the ski ageing process. For tretinoin-free anti-wrinkle treatment, try the award-winning Bio-Collagen Serum.


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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.