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 Blemish Clearing Serum. Formulated with Salicylic Acid, Allantoin and Barberry bark extract to unclog pores, reduce skin breakouts and prevent acne scars. Use it every night to boost skin renewal, lighten post acne marks and even out skin tone. For a super radiant booster, mix few drops of Blemish Clearing Serum with a small amount of your usual face serum or moisturiser at night, you will be amazed how smooth and radiant your skin is in the morning. 

I also love to mix few drops of Blemish Clearing Serum with Melt Away Triple Action Cleansing Cream and use it as a 10 minute pore refining mask.

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.

There isn't a way yet to stop skin ageing completely. As part of ageing process; collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and other skin components are getting depleted at a certain pace depending on the genetic predisposition and external factors. Fortunately, we can slow down the skin ageing process. One of my award-winning anti-ageing formulas is Bio-Collagen Serum. Formulated with Resveratrol, Coenzyme Q10, 24-karat Nano Gold, Ferulic and Hyaluronic Acid; Bio-Collagen Serum rejuvenates skin cells and minimises the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin. 



Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Read >>>



Recommended Article:

Is Resveratrol The Anti-Wrinkle Alternative to Tretinoin and Botox? Read >>>

You may also like:

Rose Gold Antioxidant Youthful Serum with 24-karat nano gold, rose extract, allantoin, pro-vitamin B5, saccharide isomerate, prickly pear and cacay oil to help prevent premature skin ageing and reduce the existing signs of ageing.

Bio-Renewal Face Oil, a rejuvenating radiance oil with blue chamomile, frankincense, coenzyme Q10, cacay and rosehip oil to boost skin radiance, even out complexion and minimise the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.

Nano Gold Nourishing Cream with 24-karat colloidal gold, saccharide isomerate, blue chamomile, frankincense, shea butter, rosehip and rice bran oil to prevent skin dryness and minimise the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Ultra Smoothing Cellulite Serum Oil with vitamin E, menthol, palmarosa, grapefruit, lemon, rosemary, black pepper and sweet fennel essential oils to firm and smooth the appearance of orange-peel skin.

Bio-Collagen Serum, an award-winning rejuvenating lifting serum with ultra-low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10, ferulic acid, resveratrol, vitamin E, nano gold particles, rose and scutellaria extract.



Melt Away, a Triple Action Facial Cleanser that can also be used as a makeup remover, deep-cleansing mask and gentle exfoliator.

Hair Growth Serum, a scalp revitaliser for thinning hair with caffeine, niacinamide, menthol, rosemary, thyme, ylang ylang and cedarwood essential oils to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth.

Ultra Nourishing Repair Balm for Stretch Marks and Dry Skin with vitamin E, Rosewood, Neroli, Prickly Pear, Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn, Chia Seed and Evening Primrose oil to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, dry patches and signs of ageing. Perfect for dry lips, hands and feet too.

Bio-Collagen Skincare Collection, the Ultimate Anti-Ageing Skincare Collection to rejuvenate your skin and slow down the signs of ageing. Highly recommended for those in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond or for younger people who suffer from premature skin ageing. 

Hair Loss Solution for Men and Women, a set of thinning hair treatment products to rejuvenate hair follicles and stimulates hair growth.



Antioxidant Youthful Essence, a multi-award-winning Anti-Pollution Hydrating Mist with allantoin, panthenol, turmeric, ginkgo and blue chamomile essential oil to protect skin from free radicals and pollutants.

Flower Essence Hydra-Calming Toner with a synergistic blend of nine flower extracts to gently awaken the sense and instantly freshen tired skin.

Bio-Collagen Ageless Cream, an extra firming and lifting cream with ultra-low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, n-acetyl glucosamine, coenzyme Q10, argan oil, shea butter, 24-karat gold nanoparticles, vitamin E, gotu kola and rose extract.

Scalp Stimulator, a pre-shampoo hair root activator for thinning hair with cannabis sativa, rice bran, menthol, vitamin E, rosemary, cedarwood, thyme, ylang ylang and lemon essential oils to revitalise hair follicles and boost hair growth.

Neroli Antioxidant Cream, award winning Anti-Pollution Dry Skin Moisturiser to replenish skin's lipid barriers, restore healthy moisture levels, strengthen skin's defense against premature ageing and environmental damage.



Overnight Skin Perfector, an advanced complexion repair serum with blue chamomile, liquorice root, panthenol, alpha and beta hydroxy acids to boost cell renewal, even out skin tone and diminish the look of wrinkles and lines.

Rose and Cacay Hydrating Cream, the award-winning antioxidant hydrating moisturiser with rose extract, cacay oil and saccharide isomerate to boost skin's hydration levels, plump up and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

Hydra Calm, a two-in-one Ultra Comforting Cleansing Cream and Soothing Mask to remove all traces of dirt including makeup, or alternatively to hydrate and comfort sensitive skin.

Blemish Clearing Serum, a 2% Salicylic Acid Solution to unclog congested pores, regulate sebum production and renew the appearance of blemished skin.

Chamomile & Cacay Oil, a 100% natural botanical formula with blue chamomile, rice bran and cacay oil to lock in moisture, strengthen skin's natural defense, soothe and revitalise undernourished sensitive skin.

Bio-Collagen Eye and Lip Cream with Resveratrol, Niacinamide, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Caffeine and Hyaluronic Acid oil to reduce signs of ageing and get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles.



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.

Leave a comment