Is the Prescription Tretinoin an Effective Treatment for Reducing the Signs of Aging?

Bringing Science to Beauty & Health

Bookmark and Share

Apr 05

Sallie Deitz LME

Is the Prescription Tretinoin an Effective Treatment for Reducing the Signs of Aging?

by Sallie Deitz LME

Yes. Tretinoin, which is the prescription and brand name Retin-A® does work, beautifully… Not only does is reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and even skin tone, it is also used to treat acne. Tretinoin is so effective we offer it in 2 strengths .025% and .05%. We recommend .025% Tretinoin to clients with sensitive skin.


The Science: Briefly, what is Tretinoin (Retin-A®), and what does it do?

Retin-A® is a trade name for Tretinoin, which is derived from retinoic acid, derived from Vitamin A. Discovered by the late, Albert M. Kligman, M.D., a long-term dermatologist, from the University of Pennsylvania, it was originally used for improving acne. Tretinoin was later to have been found to smooth the effects of wrinkles, by causing cells to turn over at a faster rate, thus increasing collagen proliferation, and normalizing skin cells. Additionally, it was found to increase glycosaminoglycan’s (aka gags), which are naturally occurring water-loving molecules in the skin, such as hyaluronic acid, that bind moisture in the skin.

As we age, it takes longer for cells to make it through the cell cycle, and some…just give up! If at eighteen, our cells are turning over every 20-28 days, at fifty-five, it may take up to 45-50 days, or longer. Tretinoin can speed up this cycle, and regulate the process by maintaining that increase.  Additionally, it helps to affect the retention of collagen, while improving the skin’s overall texture.

What is the difference between Retin-A® and Retinol?

Both Retin-A® (Tretinoin) and Retinol are derived from Vitamin A, and both are used for age management. Due to the similarities in names, Retinol is often confused with the prescription, Retin-A. However, Retinol is in fact not the same and is not as effective as Retin-A.

Retin-A® (Tretinoin) has over twenty-five years of clinical study in collagen building and ultimately, adds moisture to the dermis (second layer) of the skin; a proven fact. Retinol is a precursor to the active drug (Tretinoin), and needs to be activated within the skin by an enzyme in order to be effective. Retin-A® (Tretinoin) will be more beneficial to increasing cell renewal, and therefore, collagen in the skin.

How to Use Retin-A® (Tretinoin)  


The best way to begin using Tretinoin is to use it in light applications. Dr. Kligman always used to say, no more than a pea size to start the treatment process. Also, use it every third or fourth evening, so that the existing skin has time to acclimate to its components. As everyone is unique and has varying levels of sensitivity, here are a few ideas to get started:

  1. Test patch a light application on back of the neck for 1-2 weeks to see how your skin reacts (try it twice a week).
  2. Use a small amount (pea size) on face and neck, every third night after cleansing.
  3. If skin feels dry, apply the Tretinoin, wait 15 minutes, then add a moisturizer over the top.
  4. For body (a new shipment has just arrived), use the same protocol as above.
  5. Add to every other night, as skin becomes tolerant.
  6. Make sure to use Dynamic Broad Spectrum SPF 55 with Zinc Oxide 4.8% liberally and daily, to protect, and hydrate.


Siddharth Mukherjee,1 Abhijit Date,2 Vandana Patravale,3 Hans Christian Korting,4Alexander Roeder,4 and Günther Weindl5  (2006) Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety  htt://

Articles & Resources


Reversing the signs of aging for younger looking hands starts with preventing and protecting your skin. Daily nurturing and care of our hands can improve hands at any age, and can go a long...

view full article >


Spider veins and varicose veins for many people are a cosmetic issue. Although veins are an important part of our circulatory system, is there an effective treatment to fade or eliminate...

view full article >