“Retinoids” are a class of Vitamin A derivatives that are essential for the growth and development of normal skin, hair and nails. In the 1970’s, the first retinoid, tretinoin, or Retin A, was formulated to treat acne. As acne improved with this product, other changes in the skin treated with Retin A became apparent, including an overall improvement in skin texture, tone and gradual lessening of fine lines and wrinkles. Years of research demonstrated that these changes were due in part to increased dermal collagen production. Retinoids were also shown to speed up epidermal turnover rate, repair damaged DNA in skin cells, improve and normalize blood vessel growth, and shrink the size of oil glands. In the 1980’s therefore, retinoids began to be used for cosmetic purposes, and since then have come to play a major role in skin anti-aging, rejuvenation and sun protection. According to Dr. John Voorhees, Chairman of the University of Michigan School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, “To my knowledge, this is the only drug for which there has been crystal clear demonstration that it works on the molecular level.”
Retinoids are highly recommended by our physicians and aestheticians at Carolina Dermatology and Carolina Aesthetics. Both Retin A (tretinoin) and retinol, a less potent form of Retin A, can cause mild skin exfoliation and irritation which can limit their initial use. Gradually adding them to a skin care regimen is often helpful as are other techniques recommended by our physicians such as beginning with lower strength compounds. At Carolina Aesthetics, we offer these different strengths of the nonprescription retinol cream in order to accommodate all skin types and levels of skin sensitivity. Also, the retinol products we offer are formulated with green tea extracts and caffeine which are known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that help to counteract irritation. We not only recommend these products for facial rejuvenation, but encourage their use on skin of the neck, chest and hands where sun exposure and skin damage are likely to be greatest. Daily use of a topical sunscreen to these ares is also a requirement to obtain maximal benefit from these amazing, healthy and powerful compounds.