Prevent Premature Wrinkles With Retinoid Creams In Your 20s
Popular belief is that retinoids are only for spotty teenagers or older women. However studies have shown that retinoids can reverse skin damage in all ages.
And no, using retinoids when you’re young does not “speed up” aging or use up your skin’s quota. Retinoids have been around for decades and long term studies have proven this old wives tale to be false. More recent research has even shown that regular retinoid use will keep your DNA from aging and picking up damage.
How Do Retinoids Work On Wrinkles?
The mechanism behind the anti aging powers of retinoids are complex and involve more than 40 different steps, but the most important are:
- Activating genes that push skin healing powers to the max potential found in young people
- Repairs existing DNA damage
- Turns on the scavengers that clean up compounds which damage skin
- Regulate the processes that cause too much sebum and keratin to be made. This means less oily skin, less debris in your pores, and smaller pores.
What type of topical retinoid cream is best?
The term retinoid refers to different forms of vitamin A.
Here is a list of the most popular forms from the weakest to most powerful:
The first three are all topical retinoids while the last one is a medication, commonly known as Accutane. Most people know of and are wary of Accutane’s side effects. The safest retinoids are going to be the ones you apply to your skin which include OTC retinol and retinaldehyde creams as well as prescription strength Tretinoin.
For people with sensitive skin, the best retinoid would be a product with retinol. Retinol is the most gentle form and the most natural form. Once you have built up a tolerance then the best type of retinoid is tretinoin which is extremely powerful, quick acting, and stable.
Best Topical retinoid creams over the counter
In the U.S. most over the counter products will have retinol or retinaldehyde. The strongest products will have 1% retinol.
I recommend that you use a 1% retinol cream even if you are just starting out. The reason is you will need to use less cream for the same effect. This means you save $$$!
If the 1% cream by itself is too strong then just halve the amount and dilute the cream with your favorite serum. I like to use a hyaluronic acid serum because HA moisturizes and helps retinol penetrate the skin better.
Best Over The Counter Retinol Cream For Wrinkles
I learned about Green Cream from the ladies at the essentialdayspa forums and this is the retinol cream I used before I upgraded to prescription retinoids.
Green Cream comes in 3 strengths (3,6,9) with 3 being the weakest and 9 being the strongest. The best value for your dollar is the level 9 cream. If you find it too strong just dilute it with a serum/moisturizer when you apply.
I love that GC has very few fillers or fragrances which is great for sensitive skin and allergies. Plus it’s oil and wax free which was a godsend as I used to have horrible acne when I started using retinoids.
Start out slow by diluting the GC and only applying it once a week. I find that the level 9 cream is comparable to Retin-A 0.025% in strength so this is a powerful product.
What If Green Cream Gives You Dry Skin?
Don’t freak out if you get a lot of “flakies” at first. This is just all the old dead skin being pushed out by the new healthy skin from underneath. Your skin will be sensitive at first so baby your skin with moisturizers, serums, and sunscreen.
Avoid manual exfoliation or acid peels at this time. And never ever ever apply Green Cream to your eye area.
I used to get Green Cream from Amazon.com because of the free shipping and the fast ship time. Some of the other stores that sell Green Cream either charge shipping fees or have a high order amount before they’ll offer free shipping.
Tretinoin for anti-aging
Tretinoin is the type of retinoid in Retin-A and Renova. Youwill need a prescription to get tretinoin products in the U.S.
In Hong Kong and some European countries you can get retin-A without a prescription from your pharmacist.
Tretinoin is my favorite form as it is stronger than retinol. You will see results faster and the cost is lower than the over the counter creams with retinol.
Tretinoin can be too strong when you first use it. You might get peeling, redness, and irritation. Here’s what I do to cut down the strength. I apply only 1/4 the usual amount of tretinoin cream mixed with my regular moisturizer. This way you can adjust the strength and save money by using less of the retinoid!
Use Retinoids For Anti Aging – Wrinkles, Brown Spots, Elasticity, Thicker Skin
Retinoids will thin the uppermost layer of skin this means you will be more sensitive to the sun. However it also means you have less of the dead skin cells that give you dull looking skin. At the same time retinoids thicken the underlying layer (the epidermis). A thick and supple epidermis is what keeps wrinkles and lines away.
Regular Retinoid Use Has Been Shown To Increase Skin Elasticity
A study by the University of Michigan showed that regular retinoid use (at least once a week) increased collagen production in damaged skin. Yet another study showed that retinoids increased the production of elastin in skin cells up to 2.8 fold. Tretinoin has also been shown to increase the number of blood vessels in skin tissue. This means a healthy glow as more blood flow and nutrients reach your skin.
Why is this important? Because elastin and collagen are responsible for the structure and flexibility of your skin. Your levels of elastin and collagen are highest in your teenage years. As you age your skin cells make less and less of these compounds. This decrease is constant and is the reason why mature skin is wrinkled, thin, and saggy.
It took about 10 months before these improvements were noticeable. This shows that retinoids are one of the few products that can reverse aging and skin damage. However it will require dedication and consistency on your part.
Tretinoin and Retinol Cream Warnings
- Use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when using retinoid products.
- Slowly increase the number of times you apply retinoids. You have to build up a tolerance.
- It is normal to experience sensitivity, flaking, or dryness at first. Dial back the amount of cream you use and the symptoms will disappear as your skin adjusts.
- Use a moisturizer to minimize the appearance of flaky skin.
- Don’t use retinoids if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you use other exfoliators such as AHAs, BHAs, or enzymes alternate and stagger them with your retinoid cream. Do not apply them in the same day. Some ingredients will cross react and will be less effective. Others will irritate your skin.
What Should You Do Now?
- Choose a retinoid product that you can use on a consistent basis. Start with the lowest strength if this is the first time you’ve used retinoid products.
- Apply at night after cleansing and before moisturizing. Start using it once a week. If your skin is okay, then increase to twice a week (1 x every 3 days). If this is okay increase the frequency again to 3 times a week (1x every 2 days) and so on and so forth.
- Remember to use sunscreen and moisturize.
- After 2 months admire your clear and glowing and dewy skin. Amazing – you’ve just taken 10 years off of your face!