Retin-A / Tretinoin
Is there a miracle skin chemical out there? Well, no, but we can come close with
Retin-A. Imagine rubbing some lotion into your face each night and watching the
years roll right off your appearance. Well, Retin-A can do that for a lot
I mean let’s assume you’ve gotten your libido back, your testosterone is up,
your erections are hard and life is perfect and good. But is it really? You
may have had the same thought cross your mind that crossed mine at one point: what good is it to FEEL 15 years younger on the inside if you don’t LOOK 15 years younger on the outside?!?
Well, this is where Retin-A can come to the rescue. Retin-A is actually
most famous as a treatment for acne, so a lot of people don't realize that it is
a great wrinkle reducer and even wrinkle remover in some cases.
Now there are a lot of guys out there that feel that trying to make your face and
appearance is girly stuff. We picture a bunch of women talking and
giggling about some weird mud pack they put on their face. Well, that's
not what I am talking about here - there is nothing girly about Retin-A.
In fact, I would argue that using Retin-A is man's work, pure and simple.
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Why do I say that? Because Retin-A is easy, straightforward and backed by
science. Most of the expensive wrinkle reducing creams that your wife or
girlfriend buys in the mall has little to no research behind it and is a huge
waste of money. Retin-A, on the hand, has many studies under its belt and
years of use by dermatologists and physicians.
And, most importantly, Retin-A use is low key so no one ever
has to know. Applying Retin-A each night takes all of two minutes - it's
simple. There is no weird grape leaf mudback from the swamps of Brazil and
two hours of sitting under a hot towel watching Oprah. You just put a
little lotion on each night and - voila! - you are done.
There is nothing girly about taking two minutes each night and there's nothing
girly about looking ten years younger either. How does
Retin-A work its magic? It does so by actually "killing" the outer layers of the
skin on your face so that your body replaces it with new, "baby-like" skin. In
fact, it can actually create a little redness and, in some cases make you
literally peel when you first start using it. That's why it is important
when you are first starting out with Retin-A to slowly build up your tolerance.
If Retin-A is working for you, then you will notice the following as the weeks
and months go by: your skin will become softer and smoother - almost
polished - all the while your wrinkles are reducing as well. And all of
that from 2 minutes of work each night. Now I do have to give a warning
here: if you are eating the typical Western diet or smoking or overweight,
Retin-A isn't going to stem the tide of free radical and glycemic damage that
you are doing to your skin. Yes, Retin-A is a solid performer, but it's
not going to work miracles!
So is Retin-A natural? Well, yes and no. It is naturally occurring
and is just an acid form of Vitamin A. Is it safe? It has an
excellent track record with very few side effects if used correctly. In
fact, you are really not supposed to put on much Retin-A - just a very thin
layer, i.e. this isn't a lotion to slather on your face like an after shave
lotion. Furthermore, the typical solution is either .1% or .05%, so when
all is said and done you absorb very little of it. Plus, it may help to
know certain leukemia patients actually take large amounts of a
medication called Vesanoid, which is basically tretinoin (Retin-A). However, you
should discuss this with your doctor after reading my link on Just How Safe is
So let me give you a few guidelines for how to actually use and get the stuff:
A great body of research shows that Retin-A decreases wrinkles and improves the
general appearance of skin. It comes in .1% and .05% lotions or creaams
and (It can actually make you peel.) Of course, I realize that the vast majority of guys know next-to-nothing about
such things, so let me explain a little more:
A thin layer of Retin-A is usually applied at night. Strong sunscreen must
be applied over any areas where the Retin-A was used because topically applied A
Vitamins, such as that in Retin-A, can make your skin absorb sunlight much more
rapidly. Again, sunscreen is critical unless you live north of the Yukon.
In addition, you
have to be careful not to get Retin-A in your eyes. If fact, you have to
be extremely cautious about using Retin-A on the eye socket area where the skin
is much more thin and delicate that the rest of your face: you can do more
damage than good around the eyes if you are not careful. Some people use a .025%
solution around the eyes a few days per week with success, but every person is
different. Go easy and slowly because if you damage the skin around your eyes,
you'll look much older instead of younger. Remember: do no harm!
So how do you get Retin-A? It's prescription only in the US and other
It is actually a very cheap drug to make, so you can get it at a very reasonable
price from Mexico or other overseas pharmacies. However, I would advise getting it from a doctor rather than self-treating.
The reason is simple: you really need to have someone overseeing your
results to make sure you are using the right concentration and frequency and not
causing too much inflammation.
NOTE: They key is to get tretinoin, which is retinoic acid, as that is
substance that actually reduces wrinkles. Tretinoin is actually sold under
other brand names such as Renova. However, you should remember that
Retinol, which comes in many over-the-counter skin preparations is NOT tretinoin
or Retin-A. Do not get the two confused as Retinol does not have nearly
the strength as Retin-A for most individuals. The reason is the Retinol
has to first be converted by the body to retinoic acid and that is generally an
inefficient and highly variable process. Go for what works and that is
tretinoin, a.k.a Retin-A. There is also Retin-A Micro to consider as well.
Some say that Renova has the best moisturizer in it, but that is unlikely to
make a substantial difference. Remember: you are trying to build new
skin and reduce wrinkles.
Retin-A can cause irritation if you use too high of a concentration too quickly.
Both .10% and .05% can achieve clinical results, but for example .10% may be too
harsh for you skin: every person is different. You really don't want
significant redness or too much flaking for a significant period of time.
A doctor can help you get started on the right foot so that the
inflammation/healing process is at a reasonable pace so that you get the kind of
results you want without potentially damaging your skin.
Remember also that Retin-A will decay. I recommend that once you open it,
you refrigerate it to keep its potency for as long as possible. If you are
trying to be more secretive for some reason, be sure to keep it in a cool dry
place at as low of a temperature as possible. Anecdotally, it will last
for four months or more if you are careful and still work.
NOTE: One other benefit of Retin-A is with hair loss when coupled with
Rogaine (minoxidil). It works by "exfoliating" you skin, which means it
removes much of the hard, dry outer layer of your skin. And this allows
other chemicals to be absorbed more easily such as Rogaine. In other words, you
may get improved hair re-growth results using the combination of Rogaine +
Retin-A! Don't self-treat with this but talk to your doctor as there are a
number of studies showing good results using this technique.  In fact, some
studies have shown just Retin-A by itself can result in hair growth. Get
yourself a good doctor and find out what can be done if this is an issue for
NOTE: There are some OTC products that are reasonably priced that have a
study showing (apparently) wrinkle reduction benefits.  One of these products
is called Boots No7 Protect & Perfect SerumNow, admittedly, the study was funded
by the manufacturer. However, the results were so remarkable that it is
doubtful that it could be fabricated in my opinion, but one always has to keep
in mind conflicts of interest. What was remarkable was that not only did
this product reduce wrinkles, but it also increased fibrillin-1 in the skin.
Key components of skin are elastin, collagen and fibrillin. Fibrillin is
particularly vulnerable to photoaging, i.e. sun damage, and this product, Boots
No7 Protect & Perfect Serum, appears to actually reverse some of this damage.
It is critical with Retin-A that you protect yourself from the sun, since treated
skin will tan/color differently. However, modern sunscreens can be quite
toxic and dangerous. See this discussion on
The Safety of Modern
Sunscreens for more details.
Retin-A Do-It-Yourself Substitutes
Clinically what works best is a combination of topical (applied to the skin)
antioxidants coupled with a strong antioxidant-laden diet. In my case,
however, I have not found topical creams necessary.
If you want to try topical preparations of various antioxidants, then you are
certainly in good company: study after study has shown the benefits even,
in some case, to the point of reducing sun damage and reducing wrinkles.
For example, topical Vitamin C is a proven wrinkle remover. Furthermore,
Vitamin C strengthens and even stimulates collagen regrowth. (Note:
I have read that about 15% of oral Vitamin C gets to the skin which means that
if you take 1+ g, a significant amount will actually be there to protect your
How do you make your own Vitamin C? Well, it's surprisingly easy and it's
in the Infopacks that Smart Skin Care
sells for a very reasonable price. (I am in no way associated with this
site.) Doing this yourself will save you a lot of money - trust me!
NEWS FLASH: There is a supplement, Evelle, with
clinically proven results
to improve skin elasticity and roughness.  And it is no wonder, they put many
known antioxidants and skin-improvers into one pill including Vit E, Vit C,
Pycnogenol and Biotin among others.
That's another thing that separates most of us guys from most of the females in
this category: rationality about money. The Journal of Cosmetic
Dermatology found that dry patches on eczema patients experienced as much relief
with a 12$ over the counter moiturizer as with a $100 prescription cream called
Mimyx. If you go with a woman to one of the mall shops with a cosmetic
department, almost every skin care product she grabs will be in the $50-$100
price range. By making it yourself, you can do most everything in the
$5-$10 price range. Again, the goal in my opinion for us guys is fast,
affordable and very discreet. If you make it yourself, after all, no one
has to know.
Another thing you can find in the same Smart Skin Care Info Packs is how to
prepare topical CoQ10 preparations for you skin. Studies have shown that
CoQ10 both reduces wrinkle depth and protects against UVA radiation.  CoQ10
is a powerful antioxidant that is involved in the most primordial processes of
the cell: making ATP for energy. This cellular energy-production
process can produce an abundance of free radicals and CoQ10 is one of your first
lines of defense.
It's not as hard as you might think to turn back the clock. A little Retin-A and
sun screen and you will be
shocked at the results in 3 months. Now if you've been smoking or a heavy
sun-worshipper for decades, then you may have to resort to
Cosmetic Surgery for
But, either way, the practical steps on this page will make a significant
difference. Try it!
4) J Am Acad Dermatol, 1986, 15:880-883;Clin Pharmacol Ther, 1990m 47:439-46
5) Biofactors 1999;9(2-4):371-8
6) Br J Dermatol, 2009 Apr 28, [Epub ahead of print], "A cosmetic 'anti-ageing'
product improves photoaged skin: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial"
8) J of Dermatological Treatment, Jul 2004, 15: 222-226, "Supplementation with
Evelle® improves smoothness and elasticity in a double blind, placebo-controlled
study with 62 women"