Skin Treatments for Wrinkles
Tretinoin, or retinoic acid, is commonly known by the brand name Retin-A and is one of many topical skin treatments proven to reduce wrinkles. Available only by prescription, the drug is a potent form of vitamin A. Tretinoin works by increasing cell turnover and increasing collagen production: sloughing old, damaged cells away and in turn bringing fresh, plump cells to the skin’s surface.
Sun exposure is the culprit behind nearly every skin condition we associate with age, such as wrinkles, sun spots, skin cancers, and poor elasticity and tone. Because the uppermost layer of skin cells is the first to receive the sun’s ravaging rays, these cells bear the brunt of sun spots, uneven pigmentation, and wrinkles. Retinoic acid speeds cell turnover, so these uppermost cells are not only exfoliated away, but there is less time for the new cells, now on the surface, to become sun-damaged. Therefore, in addition to decreasing the appearance of wrinkles, tretinoin can prevent new ones from forming, plus fade discoloration and sun damage, reduce the risks of developing skin cancer and, with its collagen-boosting properties, improve the skin’s texture and elasticity.
If you choose retinoic acid as part of your anti-age treatment, be sure to speak with a cosmetic medicine skincare professional beforehand. The drug is available only by prescription. Expect to see some peeling, drying, and irritation after the first few days of use – this is the cell turnover in action. Retinoic acid does increase sun sensitivity, so it’s best to start in the fall or winter to reduce sun exposure risk. Even then, wear a full-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 35 and re-apply it throughout the day, a broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when outdoors.
While tretinoin can deliver noticeable results in six weeks or less, vitamin C is an option for those who prefer a slower-but-steady route to reduce wrinkles and boost collagen. The irritation and dryness you may experience is typically less harsh than that of retinoic acid.
Vitamin C benefits skin twofold. First, vitamin C is essential for collagen growth. In laboratory settings, when vitamin C is added to a culture of skin cells, there is a dramatic increase in the growth of collagen. Second, vitamin C is an antioxidant, helping to reduce skin damaged caused by the sun’s free radicals. Therefore, vitamin C reduces wrinkles and boosts collagen, improving overall skin texture.
However, unlike retinoic acid, which can be shelf-stable for some time, vitamin C is notoriously unstable in cosmetic preparations. In the presence of air, sunlight, or other oxidizing agents, cosmetic vitamin C degrades, making it essentially useless as a skincare preparation. Degraded vitamin C serums typically take on a brownish appearance. When purchasing cosmetic vitamin C preparations, be careful to choose products packaged in a way that shields the product from sunlight, with the serum itself colored white or clear.
At The Elizabeth Roche MedSpa, we have several Vit.C preparations to choose from. To learn more about these important vitamins and how you can incorporate them into your skin care routine, please call our office at 201-505-1020.