These unwanted effects — particularly skin dryness and acne breakouts — are widely referred to as the “tretinoin purge.” While they don't affect everyone, many tretinoin users experience some degree of purge effects during the first several weeks of treatment.
The tretinoin purge means that the retinoic acid is working and that you are on the way to healthy, clear skin, possibly for the first time in years! If you're using tretinoin to treat the signs of aging, it's still possible to experience skin purging even if you don't normally suffer from acne or breakouts.
“No, purging is a temporary phenomenon. Your skin should improve if you persevere,” advises Dr Derrick Phillips, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. “Retinoids dry out the skin and can cause irritation, particularly in those with dry skin.
After 4 – 6 weeks
After 4-6 weeks, your skin will get used to tretinoin and will begin to be noticeably smoother and more even. A lot of the initial irritation will settle down and true “retinization” of your skin is in full force.
Many tretinoin users experience a “purge” during the first several weeks of treatment. During this period, acne — the very problem tretinoin is supposed to treat — often gets worse, resulting in everything from the occasional whitehead to severe breakouts.
Tretinoin is an effective long-term treatment for the treatment of acne. While it won't work for everyone, studies show that it encourages cell turnover that can even skin tone, treat breakouts, and decrease the appearance of acne scarring.
In general, retinol is one of the more gentle varieties of retinoids, however, “if you're going to experience shedding it will begin on day three to five of daily night time use, and this usually continues for about five to 10 days depending on your skin type and the percentage of retinol you've used,” adds Ejikeme.
You may notice tretinoin starting to work within 2 to 3 weeks, but it can take 6 weeks or more to experience the full benefit. If you don't see improvement within 12 weeks, or if you have significant improvement and wonder if you should start using it less frequently, talk to your doctor.
As your skin adjusts to the medicine, you can apply it more frequently. If you notice an increase in irritation or flaking, it's OK to take a break for a couple of days. Just don't stop using the medication completely without consulting your health care provider.
Peeling, redness, and irritation are common onset reactions for some people when they first start to use retinol. Some reactions get so bad that the common term used to describe the list of effects has been dubbed the “retinol uglies”. Note from a skincare expert: Many things in life get worse before they get better.
Not all skin care ingredients pair well together. Some combinations can react negatively or lessen the ingredients' benefits. Fortunately, it's safe to mix niacinamide and retinol. In fact, the combination is considered to have numerous benefits.
Although tretinoin may take only a few weeks to yield some results, other studies of tretinoin as an acne treatment show continual improvement over the course of six months to even one year, meaning that tretinoin is a viable long term treatment option.
In the US, the strongest tretinoin cream on the market contains . 1% tretinoin, or one unit of tretinoin per 100 units. The weakest cream contains . 005% tretinoin, or approximately 5% as much tretinoin as the strongest .
Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen. If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist.
Buffering—or layering a retinol product between two layers of moisturizer—can also help minimize retinol burn. “Benefits will be seen in about four to six weeks of consistent, nightly use,” she says. You might also get more breakouts once you start using retinoids. Keep calm and stick with it.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.
Generally, it takes a few weeks to see results, but some OTC options may require months of regular use. Most dermatologists said you'll need to use retinol for a few weeks before you see results, but you should see improvements by 12 weeks with most products.
Purging is slightly different, appearing on the skin mostly as blackheads or small skin-coloured bumps just under the surface of the skin. But it is also possible for purging to cause similar spots to a breakout, too.
First, the answer is yes, retinol can make wrinkles worse, especially when you first start using it. What is happening is a drying effect, and one can get epidermal sliding from separation from the dermis.
Enlarged facial pores happen when oil, dirt, and dead skin cells build up in pores, making them look larger. Tretinoin minimizes pore appearance by increasing cell turnover and boosting exfoliation, which clears debris in the pores and allows pores to shrink back to their normal size.
Contrary to popular belief, tretinoin is not a “bleaching agent” or medicine designed specifically to lighten your skin tone. While tretinoin can even out patches of hyperpigmentation and cause a mild change in your skin tone, it doesn't affect melanin synthesis.
“Studies suggest you need to use at least 0.25% retinol or 0.025% tretinoin to be effective, so I recommend using a product that specifies the percentage.” When choosing a retinol product, Dr. Rogers says it's best to start with the lowest concentration before moving up. Another thing to consider is your skin type.
Tretinoin is a more potent retinoid than retinol and will show results faster. While these active ingredients both combat signs of photoaging (aka wrinkles, rough skin, uneven skin tone, and enlarged pores), tretinoin-based products like Night Shift are more effective for fighting acne.
No, it's not. It's just an adjustment process. For the record, no study proved that there's been any skin damage or signs of 'faster aging' caused solely by retinol.