Retinova (Tretinoin 0.05%) is about the best kept secret for ladies over 40 years of age who desire improvement in their skin quality.
Retinova is by far the strongest of the topical vitamin A-based skin products and can only be prescribed by a doctor after a consultation – it cannot just be bought over the counter due to its potency.
It works on the skin in several ways to improve texture and add radiance; it also helps with fine lines and fine wrinkles and to even out pigmentation irregularities, as well as close widened or open pores. It works by switching off enzymes in the skin known as matrix metalloproteases which break down collagen.
Retinova causes significant drying and micropeeling of the skin and it takes several months of continued usage for the skin to become more tolerant of it as well as for the full benefits to be seen. It also acts as excellent preparation for a TCA (trichloroacetic acid) based chemical peel, enhancing the effectivesness of the peel and making its depth of penetration far more uniform.
There are three main kinds of peel and they are graded on depth of penetration:
- Superficial – Glycolic acid/Salicylic acid
- Intermediate – Trichloroacetic
- Deep – Phenol(+/- croton oil) Baker-Gordon formula
Superficial peels are capable of improving skin quality and texture on a temporary basis. They are also effective in acne and may lighten pigmentation irregularities. Superficial peels of glycolic acid are a good way of giving the facial skin a sprucing up, improving active acne and helping with pigmentary and textural problems. They penetrate as far as the dermo-epidermal border and the skin is healed in just a few days.
Intermediate peels are capable of improving skin texture, pigmentation irregularities and some of the very finest lines and/or scars. They may be potentiated by other products (strong exfoliants, hydroquinone bleach and retinova) and can help photo-aged skin by improving texture, pigmentary changes, superficial scarring and wrinkles. The peels are performed in the clinic and take about 30 minutes to complete. The outer layers of skin peel away in the days after the treatment, leaving fresh, glowing, new skin underneath. Intermediate peels penetrate into the mid-dermal level and skin takes approximately one week to heal.
Deep peels such as phenol or phenol with croton oil, or the Exoderm peel, are very potent and capable of improving texture and wrinkles, evening out pigment irregularities and improving most actinic (radioactive) damage to the skin. They are roughly as potent as the laser and can confer similar dramatic, deep wrinkle- removing effects, however, like the laser, they can cause long-term redness, sun sensitivity and pigmentation changes.