Step-by-step to success with Retin-A

I consider Retin A to be the queen of anti-ageing creams. It was widely acclaimed during the 1980s, but the beauty industry never really promoted it.

In those days it was a low-cost, over-the-counter pharmacy item, then later it became necessary to have a prescription and the price increased; no government subsidy. The beauty industry began to promote their own alpha hydroxy creams and Retin-A dropped off the radar. It couldn’t be used as an additive in beauty creams because it was a prescription item.

Retin-A was developed in America in the 1980s as an acne cream. The anti-ageing effect was discovered by accident. During the 1990’s I visited the U.S. quite often and was introduced to the miracle of Retin-A by friends and have been a fan ever since.

Retin-A causes skin cells to replace more often than usual. Because of the more frequent cell replacement, skin becomes marginally thinner and loses much of its thick, dull appearance. Some fine wrinkles disappear. Some pigmentation and redness will reduce. Use of Retin-A causes tiny blood vessels to increase and also stimulates collagen and elastin production. Your skin will look young and plump and new.

Now here is the downside: Retin-A is tricky to use. You must be patient and pay attention to the detailed instructions.

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Eleven Steps to Success with Retin-A:

  1. Visit your doctor and get the prescription – get 0.05% cream. It can come under different names like Retrieve and Stieva-A, so don’t be surprised if your tube is not labelled Retin-A.
  2. You must not be pregnant (just joking) – There was thought to be a link between Retin-A and some birth defects, hence the prescription.
  3. From the chemist, purchase a bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and have Sigmacort 1% ointment (prescription necessary) on hand. Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser is used to dilute the Retin-A because it does not contain any harsh ingredients that could re-act with the Retin-A.
  4. First night. Mix half one little fingernail sized amount of Retin-A with two little fingernail sized amounts of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and massage over your face and neck.
  5. Second night. Miss the Retin-A and Cetaphil – use a liposome or peptide moisturiser.
  6. If there is no dryness or flakiness, continue using this mix of Retin-A and Cetaphil every second night.
  7. However, if you do experience flakiness or dryness, or do so in the future, miss the Retin-A and Cetaphil for about a week. Use Sigmacort on any irritated areas and liposome or peptide moisturiser. Restart the Retin-A and Cetaphil mix, but cut down the Retin-A to a quarter of a little fingernail sized amount and use only every third night. Continue for about two weeks.
  8. If, after three weeks of the above routine, you are not experiencing any ill effects, go back to using the half little fingernail amount of Retin-A every second night. If you are still experiencing difficulties, space out the frequency even further and reduce the amount even more. You are in the process of helping your skin to become accustomed to Retin-A and need to experiment.
  9. It is important to understand that you will probably never settle to a constant routine of frequency of use and amount of Retin-A. You will always have to be alert to the need to adjust the amount and frequency and it is unlikely that you will ever be able to use Retin-A undiluted or every night.
  10. Allow about three months of regular use to pass before judging the result.
  11. Use the diluted Retin-A all over your face, forehead, neck, eyelids and delicate skin under the eyes.
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It is suggested that you use sunscreen on your face every day because Retin-A use is constantly exposing new skin and that new skin will be vulnerable to sun damage, Most cosmetics now contain an SPF so there should be no problem. When on a beach holiday or camping trip give up Retin-A all together.

Because Retin-A will cause the top layer of skin to be constantly shedding, use a gentle exfoliant regularly if not daily to keep skin looking smooth and pearly (I recommend daily to help refine open pores anyway).

As mentioned Retin-A is only available on prescription, so beauty creams which suggest that Retin-A is an ingredient – called Retinol and other similar Retin-A sounding names are not Retin-A otherwise you would need a prescription to buy the beauty cream.

A tube of Retin-A will cost around $30 – not too expensive in the scheme of beauty cream prices and will last for a year or more – remember only a tiny amount is used and only every second night at the most.

Perseverance and patience with Retin-A will pay off once your skin has become accustomed to it, you have settled into a routine and the three month mark has passed. I can’t tell you how excited you will be to have such a beautiful, youthful complexion – probably only needing minimum make-up. I wish you all the best with the queen of beauty creams.

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Have you tried Retin-A? Share your beauty secrets!


For other great Health & Beauty Tips For Women Aged Between 60 & 80, Margaret Woodberry’s book is available for $24.95 here.

Please discuss any further information on Retin-A with your medical professional, this is general advice only.