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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

  1. that sounds interesting but would like to hear from other SAS people who have tried it, I am very fair skinned, I also get skin cancer and I would be frightened to try that in case made it worse, anyone here who has tried it?

    • I have had 12 level 3 melanoma and I remember at one clinic a specialist telling me not to digest or use Vitamin A products.

    • thanks Christine, the more I think about this, the more I think I should just give it a big miss and you have convinced me xoxox

  2. Please let us over sixties accept that growing older isnot about trying to reclaim our youth/ been there and happy that I do not have to get depressed every day trying to look younger xxxxx

  3. what’s so wrong in fine lines and wrinkles?.. your face started with a blank canvas and as the years progressed, so did the story of your life.. be proud of they way you look .. I’m happy and comfortable with my fine lines wrinkles thanks..

  4. Retin A has serious side effects hence the reason it is only available on prescription. Personally I would not put it anywhere near my face unless I had a medical condition that warranted it’s use.

  5. I am proud of my laughter lines as I have earned them. The only cream I would ever put on my face is Kenkay Natrasorb Body Cream with Olive Oil. The only other thing that goes on my face is splashes of 💦 water 💦 I don’t even own pore clogging make up and I’m continually told that I don’t look anywhere near my age.

  6. Joan Marshall  

    Retinol actually helps skin cancer. Some one I know uses it for his skin because he is prone to having skin cancers removed. I have used it for years and nobody believes I am 70 years of age. I am constantly complimented on a wrinkle free fresh looking skin.

  7. Don’t colour my hair… don’t worry about looking older… lucky just to be here… a smile is true beauty… it lightens up the world no matter how old you are… my Nana used to say to me when I was a young lad… ‘clothes make the man’… my advice to both women and men is save your money on youthful creams and junk and buy really nice clothes… and smile a lot..

    • Hear hear!! I’ve spent quite a bit of $$ on creams for wrinkles & fine lines , none of them worked
      Hubby said I don’t look my age so save your money !

  8. I remember many years ago knowing a young lady that never removed her makeup and kept adding extra each day, one day somebody made a joke and she laughed causing her makeup to crack and fall off. We couldn’t help laughing at seeing the face mask lying on the ground.

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