The Benefits of Retinols

There have only been two products that have been scientifically proven to increase collagen in someone’s skin; the first is SkinMedica’s TNS Recovery Complex which has a protein complex that stimulates your cells to begin producing collagen again. The benefits of TNS are no irritants or sun sensitivity side effects. The majority of our patients are using this daily. The other product that has long-standing studies that have shown to produce collagen is Retin-A. It was popularized by Dr. Obagi many years ago and did enhance collagen content of the skin by chemical exfoliation which stimulates collagen production. The problems with Retin-A are the irritant effects and sun sensitive properties which cause individuals to not use the product consistently. In the last several years, Dr. Obagi has also found that longer-term use of prescription Retin-A (of more than five or six months) can actually be detrimental to the skin causing irritation and low level inflammation that is unhealthy.

Recent studies have shown Retinols are a much better way to deliver the benefits of Retin-A in long  with no side effects. The best Retinol products that we have found are made by SkinMedica. They make a .25, a .5 and a 1.0 Retinol Complex that are very comparable to the prescription Retin-A, but are encapsulated to reduce irritation and have a targeted release of Retinol. They can be used long-term with similar benefits to prescription Retin-A, but without the side effects. As all Retinols have a sun sensitivity aspect to them, the wintertime or during season in Florida is a better time to incorporate them in your skin care regimen if desired.

The main area of wrinkle formation is around the mouth (perioral) area due to constant movement. What we are recommending for a patient, and have found beneficial, is to apply the TNS Recovery Complex on the entire face in the morning and a Retinol complex in the perioral area at night. If a person has significant wrinkles or issues with the entire face, it could be used as a complete facial treatment at night, but most patients find that the perioral (mouth) area is where they want to concentrate. As summer approaches, it is probably best to stop the Retinols especially if a person is participating in outdoor activities, as the sun sensitivity issue can become more problematic. It is best to apply the Retinol products at night on clean and dry skin. The SkinMedica Retinol Complex also reduces and brightens the appearance of dark spots resulting in a more even skin tone.

As always, a daily sunscreen is essential. The best sunscreen we have found is SkinMedica Total Defense Plus Repair in the tinted or non-tinted version. It not only provides protection against UVA and UVB rays, but also infrared rays. It also incorporates a clear zinc oxide as a physical defense barrier and anti-oxidants to protect the skin from collagen breakdown from sun that gets through any sunscreen. The SkinMedica Total Defense Plus Repair also acts as your moisturizer (for certain skin types) therefore limiting the products that you need to use daily. As stated previously, skin care health is not as complicated as portrayed and a limited number of products will actually do 98% of what is needed for optimal skin health. By being educated, you can avoid the myriad of product advertisements found everywhere from common magazines to the multiple spas. Remember, the only two products that actually change the collagen content of your skin are SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex, prescription Retin-A or the less irritating SkinMedica Retinol Complex products. All other products just make your skin feel or look better, but are doing nothing on a cellular level to change it. Maintaining beautiful skin and skin health is a lifelong process but need not be complicated. Our nurses and staff are always available to answer your skin care questions and to recommend skin care products tailored to your needs.