Retinol and tretinoin are both vitamin A-derived ingredients found in skincare products to treat conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles. But, whereas you can buy retinol over the counter, you can only get prescription-strength tretinoin from your doctor. In the UK, that means visiting a dermatologist but with GP appointments booked and consultations costing hundreds of pounds, a growing number of people are seeking out online dermatologist services that offer tretinoin uk.
Tretinoin is known to be a skin-saving wonder: it’s hailed as the ultimate anti-ageing treatment, with reports that it reduces fine lines and hyperpigmentation, as well as helping to unblock pores, clear breakouts and tackle keratosis pilaris. It’s also claimed to improve collagen production, boost skin cell turnover and increase your natural glow. Despite all of this, it’s not without its downsides – namely the infamous ‘retinoid uglies’ or purging.
Ahead, we chat to dermatologist and founder of Dr Nyla Skincare about the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of this buzzy ingredient to find out what you need to know before trying tretinoin uk.
A Prescription-Strength Topical Treatment That Treats Acne, Hyperpigmentation and Fine Lines
While it’s a wonder ingredient that can help to smooth out fine lines and brighten up dark spots, tretinoin’s a strong formula and should be used with caution. This is because it can cause some side effects such as dryness, itching, redness and flakiness. This is particularly true when you first start using it and when you’re adjusting to the formula.
This is because the topical formulation works on a deeper level than your regular serums, creams and moisturisers – it can actually alter your DNA. It does this by unblocking your pores, encouraging the growth of new skin cells and causing old cells to shed more quickly. It’s for this reason that tretinoin shouldn’t be used with products containing alcohol, glycolic acid or salicylic acid, and you should avoid sun exposure while using it too as the vitamin A can make your skin more sensitive.
To minimise the risk of these side effects, a qualified doctor will assess your suitability for tretinoin uk by conducting a virtual consultation via your website before confirming your order. You’ll be asked to answer some simple questions about your skin, your medical history and any other medications or supplements you are taking and it’s important that you are completely honest to ensure the correct dose is prescribed for your skin type.
Once the product arrives at your door, a full list of instructions will be included along with any precautions and advice you need to take into account to help you use it safely. It’s essential that you follow all of the instructions very carefully and to never apply it when your skin is damp or dirty, and that you avoid skin-irritating products such as astringents and shaving lotions, soaps and cleansers with alcohol, menthol, sulphur or fragrance.
Alicia explains that it’s also recommended that you cut out any exfoliants before and during your tretinoin regime. Instead, she recommends sticking with a gentle, bland moisturiser that you can layer on top of your tretinoin cream.