You need to make sure that the appropriate care is being followed if you’re using Tretinoin to treat your acne, hyperpigmentation, or early indications of ageing.

But how can you tell if using Tretinoin is helping your skin?

Here are some ideas to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment.

Skin peeling

Peeling is one of the most major and common side effects of Tretinoin treatment, and while this early occurrence is quite difficult to cope with, Tretinoin will eventually lead to better skin.

Retinoids speed the process of cell turnover, which causes your body to exfoliate dead skin cells faster.

As your skin adapts to the active ingredient, this happens over the first 4-6 weeks of using Tretinoin and should fade away.

Moreover, peeling is not limited to the areas of your face and neck where Tretinoin is typically applied.

If you don’t wash your hands with soap after using Tretinoin, it may also cause peeling on your fingertips or palms.

Peeling is, in most cases, an indication that your Tretinoin is effective, and if you want to keep using it, you would need to wait.

Skin irritation

Another usual side effect of Tretinoin for new users is irritation, which you may experience when the treatment begins to take effect.

When using harsh cleansers, it typically begins as a slight tingling and redness, but it can develop to your skin reacting to anything, including plain water.

Which last 4 to 8 weeks, irritation should slowly begin to go away as your skin becomes adjusted to the active ingredient.

The Tretinoin strength may just be too strong for your skin if irritation continues past this point, in which case you must switch to a lower %.

0.025% is generally the ideal starting point because it allows you to gradually develop a tolerance to stronger substitutes and more regular use.

The even milder version known as Tretinoin micro, which typically contains 0.04% of the active ingredient, is an alternative if 0.025% is too much for your skin.

Dry skin

Close-up of a female forehead with peeling skin isolated on a white background. Allergies, eczema, psoriasis, lack of vitamins, erythema, itching

Another usual side effect of using Tretinoin is dryness, which coexists with peeling and irritation.

Even if you have oily skin, the first few weeks of using Tretinoin will probably leave you with dry, chapped skin.

Applying stronger moisturisers that will nourish and soothe the skin and using extremely mild, non-foaming cleansers are the only ways to prevent this.

Skin purging

Yes. In multiple subreddits, Facebook groups, Twitter, and other social networking sites where people go for their daily dose of skincare content, the infamous Tretinoin purge is the subject of discussion.

You will probably go through a purge when you first start taking Tretinoin if it was recommended to treat your acne.

Although highly irritating and frustrating, a purge actually shows that your Tretinoin is effective.

Tretinoin works by accelerating cellular turnover, as I just stated. This will remove all those dead skin cells that were not properly fallen and instead remained inside the pore, mingling with skin oil and causing blockages that initially caused acne.

So what will happen when you begin applying Tretinoin is your skin? It will basically wipe all those clogs to the surface and transform them into pimples so that they can heal and go.

It certainly appears scary, but it is a good thing since they will all appear on the surface at once rather than appearing as one or two pimples every few days or weeks.

Last but not least, while a purge typically lasts between 8 and 12 weeks, it is not unusual for it to last even longer, up to six months or a year. This is particularly true if you are using skincare or makeup products that are simply going to clog your pores, as Tretinoin will then just keep purging the clogs.

The uncertainty of its timeframe and the need to take chances instead make it terrifying.

It’s best to find a support system during this time and connect with others online who are undergoing the same thing because it can be a very depressing time and it helps to have someone you can speak openly to and share how you’re feeling.

Pores will appear more smooth and small

Another amazing indication that your Tretinoin is working is smaller, clearer pores.

Even if your skin is purging or getting extremely dry, the pores in the areas that are free of pimples are going to be looking clearer and tighter.

This is just one more effect of the rapid skin cell turnover that Tretinoin generates.

Although not actually opening and closing, the pores do expand to make room for extra sebum, dead skin cells, and cellular debris.

Therefore, the pores will appear smaller as all of that is brought to the surface.

Skin becomes more sensitive to the sun

Tretinoin is known to make the skin more sensitive to the sun, and there’s a big chance that you will begin suffering sun damage much quicker than it was before when using Tretinoin.

This is why applying sunscreen is extremely important while using Tretinoin since the sun damage on the skin has the potential to be significantly more severe while the skin is sensitive due to Tretinoin.

So if you are feeling a sudden warmth on your face, even if it’s not very hot outside, it’s an indication that your Tretinoin is effective and that you need to apply sunscreen Immediately.

Advantages of using Tretinoin

Regular Tretinoin use will help treat several skin issues, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne.

Moreover, Tretinoin will improve pitted acne scars, refine uneven skin texture, and provide you with a clearer, more even, and more fair complexion.

How long does It take to see results?

Although Tretinoin starts working immediately, long-term advantages and skin changes will take some time to show.

Within two to three months of consistent use, improvements in acne are often noticeable.

Depending on what you’re aiming to target, Tretinoin’s anti-ageing effects may take six months or longer to appear.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and symptoms of sun damage such as brown spots induced by sun exposure should start fading after six months of regular use.

Fine lines and deeper wrinkles would generally take longer, and results could be noticed after 1-2 years of continuous Tretinoin treatment.

Moreover, any benefit seen requires continued use for maintenance. Assuming the treatment is well taken, the only reason to stop would be pregnancy.

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