Retinoic Acid Skin Care Products:
Uses and Common Myths

Most people have heard about how incredible retinoids are for the skin. Study after study has shown the ability of retinoids to stimulate collagen, encourage cellular turnover, soften wrinkles, treat acne, and provide a more youthful glow to the skin.

Let's begin taking a look at retinoids by first clearing up some common myths about these amazing products.

Myth #1: All retinoids are created equal.

All retinoids are not the same. They are part of a large family of compounds that are derived from vitamin A. Retinoids are available in several forms like topical and oral medications. Over-the-counter retinoids are the form most frequently included in skincare products.

Retinol is a type of retinoid known for causing fewer side effects than other forms. One drawback is that it may take several months to achieve noticeable results.

Retinoic acid - other names include Retin-A and tretinoin - provides significantly faster results than retinol, which requires additional chemical conversion to its active form within the skin.

Myth #2: Retinoids will thin my skin.

This myth is probably related to the fact that retinoids use cause temporary skin peeling. The stimulation of skin cells turnover causes the skin peeling associated with retinoid use. Old, damaged skin cells slough off to make room for new ones. On the contrary to the myth, retinoids stimulate the production of collagen to thicken skin.

Myth #3: Retinoids will increase my skin's sensitivity to the sun.

Many patients are concerned that the use of retinoids will increase their skin's susceptibility to sun damage. Retinoids began breaking down in the presence of sunlight (is why they are commonly dispensed in opaque containers). Still, although studied extensively, no evidence of increased sun damage was associated with retinoid use.

Chemical Peels

What are chemical peels?

Chemical peels are simply a type of topical treatment involving the temporary application of a chemical solution to encourage some of the outer skin tissue to slough off, revealing and helping the formation of new skin tissue to minimize common skin problems like signs of aging, scars, and discoloration.

What are glycolic peels?

If you wish to brighten your complexion by removing skin dullness due to the accumulation of dead skin cells, a glycolic acid peel is a solid choice. Also known as alpha hydroxy acid peels, glycolic peels are a gentle form of chemical peel consisting of fruit acids that penetrate the very topmost layer of skin to remove dead skin cells that can dull your complexion.
Glycolic peels can remove blemishes, as well as fade hyperpigmentation and sunspots. It is an excellent type of peel for anyone needing help with fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes and freckles.
Although many patients are satisfied with the results of only one glycolic peel, some receive the most significant benefits from a series of glycolic peels spread out over time.

What are TCA peels, and how do they differ from glycolic acid peels?

TCA stands for Trichloroacetic acid, which is a derivative of acetic acid, or vinegar. Its concentrations vary widely; we apply it for the removal of the top layer of skin on places like the face, neck, and hands. Of course, the depth of the peel and seriousness of the conditions it treats will vary depending upon the concentration used.
TCA peels work through chemical exfoliation of the skin to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, superficial acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. TCA peels disrupt a protein called keratin, which is found in the skin. After the peel, the keratin will lighten in color and slough off from the skin over the following few days after your treatment. Once the TCA peel removes damaged skin, smoother, healthier skin is revealed.

What can you expect during chemical peel treatment?

The exact procedure that you undergo can vary based upon the type of chemical peel that you selected. Typically, your skin will be prepped to remove any skin oils. Next, we apply a chemical agent that remains on your skin for around three to five minutes. You may experience a mild, temporary stinging sensation at this time. Some peels will neutralize themselves, while others will be rinsed away after they have been left on your skin for a specified time.

How long will my recovery take?

There are different recovery times for various peels, depending upon your peel's type and strength. You may experience some temporary skin tightening and visible redness after your chemical peel. Any skin peeling tends to be light and manageable using a good moisturizer. Mild to moderate peels usually only involve three to five days of skin peeling.

How should you care for your skin after my chemical peel treatment?

If you want the best results from your chemical peel, be sure to follow our aftercare instructions carefully. It is essential to be very gentle with your skin following a chemical peel treatment, as some of your skin's outer protective layer will have been removed. Be sure to use a good moisturizer, gentle cleanser, and sunscreen to ensure that you heal more quickly. Avoid prolonged sun exposure while your skin is peeling and recovering. Do not pick at your skin or hasten the skin peeling process. Allow it to occur naturally to avoid any adverse events.
In line with babying your skin after a peel, you should avoid exfoliating using acids or enzymes. Although these products are great for regular use, they should not be used immediately after a chemical peel. You need to allow your skin to shed naturally in its own time, not yours. Products like acids and enzymes will only irritate your vulnerable skin, possibly burning or even scarring it. Give it a few weeks and follow our instructions carefully to ensure that your skin heals properly and completely.
You should also avoid the use of retinol or prescription retinoids after your peel. Although these products are certainly effective at stimulating cell turnover, your peel is already causing this effect. After your skin has healed completely, you may want to use these, but not quite yet.