advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is Retin-A OK?

I am a 70-year-old female and have been using Retin-A, 0.05 percent, on my face for five months. It works very well. Could there be any adverse effects for the rest of my body?

A
Answer (Published 4/11/2011)

Retin-A (tretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A) is a drug applied to the skin for treatment of wrinkles, blackheads and acne. It can also fade brown age spots over time. Retin-A and similar products including Renova and Tazorac contain retinoic acid and are available by prescription. They all work by causing skin cells to turn over (grow and die off) more rapidly than usual, which has the effect of peeling off layers of skin, thickening underlying layers and stimulating cells that produce collagen, the fibrous substance that firms skin.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Personal Care - Thousands of people have benefited from Dr. Weil's nutritional supplement recommendations, designed to complement your lifestyle and optimize your health. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation today.

Used as directed, you should see the effects of Retin-A in a few months. I think Retin-A is very effective; I use it myself to repair sun damage. It makes the skin healthier and thicker. I don't know of any adverse effects to the rest of the body. However, Retin-A and similar drugs increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun, so that once you begin to use one of these products, you'll have to apply sunscreen daily in order to avoid burning of the areas where you apply it. You should also know that initially these drugs can cause skin irritation or inflammation on the areas where they're applied. If this occurs, it will subside before long.

A few precautions: Retin-A shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, and you shouldn't use it if your skin is sunburned or windburned (resume when the skin has healed). The cost of Retin-A may be covered by health insurance when it's prescribed for treatment of acne. Otherwise, it isn't. A tube can cost $50 to $100, depending on where you buy it, but you use only a pea-sized amount per application, so a single tube can last for months.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here