By Sara Katan APRN, Couture Med Spa

Before we get into what you should know before you start tretinoin (tret), it is important to understand what tretinoin is and how it works. Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative topical that is formulated to help with acne and anti-aging. It acts to speed up the cellular turnover of the skin which helps bring old skin cells to the surface of the skin leaving the skin with refreshed skin cells. When the cells turnover this will in turn help smooth the skin, help with dark spots, as well as dry up acne. This is a product that should be incorporated into most skincare routines. Tretinoin is clinically proven and known to be highly effective. There are a couple of things you should consider before starting a tretinoin topical product. Here are the top 5 things you should know before starting your tretinoin. 

1. Your skin might look worse before it looks better

When beginning tret you may experience some undesirable side effects at first. The skin will go through a period of “purging” which will have the skin feeling very dry and irritated for several weeks to months. This is a normal process and is an actual good sign the product is doing what it should which is causing cells to turn over on the top layer of the skin. Some clients find it hard to push through this portion of the process, but I promise it is worth it. There are some things you can do to mitigate these side effects: start low and go slow. You can discuss with your provider which product strength will be right for you. You will also want to begin the product slowly. Start with 3 days a week and only progress to nightly as your skin can tolerate. You also want to use a high-quality skin moisturizer to help hydrate the skin after you apply your tret. If you are still experiencing excessive side effects you can always apply your moisturizer first or mix it with your tret cream for added hydration. These side effects may last anywhere from 6-12 weeks. It is important to get through these side effects for optimal results. It is tempting to stop using tretinoin because these side effects are not pleasant, but it will be worth it in the end when those new skin cells start emerging and your skin starts to show less acne, wrinkling, and sun damage. 

2. Tretinoin takes time to start working

Tretinoin actively begins working right away, but for you to see noticeable results may take time. It takes several weeks for old skin cells to come to the surface and shed. The studies with Obagi tretinoin cream/gel can take up to 12 weeks to see obvious results with regular and consistent use. This does not mean you will not see results sooner, and in fact, most clients will start to see their results sooner than 12 weeks.

3. Start slow and consistency is key

As noted above, tret can come with a lot of side effects when you first begin use. If you are still experiencing some dryness and irritation after several weeks of slow introductions of the product, it is completely fine to remain on a 3-day regimen. If you are not experiencing excessive side effects then progress to nightly use. The most important key factor is that you need to be consistent with usage. Whether that is daily, or a couple of times a week you want to remain on this product for the best results. 

4. Tretinoin is a long-term medication

Although the effects of tretinoin can last several months after use, the sad truth is we are constantly aging. The use of tretinoin long-term will help maintain results and combat inevitable aging.

5. For best results use in combination with other skincare

Although tretinoin is a great product to use on the skin and is clinically proven to produce results, it is not the only product that should be used in anyone’s skincare routine. For optimal results with tret, you want to incorporate daily sunscreen. Tretinoin causes your skin to be highly sensitive to sunlight. It is also important to consider using prevention for future damage to the skin, so a daily sunscreen is always recommended.  The best time to apply tretinoin is nightly 20 minutes after cleansing your face before you go to bed. This will allow the tret cream or gel to appropriately penetrate the skin and keep the area out of the sun while the active ingredient is working. Keep note that tretinoin degrades quickly when exposed to direct sunlight so it is best to use in your nightly routine. If you are someone who has excessive irritation, dryness, or flaking with tret we do recommend using a medical-grade moisturizer. It is preferred to be applied after the tret but can also be used before and in combination with your tret.

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5 Things You Should Know Before Starting Tretinoin

Save your skin from sun exposure with SPF daily!

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Secrets to Summer Skin Care

By: Nicole Lavoie, APRN Summertime is quickly approaching which means our skin is going to need our help more than ever! The skin is the largest organ in the body that can get extremely damaged this time of year if not treated properly. Prolonged sun exposure without protection can cause hyperpigmentation and sunspots which can […]

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By: Nicole Lavoie, APRN

Summertime is quickly approaching which means our skin is going to need our help more than ever! The skin is the largest organ in the body that can get extremely damaged this time of year if not treated properly. Prolonged sun exposure without protection can cause hyperpigmentation and sunspots which can all cause the skin to age prematurely. Not only that, but chlorine and saltwater from outdoor summer activities can also dry and dehydrate the skin. Here at Couture Med Spa, we want to let you in on a little secret of some simple and amazing skincare products. They will help protect and hydrate the skin to prevent skin damage so you can continue to age gracefully.  

Secret Weapons to Summer Skincare

  1. Cleanser

It is imperative to utilize a gentle cleanser in the summertime. Cleansers wash away the day and anything that the skin has come in contact with. These can include pollutants in the air, sunscreen, dirt, oil, etc. Couture Med Spa loves the Obagi Gentle Cleanser which can be used morning and night to rinse clean and soothe the skin. The Obagi Gentle Cleanser has aloe, sage, and oat amino acids that help reduce redness from a hot summer’s day and aid in calming the skin. It is a cleanser that is not going to further irritate any sun-damaged skin but rather help heal it.  The cleanser can be used in both morning and evening in your summer skincare routine.

2. Toner

After using a cleanser, it is crucial to use toner on the skin, especially in the summertime. Toners help balance the overall pH of the skin while neutralizing impurities while powerful humectants provide hydration. Sun damage and summer water activities all dry the skin during the summer and Couture Med Spa’s Antioxidant Toning Mist has micronutrients that help enhance skin tone while using antioxidants to brighten dull sun-damaged skin. The toner can be used in the morning and evening during your summer skincare routine. 

3. Moisturizers

Another secret weapon for easy summer skincare is going to be moisturizing the skin. The skin gets very dry throughout the summer months due to heat, sun exposure, and water activities that have you come into contact with salt water from the beach or chlorine from the pools. Therefore, to restore the skin barrier and lock in moisture to hydrate the skin, it is important to incorporate a moisturizing product into your skincare routine. Couture Med Spa’s Hyaluronic Acid is one product that really helps with providing hydration as a serum that will penetrate deep to hydrate the skin. Hyaluronic Acid is a product that can be applied morning and evening. Another very hydrating product perfect for summer is the Obagi Lux Moisturizing Cream. The Obagi Lux Moisturizing Cream is an amazing skincare product that has synthetic peptides to tighten and lock in moisture to the skin. It also has shea butter, which is an amazing ingredient that can ease sunburns, and peeling, and is used as an anti-inflammatory to reduce that summer redness from sun exposure. 

4. Sunscreen

The most important skincare secret to protect the skin this summer is going to be sunscreen. A lot of people make the mistake, especially in Florida, of not using sunscreen during the summer because they are out having fun in the sun or not using an appropriate sunscreen with enough protection. Sunspots from prolonged sun exposure and hyperpigmentation cause people to age faster and look older than their true age. It is imperative to protect the skin with sunscreen, especially during the summer when the UV index is so high. Couture Med Spa has multiple sunscreens that are high in zinc oxide and protect against UVA and UVB radiation during this time of year. My personal favorite sunscreen is the Obagi Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Matte Sunscreen due to its matte finish and is fragrance-free. This Obagi sunscreen has a zinc oxide of 16.5 percent that is going to safeguard the skin in the sun compared to other sunscreens. It is important to make sure that any sunscreen is applied 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and then reapplied every 2 hours for the best protection. 

Don’t let summer fun age you! Follow these easy and simple skincare secrets to keep your skin glowing and youthful this summer. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our licensed providers to learn more about your skincare goals or needs at any of our 4 locations of Winter Park, Ocoee, Oviedo, or Lake Mary. We look forward to meeting you this summer!

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