Retin-A VS Retin-A MICRO®

Retin-A VS Retin-A MICRO®

Everyone should know that prior to the development of Retin-A in the 1970’s, by Dr.Albert Kligman and Dr.James Fulton, dermatologists basically relied upon oral Vitamin A to help treat acne, and just a few topical treatments helped with signs of photoaging.

Then Retin-A Cream was developed.  Although it was originally used as an acne treatment product, Retin-A has numerous uses now, such as:

  • Treating signs of aging
  • Deeply exfoliating the skin
  • Acting as a keratolytic agent (an agent that removes a plug out of a hair follicle or sweat gland).

After that, different delivery systems of tretinoin were developed, including the following:

Here are the most important things you need to know about Retin-A and the different forms of tretinoin.

1. Retin-A Micro is better for skin and much innovative than Retin-A.

Retin-A Micro is just a technologically evolutioned Retin-A. Retin-A Micro has the sustained Microsponge® systems technology enables the retinoid to be active in your skin for a longer time and absorb faster and deeper in skin cells. The Retin-A Micro Microsponge® system prevents the accumulation of excessive tretinoin within the surface layers of the skin. Each Microsponge® is less than one-thousandth of an inch of diameter, holding a small amount of tretinoin in reserve and introducing only small amounts of tretinoin to the skin over time during prolonged period.

The progressive Microsponge® delivery technology is the reason why Retin-A Micro has higher efficacy and lower irritation rates than simle Retin-A gel or cream. Remember, your skin never gets more vitamin A than it can handle at one time. Retin-A Micro is superior for those with oily and sensitive skin types, due to there being more shine reduction and less irritation potential than with traditional Retin-A.

There is one smaill downside – Retin-A Micro is significantly more expensive than Retin-A, although the price may vary.

2. If your skin is rough, you still may prefer creamy emollient tretinoin options for dry and rough skin such as – Retin-A 0.025% & Retin-A 0.05% and its analogs/generics such as Tretoin 0.05%, Retino-A 0.025%, Retino-A 0.05%, Tretin 0.025%, Tretin 0.05%. They are all has the same active ingredients as Retin-A and Retin-A Micro: (tretinoin at 0.05% or 0.025% concentration).

Only Renova is FDA-approved for the treatment of skin surface roughness following UV exposure, including fine facial wrinkles and brown spots. But as we can see all this mentioned creams has the same composition so you can choose whichever you like and achieve the same or better results with all of this analogs/generics and original Retin-A cream.

The reason why plain Retin-A cream is significantly better than Retin-A Micro gel/cream for treating skin aging is due to its emollient system, which prevents irritation for dry and rough skin types (proved by biomedical and Life Sciences). Retin-A softens and soothes the skin once it is absorbed, so users typically have much better compliance, sticking with it far longer than Retin-A Micro.

Since your skin only turns over once every three to four weeks as an adult, it takes this long to see reductions in fine facial wrinkles and brown spots. Since a lot of people have given up on  Retin-A Micro in this time, it makes emollients tretinoin creams the better choice for skin aging.

3. Adaferin has NOT the same active ingredient as Retin-A, Retin-A Micro or Tretoin. It may be better for acne tretment purposes.
People often think that all retinoids are the same, but in fact they are not. Adaferin is a form of tretinoin called adapalene at 0.1%. Tazorac or Tazret is a form of vitamin A called tazarotene at 0.1% or tazarotene at 0.05%.

Adaferin or Differin contains adapalene, a derivative of naphthoic acid. Adaferin or Differin possesses similar biological properties of tretinoin, but has higher solubility in fats and oils, and increased photostability (i.e., stability in light).

Adaferin or Differin is also a lot more targeted than Retin-A or Retin-A Micro. Adaferin or Differin only binds to specific receptors within the skin, RAR-β and RAR-γ, whereas Retin-A or Retin-A Micro binds to a multitude of proteins.

What this means for practical purposes is that adaferin/differin is great for cutting through oil and treating acne. At 12 weeks, the combination has been shown to significantly reduce total, inflammatory, and non-inflammatory acne lesions. It has also been shown to have fewer side effects than tretinoin.

4. Tazret / Tazorac also does not have the same form of vitamin A as Retin-A or Retin-A Micro. It may be better for psoriasis.
Tazret / Tazorac contains a form of vitamin A known as tazarotene at 0.1% or tazarotene at 0.05%.

Tazorotene is the first retinoid formulated specifically for psoriasis. Like Adaferin and Differin, Tazorac only binds to specific receptors in the skin, RAR-β and RAR-γ.

But if you’re considering Tazorac for treating fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of UV damage and aging, you may want to reconsider. There are a lot of evidences nowadays that tazarotene benefit patients with moderate photodamage on the face.

5. Retinol is a non-prescription formula and about 20 times less potent than tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Adaferin and Tazret).

Retinol has incredible efficacy but is technically still a cosmetic rather than a cosmeceutical or professional dermatologis solution. This is because retinol must be activated within the skin before it can do anything: retinol must first be converted to retinaldehyde, and then a compound called all-trans retinoic acid within the skin in order to be effective.

In general, retinol is considered to be about 20 times less potent than retinoic acid, ounce for ounce. So a 0.025% tretinoin is like a 0.50% retinol. A 0.050% tretinoin is like a 1.0% retinol.

Although retinol needs to be present in higher quantities than tretinoin in order to be effective, patients typically experience lower levels of irritation when using retinol products. This may be due to the time it takes for retinol to convert to all-trans retinoic acid within the skin.

6. Retinyl palmitate is even weaker than retinol.
Retinyl palmitate is a combination of pure retinol and palmitic acid  – a substance typically used in cosmetics as a cleansing agent.

Retinyl palmitate must be broken down into retinol and palmitic acid, and then the retinol must still be converted to retinaldehyde and then all-trans retinoic acid within the skin in order to be effective.

It is true that retinyl palmitate present in sufficiently high concentrations can have efficacy similar to that of retinol. But have you ever seen a skin care product say “5.0% retinyl palmitate?” No. Manufacturers of retinyl palmitate don’t dare suggest the concentration of retinyl palmitate, because it leads to questions they don’t want to answer. They know it doesn’t do much, if anything.

You’ll sometimes see retinyl palmitate added towards the bottom of ingredient lists in products. If they’re great products aside from the retinyl palmitate, I’ll still advocate for them. Never buy a skin care product with retinyl palmitate less than  concentration of 5% or higher, because they are all super weak.

Dermatologist are always advised Retin-A and Retin-A Micro for skin aging problems, but try to rethink all you read now and consider the following: Retin-A Micro has better efficacy than Retin-A cream; Retin-A & Tretoin creams has been shown to have better results for treating signs of sun damage than Retin-A Micro, with typical use; Adaferine or adapalene may be better for people with acne who also want to improve their skin; Tazret or tazarotene may be better for people with psoriasis who also want to improve their skin; 0.025% tretinoin is similar to 0.50% retinol; 0.050% tretinoin is similar to 1.00% retinol; Retinol is far more effective than retinyl palmitate.

Everything you need to know about Retinol & Retinoids

Everything you need to know about Retinol & Retinoids

Yes and no. Prescription strength formulas contain retinoic acid, the magic ingredient that fights visible aging; nonprescription alternatives need to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin at the cellular level. “In off-the-shelf formulas, the ingredient called retinol is the only derivative of vitamin A worth using,” says an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “There’s a lot of literature showing that while retinol is more gentle than retinoic acid, biochemically it does exactly the same thing – it may just take a lot longer to see results.” The same can’t be said for the derivatives called pro-retinols (a.k.a. retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate), which are the most gentle and weaker, too. Retin-A Cream is one of the strongest retinoic acid component cream available. Other OTC analogs like ROC Night cream with Retinol are weak and not contain pure all-trans-retinoic acids but only weaker formulas for general purposes.

Retinoic acid swept away dead skin cells and it means exfoliating. “There’s often peeling and redness, but that’s a side effect of the irritation – not a true and even exfoliation, like the one you get from an ingredient like glycolic acid or other AHA acids,” says dermathologists. The peeling is generally not why people start looking better. In fact, it’s why most people give up using retinoic acids or retinols. Retinoids work at a much more profound level by affecting gene expression and causing enhanced skin collagen production, skin smoothing, and evening out of pigmentation.

This is one of the biggest myths out there, it’s true that retinoids break down in sunlight, which is why they are bottled in opaque packaging and are still best worn at night – to make sure they aren’t rendered inactive. However, they do not make the skin more prone to sunburn. This misconception came about because in some early studies, people described putting on a retinoid, walking into the sun, and immediately burning. But that redness is likely related to heat exposure. Clinical studies have shown pretty definitively that retinoids do not lower the minimal erythemal dos of human skin, which is the amount of UV light you can take before the skin burns. When we talk about prescription strength Retinoids starting from 0.025% concentration you should always use UV Sunscreens no matter you go under the sun or staying at home, its obligatory!

The instructions on the box often recommend waiting until your face is completely dry before applying a retinoid, but there’s no evidence in the scientific literature that shows damp or wet skin exacerbates sensitivity. Applying a retinoid to damp skin doesn’t maximize its potency, either. We would recommend applying retinoic acid creams on completely dry skin.

Many over-the-counter formulas claim you’ll see results within weeks, but in over-the-counter world it takes an average of 12 weeks for retinoic acid to produce noticeable changes in the skin – so stick with it for at least that long to see the benefits. By the way prescription strength retinoic acids like Retin-A starting acting same week, and dramatic improvements may seen within 1-2 weeks from start of usage.

The answer is No. OTC Retinoids are the weakest, but medical strengths retinoic acids are very potent starting from 0.025% concentration. Sensitive skin are often code for a low concentration of active ingredients. However, dermatologists still recommend them because these lower concentrations (and soothing supplemental ingredients) make them the perfect gateway retinoid. Once a user with sensitive skin has tolerated a tube of that, over a period of several weeks, or a weaker Retin-A 0.025% Cream we can then graduate to a stronger retinoid knowing the skin cells are now better adapted to handle it.

Irritation that flares up after adding vitamin A cream to your regimen is all part of the process. We’ve seen clinically that after two or three weeks, the skin cells adapt to the retinoic acid and begin to tolerate the ingredient and irritation caused by it. The caveat: We’re talking about reasonably flushed, drier-than-usual, lightly peeling skin. If the discomfort is prolonged or very uncomfortable, use it once a week or switch to a weaker formula.

A change in climate won’t suddenly make your skin react to a retinoid you were tolerating a few days earlier at home. Once skin cells have adapted to the strength of the retinoid you’re applying, any irritation (called retinoid dermatitis) generally stops. It’s unlikely to flare up again until you switch to something stronger. Still, if you’re jumping on a long-haul flight or going skiing, it’s a good idea to layer a heavier moisturizer over your retinoid to avoid dryness, which makes skin more susceptible to irritation in general.

We’re still processing the fact that retinoids don’t increase your risk of sunburn, too. But get this: Combining retinoids with island hopping may even be a good thing. They not only boost collagen production, but may also have the potential to stop photoaging before it starts. They’ve been shown to prevent the rise of collagenase – the enzyme that breaks down collagen—after UV exposure. But please remember to use strong Sunscreens when on vacation!

Not only can you, you really should – that’s where most of the damage shows up. “Studies have shown that people who apply retinoids right up to the eyes get the best results. And if you get it in your eye? It may sting a little, but it won’t do any harm, and the skin there is no more likely to get red or flaky than anywhere else on the face. But please don’t use strong Retinoids starting from 0.04% concentration under your eyes, they are really strong for under eye sensitive skin!

Several clinical studies have shown that prescription retinoids will significantly improve skin for over a year, when used 2-3 months, and Johnson & Johnson recently completed a trial demonstrating that over-the-counter retinol smooths wrinkles and fades blotches over 12 months, too, not so significantly. OK, so what are you supposed to do after the year is up? The answer isn’t to rush off and embrace a new ingredient (peptides, anyone?). Your skin may just be ready for a stronger prescription retinoids.

What is Melasma (Chloasma) Skin Discoloration?

What is Melasma (Chloasma) Skin Discoloration?

Melasma, also called as Chloasma faciei or the mask of pregnancy, is a tan or discoloration of the skin.

In other words, melasma can be defined as patchy brown or dark brown skin discoloration. The patches can occur on sun exposed body parts but mainly seen on the face.

In the skin condition of melasma, some portion of skin becomes darker than its surrounding areas, known as hyperpigmentation. On the face, it is commonly found on cheeks, upper lip and on the forehead.

Melasma is more commonly found in women than in men. It is also linked with hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and therefore, dark patches are usual in pregnant women. If a woman is taking HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) or contraceptive pills, melasma is likely to occur.

There is a difference between melasma and chloasma. The dark patches during pregnancy are known as a mask of pregnancy or chloasma. They remain on the body until the pregnancy lasts.


  • Melasma is very common skin ailment. It can occur to anyone, but young women with brownish tone are more likely to contract with it.
  • The condition is often linked with female hormonal changes. Change in level of estrogen and progesterone may cause melasma.
  • Sun exposure is another potential factor that can cause melasma. Those who live in tropical climates are more prone to have melasma.
  • Oral contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy can trigger dark patches on the skin.
  • Genetic predisposition may give rise to darkening of the skin
  • In patients diagnosed with thyroid are also prone to have melasma.
  • Overproduction of MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone) due to stress can trigger darkening of the skin and cause melasma.
  • Allergic reaction due to medicines or cosmetic products, in rare cases, induces melasma.
  • In Addison’s disease (especially due to pressure or minor injury to the skin), melasma is observed as one of the symptoms.


The dark patches are thought to be produced as a result of stimulation of pigment-making cells (called as melanocytes) mainly due to female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone). Excessive production of melanin results in darkening of the skin.

Individuals with a known history of melasma running in family (genetic predisposition) are more likely to contract the dark patches on the skin in the form of melasma. Such fellows should avoid going out in the sunlight and apply extra sunblock to protect the skin from the harmful rays. This is because individuals with a genetic predisposition have sensitive cells that easily get stimulated and produce hyperpigmentation.


Melasma should be differentially diagnosed with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and actinic lichen planus, which are quite similar conditions. The diagnosis of melasma is done with the help of a Wood’s lamp (340-400 nm wavelength). The affected area is carefully studied with excess melanin in the epidermis.


Melasma shows no other symptoms than darkening of the skin. The patient is presented with a dark skin patch on cheeks, forehead, upper lip or nose. In some rare cases, melasma is found on the neck and forearms. It does not do any physical harm, but cosmetically, the sufferers may worry as it may make the face ugly.


For women with good luck, melasma may be vanished with its own. The chances of this incidence are more in case of pregnancy or birth control pills as cause of melasma. In others, topical application (creams with 2% hydroquinone) can be prescribed that help lighten the skin. If this does not work, further treatment with dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and chemical peel can be thought of. Nevertheless, surgical procedure does not guarantee of its non-recurrence of the dark patches in future.

In any melasma case it is advised to protect herself from the direct sunlight. Sunscreen lotions (SPF of 30 or above) and avoiding out in the sunlight is followed as a regimen.

In advanced cases of melasma, creams with a high concentration of HQ (hydroquinone) or HQ with other ingredients’ combination (such as glycolic acid, tretinoin or corticosteroids) is used. However, before using any over-the-counter medicine, one should contact a dermatologist.

You may ask the dermatologist some cosmetic product to cover up the patches on the skin. Products with white or yellow undertone will help fade the patches.

  • AHA Glycolic Acid 5% and 10% is used to control the activity of melanocytes
  • Azelaic acid (20%) is used to control the activity of melanocytes
  • Galvanic or ultrasound facial along with topical cream may help fading the dark skin patches.
  • Intense pulsed light (Fraxel laser or laser phototherapy) is used in case of dermal malesma, which is stubborn and difficult to treat.
  • Cosmetic camouflage helps to hide the dark patches on the skin.


Melasma ends as soon as pregnancy ends. The dark patches start fading as the pregnancy approaches its end. In the other case, stopping hormone replacement therapy works as best remedy to cure melasma. In the normal case of melasma (the condition without any complication), it takes a few months to heal. However, discoloration does not go totally.


The best way to prevent melasma is avoiding direct contact of sun rays onto the skin. If you have to go out in the sunlight, take precautionary measures mentioned below:

  • Prefer hat over cap that prevents direct sunlight falling on your face as well as neck
  • Applying sunscreen lotion (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) to areas exposed to the sun help preventing melasma to occur
  • Sunblock products help protect the skin from ultra-violate A and B radiation. You should choose the cosmetic with SPF (Sun Protecting Factor) of 30 or more.





Explanation of anti-aging benefits of Retin-A. Retin-A is an artificial vitamin A derivative which used by dermatologists to combat aging for over 20 years. It started out as a treatment for acne, but most mid-age people using Retin-A for anti-acne purpose soon discovered that their skin became firmer, fresher, smoother and younger-looking as a result of the treatment. Dermatologists then began researching the benefits of Retin-A as an anti-aging treatment.

  1. Retin-A works by increasing cell turnover within the skin, stimulating collagen production, and exfoliating the top layers of skin to reveal, fresher younger-looking skin underneath.
  2. In addition to decreasing the appearance of wrinkles, it can prevent new ones from forming, fade discoloration and sun damage, reduce the risks of developing skin cancer and improve the skin’s texture and elasticity.
  3. Currently, Retin-A is the only topical treatment for wrinkles that is FDA approved and is extremely effective.

Visit you dermathologist firstly. Retin-A is the brand name version of the strong generic composite known as tretinoin. So it would be better if you make an appointment with a dermatologist if you are interested in trying this anti-wrinkle / anti-acne treatment solution.

  1. Only dermatologist may determine whether Retin-A is a good option for you. If used correctly, it can work effectively on most skin types. However, due to it’s drying, irritating qualities, it may not be suitable for people who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea.
  2. Retin-A is applied on skin topically and comes in both cream or gel forms availbale in our OKDERMO global store. It also comes in a variety of strengths: the 0.025% cream is for general skin improvement, the 0.05% cream is designed for reducing wrinkles and fine lines, while the 0.1% used widely for the treatment of acne and blackheads.
  3. Your doctor will usually start you off with a weaker strength cream until your skin adjusts, adopts to the treatment. Then you can progress on to a stronger cream, if necessary.
  4. Retinol is another vitamin-A derivative which is found in many over-the-counter products and big brand beauty creams. It produces similar results to Retin-A treatments, but due to its weaker formula it is not as effective but will cause less irritation. So we can say that Retin-A its an purest Retinol cosmeceutic solution on the market!

You can start using Retin-A at any age. Retin-A is such an effective treatment, that you will notice a visible improvement in the appearance of wrinkles no matter what age you are when you begin using it.

  1. Starting Retin-A treatments in your forties, fifties and above can have the effect of turning back the clock by plumping out the skin, fading age spots and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It is never too late to start!
  2. However, women in their twenties and thirties can also benefit from using Retin-A, as it boosts collagen production beneath the skin, making it thicker and firmer. As a result, starting Retin-A treatment early in life can prevent deep wrinkles from forming in the first place.

Strictly use Retin-A or any tretinoin creams at night. Retin-A products should only be applied at night, as the vitamin-A compounds they contain are photosensitive and will make your skin much more sensitive to sunlight. Applying the product at night also gives it a chance to absorb into the skin fully.

  1. When you begin Retin-A treatment, we would recommend that you only apply it every two to three nights.
  2. This will give your skin a chance to adjust to the cream and help to avoid irritation. Once your skin has adjusted, you can build up to using it every night.
  3. Apply the Retin-A to dry skin, about 20 minutes after thoroughly cleansing your face.

Use Retin-A sparingly. Retin-A is a very strong wrinkle treatment, so it imperative that you use it correctly and only apply it in very small amounts.

  1. At most, a pea-sized amount of cream should be used on the face, and a little more if applying to the neck. A good technique is to dab the cream on the areas most affected by wrinkles, age spots, etc., then wipe any remaining cream over the rest of the face.
  2. Many people become scared of using Retin-A because they start applying the cream too heavily and experience negative side effects such as dryness, irritation, stinging and acne outbreaks. However, these effects can be greatly reduced if the cream is applied in moderation.

Always use in combination with moisturizer. Due to the drying effects of Retin-A, it is imperative that you always wear a hydrating moisturizer.

  1. At night, wait 20 minutes for the Retin-A to be fully absorbed into the skin, then apply your moisturizer. In the morning, wash your face thoroughly before applying a second moisturizer containing a high SPF.
  2. Sometimes, it can be hard to spread the recommended pea-sized amount of Retin-A to all of the areas of the face where it’s needed. A good solution to this problem is to mix the Retin-A with your nightly moisturizer before applying it to the face.
  3. This way, the Retin-A will be dispersed evenly all over the face. Due to the diluting effects of the moisturizer it should also be less irritating.
  4. If your skin starts to feel really dry and your regular moisturizer doesn’t seem to be enough, try rubbing some extra virgin olive oil into your skin before bed. The oil contains fatty acids which are extremely moisturizing for your skin, in addition to being very gentle.

Deal with any skin sensitivity or irritation. Most people will experience some dryness and irritation after beginning Retin-A application, and a small number will experience acne breakouts. Don’t worry, as these reactions are completely normal. As long as you are using the treatment correctly, any irritation should subside within a few weeks.

Give it a chance to start working. The length of time it takes for Retin-A treatments to produce noticeable results will vary from person to person.

  1. Some people will see improvement in as little as one week, whereas for others it might take as long as eight weeks.
  2. Don’t give up however – Retin-A has produced proven positive results and is possibly the most effective anti-wrinkle cream available.
  3. Beyond Retin-A, the only more effective thing you can do to combat wrinkles is to get Botox or Dysport treatments, injectable fillers, or to consider surgical options. So now you can imgine how strong tretinoin creams are.

Don’t use in combination with products containing glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two other ingredients commonly found in skincare products. However, these can also be quite drying on the skin, so it is best to avoid using them in combination with a harsh treatment like Retin-A.

Do not wax Retin-A treated skin. Retin-A works by exfoliating away the top layers of skin. As a result of this, skin can become thinned out and fragile. Therefore is not a good idea to undergo any facial waxing while you are using Retin-A cream.

Do not expose your skin to sun damage. Retin-A treatment makes your skin hyper-sensitive to sunlight, which is why you only apply it at night. However, you should also take precautions during daylight hours by wearing an SPF every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, rainy, cloudy or even snowy – your skin needs to be protected.

Do not use Retin-A if you’re pregnant. Retin-A creams should not be used if you are pregnant, suspect you might be pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding, as there have been reports of fetal deformities following use of tretinoin treatments.