Facial wrinkles can be a common sign of aging that can occur in various locations, such as crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead wrinkles. While most people start noticing wrinkles in their mid to late 20s, wrinkles often become more obvious during their 30s and 40s. As you get older, it’s normal to notice some wrinkle development. The most effective anti-aging and wrinkle-prevention treatment is tretinoin, a topical medication that you can apply directly to your skin. This article explains how tretinoin works and how you can use it to treat wrinkles and skin aging.
To understand how tretinoin works, it’s necessary to understand how skin aging develops in the first place. Many people think that wrinkles develop overnight, but they don’t. Instead, it’s a process that usually takes several years before wrinkles become more noticeable. During your 20s and 30s, your skin becomes thinner, dryer, and less elastic, which can lead to the development of wrinkles. Additionally, gravity can cause the skin around your cheeks, eyes, and jawline to start to sag. Common signs of aging, such as age spots and discoloration, often develop at the same time.
These aging effects result from intrinsic changes that occur in your skin as you age. Your skin’s collagen production drops and your skin produces new cells at a slower pace through the skin cell turnover process, making it less able to repair and rejuvenate itself. While part of this process is unavoidable and a result of genetic factors, some environmental factors can speed up the process and make the effects of aging more visible. One of the most significant factors in aging is your exposure to the sun, which contributes to photoaging. UV radiation from the sun penetrates into your skin and damages cells, causing your skin to deteriorate at a faster pace. This photodamaged skin may take on a rough texture, with deep wrinkles and other clear signs of aging. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UV-related photoaging is responsible for up to 90% of the change that occurs in your skin as you get older. Smoking also accelerates skin aging.
Tretinoin is a topical medication that belongs to a class of medications referred to as retinoids. It works by speeding up your skin’s cellular turnover process, allowing your skin to create new cells and repair itself at a faster rate. This has significant consequences for your skin, as it enables fresh skin cells formed deep inside your epidermis to replace old ones in less time than normal. You can think of tretinoin as a fast-forward button for your skin’s creation of new cells. Instead of sticking around, the outer layer of your skin that’s exposed to sunlight, wind, and pollution is cycled off more efficiently, giving your skin a fresher, less weathered appearance. Tretinoin also stimulates the production of new collagen when used for at least six months. As a result of its effects on your skin’s cellular turnover speed, tretinoin reduces the appearance of wrinkles, evens out your skin’s pigmentation, and also treats skin issues such as acne. The end result is smoother, younger-looking skin that’s much less affected by fine lines, wrinkles, or other common signs of aging.
Compared to over-the-counter anti-aging products, tretinoin is significantly more effective. Numerous scientific studies have shown that tretinoin can treat wrinkles, age spots, and other age-related skin issues. For instance, in one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, researchers found that treatment with tretinoin produced “significant improvements” in fine wrinkling near the eyes, crease lines around the mouth and cheeks