Retin A: Before and After Photos

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Retin A, the brand and prescription name of tretinoin, has been one of the most popular products to help improve the appearance of skin. If you have been thinking about trying Retin-A, you can learn more about how Retin-A works, how to use it, and what to expect from Retin-A. You can read more about how Retin-A works and see before and after photos from real users.

What is Retin A?

Retin-A is a specialized form of vitamin A developed by University of Pennsylvania researchers in the 1960s. It was originally developed by researchers as an acne treatment but was quickly seen to have anti-aging effects in its trials. It is also known as tretinoin, the generic form of the brand name Retin-A product. While Retin-A is often thought of by consumers as an anti-aging product, it is also frequently prescribed for acne problems.

Retin-A is a prescription drug used to treat topical skin appearance, typically prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne issues or aging. It is a commonly used medication, becoming more popular over the past several decades since its creation. It also has inspired similar products and derivatives.

Difference Between Retin-A and Retinol

You are likely familiar with retinol, which is more commonly found in over-the-counter products, and may be wondering what the difference is between Retin-A and this ingredient.

Retin-A and retinol are both derived from vitamin A with different potencies. Retin-A is strictly vitamin A, while retinol is vitamin A at a much lower dilution than tretinoin. Retin-A has a much more aggressive impact on the skin because of its vitamin A strength.

Retinol products, on the other hand, are still effective but at a lower strength and typically have moisturizers and emollients, another type of moisturizer, in their recipes to calm any skin irritation that may arise with retinol use.

What is the Purpose of Taking Retin A?

Retin-A is used to treat the visible effects of aging on the skin. You can use Retin-A to reduce the appearance of dryness on the surface of the skin, which helps to make skin appear younger while also restoring elasticity.

To understand how Retin-A works and its effects on the skin, it is important to learn about the changes the skin goes through as it ages. The keratinocyte cells on the epidermis are some of the longest-living cells, meaning that they stay on the surface of the skin.

Since they stay so long, as you age, they give the skin a dryer, rougher appearance. The keratinocytes also change more slowly than the epidermal cells, which leads to an uneven and discolored appearance.

How Retin A Works

Retin A is a topical prescription medication that works on the surface layer of the face. It takes months of consistent application to see full results, but it works to help reduce the effects of aging described above.

Retin A first step works by taking on the keratinocytes on the outer layer of the skin, helping to shed them and make the skin return to its fresher appearance. The second step of Retin-A’s process is to encourage the replication of epidermal cells on the skin’s deeper layer, making skin softer and healthier.

Over several weeks or months, the skin becomes more used to Retin A and side effects, such as redness and dryness, are reduced. The tretinoin should be taking full effect at this point, helping to reduce skin issues like acne or fine lines and dryness.

Retin A: Before and After

When you’re looking to try Retin-A, one of the most convincing selling points can be to see the real effects and improvements a medication or treatment has on real users. You will notice a dramatic difference in the appearance and texture of the skin, including differences in evenness, dryness, and appearance of fine lines or acne.

See the photos below for actual user results and the differences Retin-A made in their skin.

Sun Damage Before After


As described above, Retin-A makes improvements to fine lines, dry skin, uneven texture, and other signs of aging. In the images, you can see the dramatic differences in the look and texture of users’ skin before and after using Retin-A products.

The skin has reduced the appearance of mottled areas, dryness, and fine lines. As tretinoin takes effect, the skin is encouraged to produce layers of skin cells more quickly, which helps to shed the keratinocyte cells on the top layer of skin that create a look of dryness.

Tretinoin also helps with acne issues and problems with other conditions like actinic keratoses. These issues will often be reduced or under control with the use of tretinoin because of its strong vitamin A dosage.

Treatment Process

To begin Retin-A treatment with tretinoin, you will need a prescription from a dermatologist as Retin-A is a prescription-only drug. It is fairly easy to receive a prescription for tretinoin as its active ingredients are found in many over-the-counter products. Many dermatologists will prescribe Retin-A to patients with acne problems or those simply looking to treat aging signs.

The treatment process for Retin-A simply involves applying the product to your skin. You begin with a clean surface, meaning you should start by washing and drying your face thoroughly. After this, you apply Retin-A in a thin, smooth layer, applying the product in a small amount. You do not need much of the product to see its effects. If you follow this routine consistently, you should begin seeing results within a matter of weeks, with full results appearing after a few months.


Retin-A works best over time when it has the time to take full effect on the skin. You should typically start to see results within two to three weeks of beginning treatment. It will take around six weeks to see fuller results, and from there, it will take about 12 weeks for complete skin improvement.

Retin-A works by shedding the top layer of keratinocytes from the outer layer of the skin. These are the cells that are causing a look of dryness that contributes to signs of aging. This step should occur within the first couple of weeks of use and will make the skin more smooth and less uneven.

The next step is quicker replication of epidermal cells, which are under the keratinocyte layer. This step will help the skin to feel softer and healthier. The final step is that the collagen in the dermis layer of the skin, which is under the epidermis, will become thicker and realign. This step allows fine lines and wrinkles to gradually disappear.

How to Use Retin A

Retin-A is an easy-to-use product that works in a similar way to most skincare products. It makes for an easy introduction into any skincare routine as it only calls for topical application to clean skin. Retin-A and other retinoid products are typically only applied once a day in a thin layer over the affected areas, which is typically the face and neck.

Read on to find out general use guidelines and more about who should use Retin A and what kind of side effects they might expect while using it.

General Use Guidelines

Retin-A fits easily into any skincare routine. To use, all you need to do is thoroughly cleanse your face, dry, and apply a thin layer of Retin-A to your face, neck, and upper chest — areas that are prone to acne and aging effects.

You should also use the product at night, as retinoids work best at night, but the product will work well when applied at any time of day. While using the product, you need to use sunscreen while outdoors. Retin-A and retinoids, in general, work by doing a deep cleanse and exfoliation of the skin, taking away cells on the top layer and encouraging new replication of layers of skin underneath. This process makes the skin much more sensitive.

Who Should Use Retin A

Retin-A does not only fight signs of aging. It also helps to fight acne issues and potentially treat pre-cancerous conditions like actinic keratoses. People looking to fight these issues are good candidates for Retin-A use.

Tretinoin also works well, particularly for people who have oily or non-sensitive skin. Because people with higher oil levels in their skin have an additional barrier against dryness, they will have less noticeable dryness or irritation from tretinoin use.

In general, Retin-A can be used by anyone, but people with sensitive skin or other skin issues may need to combine the product with moisturizers or other skin products to counter the side effects. Consult with a doctor at the time of prescription to find out what might be best.

Read on to find out more about how side effects might have more of an impact on people with sensitive skin or other conditions.

Side Effects and Risks

While Retin-A is very effective, it also comes with a few side effects that anyone exploring it as a skincare option should be aware of. The most frequent side effects of tretinoin use include skin redness, blistering, crustiness, and edemas.

Hyper and hypopigmentation, patches of skin that are lighter than your normal skin tone, have also been seen in patients using Retin-A. The skin also becomes more sensitive generally and to sunlight and UV rays while using tretinoin.

These side effects frequently subside within a couple of weeks of introducing tretinoin into your skincare routine as the skin becomes more accustomed to its effects. All of the issues that have been found so far with tretinoin use are reversible by stopping use.

What to Know Before Using

You should also make sure to wear sunscreen any time you use tretinoin or other retinol products as these ingredients make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.

You should also keep the side effects in mind when starting a routine involving tretinoin or similar products. If the side effects may be too overwhelming or potentially adverse, then you should look into alternative treatments to tretinoin, some of which are described below.

Retin A Solutions

A solution is a mixture or product used for medical purposes. In this case, a Retin-A solution refers to products that have Retin-A as an active ingredient in their recipe. There are plenty of Retin-A solutions and clinically similar products on the market, meaning that it is easier than ever to try Retin-A and see if it is for you.

Something to keep in mind when shopping for Retin-A treatments is looking at the different ingredients involved in the solutions in addition to Retin-A or tretinoin. These additional ingredients may influence any side effects that come with tretinoin use.

Admire My Skin’s Retin A Solutions

Admire My Skin offers a “Clinically Effective Retinoid Cream,” which is described as the “most effective retinoid cream available without a prescription.” It contains retinol, hyaluronic acid, and plant stem cells.

More than 90% of surveyed users saw an improvement in their skin appearance during six weeks of use. Reviewers have described the product as effective and fast working. You use the retinoid cream once daily, either in the morning or at night. It is appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and combination skin.

How They Compare to Competitors

Admire My Skin’s retinoid products have achieved almost prescription-level results. While competitors use similar ingredients, Admire My Skin’s blend has been shown to achieve more drastic positive results in a shorter amount of time than other similar products on the market.

With the use of retinoid cream, for example, many users have seen a dramatic reduction in the appearance of dark spots and other sun-damaged areas in just a matter of weeks. One of the top benefits of products from Admire My Skin’s line of solutions is their fast-acting abilities. If you are struggling with skin issues, you should begin to see results in just a matter of weeks without a prescription product.

Alternative Treatments

If you are not sure about using Retin-A or retinol products due to the potential side effects, there are plenty of effective alternatives on the market. These products or solutions typically involve collagen or glycolic acid that helps to improve skin’s appearance while avoiding some of the side effects that come with tretinoin use.

Admire My Skin also carries an alternative product. Its “Intense Hydration Collagen Cream” does not contain retinol, but it still has the same targeted focus of removing fine lines and reducing signs of aging. Instead of retinol, its active ingredients are hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and sea kelp bioferment.

The difference between these products and retinol or tretinoin is that tretinoin and retinol are stronger ingredients than most of their dermatological alternatives.

Another alternative solution is benzoyl peroxide, which works by unclogging pores and removing dead skin cells. It is similar to Retin-A in this way by removing cells that are creating a dry appearance on the surface layer of the skin.


Retin-A is a skin solution produced from a high concentrate of vitamin A that targets the layers of skin with a tough dermabrasion technique that helps to tackle multiple skin issues in one highly effective treatment. Retin A is an effective solution to treating the signs of aging, including fine lines, uneven texture, and dryness. Adore My Skin also offers Retin-A treatments that do not require a prescription but are as effective as prescription products.