Topical Retinoids

How Does Retinol Work?

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Retinol acts by preventing the development of pimples and has a desirable impact on the growth process of cells and reduces the degree of swelling and inflammatory reactions as well as responses of the skin.
When you start using a retinol based treatment product, at the start, the acne lesions might seem like they are actually becoming worse, but this is not the case, as this happens before there is any visible improvement. Acne gets better after 2 to 3 days since it takes a while for the retinol to start working on the pimples which have already begun to develop underneath the skin. However, the use of retinol treatment products has to be continuous and it generally takes around eight to twelve weeks to see visible improvement or get positive results.
In the past, retinol was only a prescription strength treatment for acne given by doctors. Now, Differin Gel is sold in drug stores as the single topical retinoid preparation which has been given approval as an OTC treatment and management option for cystic acne. Topical retinoids are usually available in the form of topical medications as well as orally taken medicines. Topical retinoids are effective in clearing up moderate and severe acne lesions by improving the manner in which the skin cells grow and are shed.
Topical retinoids may be utilized together with other acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide or with oral prescription antibiotics. Topical retinoids also assist the skin in absorbing several other prescription medicines, reduce the incidence of discoloration of the affected skin areas, and reduce the degree of reddish irritation and inflammatory reactions.
The efficiency of topical retinoids for treating and managing cystic acne has been amply researched and documented. This treatment option for cystic acne works by decreasing the degree of obstruction in the affected hair follicle. As such, it is of great use in treating and managing different kinds of acne, namely comedonal and inflammatory acne.
Some of the commonly used topical retinoid preparations available in the market are shown below.

Side Effects of Retinoids

Despite being quite effective, topical retinoids have some disadvantages, the main one being that their long-term use is the cause of subsequent incidents of extreme dryness as well as irritation of the impacted skin combined with heightened levels of sensitivity to sunlight, which can lead to unwanted effects like sun burns.
One of the most commonly used topical retinoid preparations is Differin gel. While being effective, it does cause a fair degree of skin dryness leading to irritation. Differin is generally given as a prescription treatment, but at present there are some over-the-counter preparations of Differin also available at drug stores.
Topical retinoids do not cause the usually observed serious side effects of orally administered retinoids. All the same, these acne treatment options are not generally recommended for use in pregnant females as well as new mothers who are still breastfeeding.
Estimated costs for commonly available products containing topical retinoids:

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