Tretinoin for Wrinkles Can Work—If You Go to a Dermatologist for a Prescription

Based on a few common adjectives to describe wrinkles, all signs point to the idea that we should love them. They're dependable because they can always be counted on to show up. They run deep or shallow, so they would ordinarily be welcome in most social settings. They're persistent, which can be worthwhile in the workplace or romantic settings. But nevertheless, wrinkles aren't all that great. No one would willingly welcome their kind of dependability or persistence, and that versatility is really just a way to eventually find new lines in the mirror.

And on top of all this, wrinkles don't go away easily—and the fact is especially true if you're solely looking for help through over-the-counter remedies. That's why we're interested in tretinoin, a wrinkle-fighting ingredient that has a much more straightforward description.

"Tretinoin is a retinoid derived from Vitamin A and has been formulated as both an oral and topical medication of varying strengths," says Jennifer Herrmann, MD, FAAD, a Beverly Hills dermatologist. "It has been extensively studied since the 1980s and treats fine lines by boosting collagen production, which helps thicken skin, prevents collagen degradation, increases cell turnover, and also enhances hyaluronic acid production. That helps keep skin plump."

In case this is the first time you're hearing about tretinoin, don't worry. We asked Herrmann for all of the details on this retinoid, including which skin type sees the most benefits and how often it should be applied. Since tretinoin isn't an over-the-counter product, Herrmann recommends consulting with a dermatologist if you're interested in trying it for yourself. "The only retinoid that's over-the-counter is the third generation retinoid Differin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce redness," she notes. "Weaker retinoids that can be found over the counter typically contain retinyl palmitate, retinol, or retinaldehyde. But these gentler versions can take longer to work."

Read on to see more of her recommendations.