Absolutely! Retinoids are safe and the most effective treatment for photoaging.

Derived from naturally occurring vitamin A, retinoids are synthesized to be tolerable, safe, and effective. While some prescription retinoids may irritate the skin, you can minimize any side effects. Though the side effects are temporary, you can use a pea-sized amount, a good moisturizer, and sunscreen to minimize them. Another way to minimize side effects is to tailor your formula through a dermatologist. There are many different strengths and formulations of retinoids for you to find the best one for your unique skin. Over the past 50+ years, long-term treatment of topical retinoids doesn’t show any systemic side effects or risks.

Retinoids work by thickening the skin and reducing oil production to produce brighter and smoother skin. More importantly, retinoids also help to increase cell turnover. This not only rids your skin of old cells but also prevents damaged cells from multiplying, which can reduce skin cancer.

Children as young as 12 can use retinoids and in some cases, even younger. You can safely use retinoids at any age with a good moisturizer and sunscreen. Pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t use retinoids though. You may have seen warning labels such as “Do not use if pregnant or nursing” on dermatologist-grade or over-the-counter product labels. No research actually proves topical retinoids are unsafe but it’s also not proven that they are 100% safe for pregnant or nursing women. No one wants to risk testing on this group. So if you’re pregnant or nursing, to be on the safe side, you shouldn’t use a retinoid.

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