Lemon Grove Lane

Should I be using a Retinoid?

The fountain of youth! While we can’t stop time, we can slow down the visible effects of aging and mature with confidence, grace, and make the best of what we have.  Today I’m addressing the question should I be using a retinoid as well as how one might be incorporated into your home care skin routine.

Working with women of all ages I will tell you I’ve seen just about every scenario.  I’ve seen women in their 30’s that have skin of someone twice their age and I’ve seen women in their 60’s that are radiant, with skin that glows!  Botox, fillers and laser procedures, can soften hard lines and make up for loss in volume without making a woman look frozen or overly augmented however that’s a subject for a live video chat or blog post on another day!

There are so many factors that will determine our look as we mature.

Retinoid 101

What is a Retinoid and do I need to use it?

Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A and include retinol, and retinoic acid.  These compounds are primarily used to treat acne and photodamage.  The use of retinol and tretinoin (retinoic acid) has taken stage leading the prevention and management of fine lines and wrinkles.  A miracle product?  Well I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that ;) however the studies have shown that it can certainly help improve the appearance of sun-induced damage. The down side is that irritation can be a side effect so your provider will ask you to apply only a pea size amount every other day to start.  Many of the new formulations contain hydrating components to reduce the risk for dryness and and irritation.   Adapalene and Tazorac are also in the “retinoid” family and may be a less expensive prescription option.  It’s also important to know that retinoids increase your sensitivity to sun, increasing your risk for a burn.  Always apply a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily, even on a cloudy day.  I prefer the physical blocks as they are less likely to irritate the skin and have added chemicals.  Here are a couple of my favorite.




Retinols are a weaker version of the prescription retinoid you would receive from your medical provider.  When you purchase products from the store (over the counter) the amount of the active ingredient will vary.  Because anyone can purchase OTC products, it makes sense that the product will contain a small amount of the active ingredient.  If you’d like to try a retinol, here are a few OTC products that might be a good place to start.

Dr. Dennis Gross



Kate Somerville 

If you have significant photo damage (fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, pigmentation issues, and the like..) I suggest seeing an expert in skin ~ a Dermatologist.  Most medical offices have a Master Aesthetician that works in tandem with the provider. Having the Master credential means that the Aesthetician has had advanced training in laser and skin health.

*Pregnant women or women attempting to become pregnant should speak with their medical provider prior to used retinoids. 


Master Aesthetician, Practicing in Dermatology
- Leslie

- Leslie

Welcome to Lemon Grove Lane, where I share seasonal recipes and heartfelt home inspiration, all curated to nurture the art of a well-lived life.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Leslie,

    I’ve been using retin a for about 8 years. My aunt looks amazing from having a facelift years prior. When I found out she used retin a, I had to try it too. I have been very happy with the results. I am aware of using it sparingly and only use .05 every other night. Can you explain why you should wait 20 minutes after washing your face to apply it?

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Hugs, Peggy

    1. Excellent question Peggy! The reason your doctor is asking you to wait 20 minutes after washing your face to apply Retin A is to reduce the chance for irritation. If you’ve been using the .05 dose for 8 years without issue, the exact wait time probably wouldn’t be a problem. The results of using a retinoid are cumulative and waiting 5 or 20 minutes after washing your face to apply it will not impact your long term results. If a patient has excessive peeling, redness, or irritation of any sort I always recommend they back off, apply less, and apply less frequently until they see their provider for further evaluation. Hope all this helps!

  2. I have used this product in the past. Now I use OTC less irritating products. I backed off because of sun sensitivity and I am in the sun a lot. Great advise…..

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