Archive for the ‘Retin A’ Category

FrecklesIts back on shelves!  Tri-luma, the turbo powered skin lightener is now available after a more than an 18 month disappearance.  There was no FDA recall or explanation from the company.  Nothing.   I discovered that compounding pharmacies could make it up for individual prescriptions, but that option  was just not widely  available.  Then,  without fanfare  or explanation,  Tri-luma  was back– and I’m delighted. 

 How Tri-luma Works

This prescription- only skin lightener  contains three active ingredients:

1.  Tretinoin ( aka Retin A) is famous for its ability to speed up cell growth and exfoliate darkened areas.

2. Hydroquinone which prevents melanin production and is considered one of the most effective  weapons in the  anti- hyperpigmentation tool  kit

3.  Mild corticosteroid to keep  things calm.  Both Retin A and  hydroquinone can be irritating.  Enter  a  mild steroid.  It allows the skin brighteners to do their job  while keeping the skin calm and comfortable

While Tri-luma can be used over the entire face, I needed it mainly  to lighten my dark under eye shadows.   Plain Retin A  is too irritating to be used on delicate under eye areas but mixed with a steroid it can  address  skin darkness without causing more  problems.

Tri-luma was one of the first anti-aging tools I used and I loved the way it lightened  my long standing  dark shadows.  However while plain RetinA can be used continuously for years, most  doctors recommend using  Tri-luma  only for three montha at a time.   The treatment period  should be followed by a three month  Tri-luma holiday and then the  product can be used again for another three months.  To keep it fresh and effective, pharmacists recommend keeping it in the refrigerator.

There is a whole buffet  of skin lighteners including kojic acid, arbutin and soy extract, but Tri-luma  is often the product of choice.   It represents the new thinking about  medical treatment.  Rather than a single  solution to a problem , researchers are looking at different targets  for treatment.  In the case of  hyperpigmentation,  some skin lighteners like retin A a can help the skin shed darkened skin cells while  while ingredients like hydroquinone  can break up existing  melanin.  Combining them in one product can be much more effective than used spearately.  Since Kojic acid seems to prevent melanin production, I would love to see a  product  that combines all four ingredients.  There are so many me-too  products, it would wonderful to see a formulation that uses all of the science  we  now have about treatmenting dark patches and spots.


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The return of warm  sunny weather  made me realize that  my beauty tool kit needed a tune-up. While I keep using Retin A,   I need to crank up  my sun protection and  add anti0xidants  to repair sun damage.  I  have found six products that fit the bill perfectly:

1.  Eye Make-up Remover —Almay Oil-Free  Travel  Pack ($.99)

I used this product  all winter and really loved  the way it took off my mascara without leaving an oily film.  Only problem was the package — a 3 inch high jar that did not pack well.  At Ultra, I discovered  it came in a travel size of 15 pads that fit beautifullyinto my toiletries bag.  Just perfect for weekend strips  to the country.

2. Cleanser — Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash ($8.99)  This fragrance-free clear liquid cleanser is gentle and oil free.  Its so mild that it can be used to remove eye make-up, but for that I am going to stick with my  disposable pads.  

3. Daytime Moisturizer/Sunscreen – Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock with SPF 70.  ( $12.99) This product is the linchpin of my daytime anti-aging skin care.  Not only does it  have  an amazing 70SPF,  its stuffed with four different  antioxidants– soy protein, and vitamins A, C and E.   Different types of free-radicals  are subdued by different antioxidants.  The more types of antioxidants a product contains, the  more it will control  free radicals in your skin cells. Nice!

4.  Eye Care Cream — Clarins Sunscreen Wrinkle Control Eye High Protection ($22) Despite the way too long name, this is such a well-thought  out product.  It’s  a  mineral based physical sunscreen  which is  less irritating than chemcial sunscreens– really important when you are using something around the eyes.  Even better it boasts a 30SPF.

5. Night Care— Korres Quercetin and Oak Anti-Aging and Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream ($52 — where do they get these names?)  This cream costs more than most of my other products, but it had  so  many excellent features, I had to bring it home with me.  Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant (found in apples and grapes) which offers serious protection against sun-induced DNA damage. This night cream also has  a slew of other appealing features.  Its  free of  mineral oil, parabans, alcohol, fragrance and retinols. Even the packaging  is totally recyclable.

6. Body Lotion —  Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Creme ($12.99)

During the day my arms and legs are going to  spend a lot of time in the sun, and I want to try to repair the damge  at night. Eucerin  has CoQ10,  a  natural antioxidant in the body.  As we grow older  the level of CoQ10  keeps declining and by age 60, its about half  what we had in our twenties.   Like most of my other skin care products, it is fragrance-free and non-irritating. 

Let the summer games begin!

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