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Retin-A and Skin Thinning Over Time

April 25, 2008
Hi doctor,
I have been using retin a for approx 20 years and have recently started to notice the blue veins in my face. I had heard that retin a causes thinning of the skin over time and I guess that's what this is.
So, a couple of questions:
If you stop using retinoids, the skin come back over time? In other words, will it repair itself?
Is there something else I could be using to help the skin recover?
I wasn't using retin a for wrinkles-I have had acne my whole life and this has kept it under control. What can I use instead. I am in my 50's now and still break out
Are glycolic peels and dermabrasion something to avoid as well now?
Any comments are most appreciated


very interesting question.
actually retin-a causes a thickening of the deeper layers of your skin, while causing a thinning of the topmost layer over time. the skin certainly does repair any injuries very effectively. the thickening effects are very beneficial, so i still think that retinoids are a good idea over the longterm. i would go for ones like a low strength tazorac. your derm can give you a good menu to choose from.
exfoliants like glycolic and microdermabrasion are very beneficial and should not thin your skin unless you do them several times a week. they will encourage new skin to grow.
hope that helps.

One thought on “Retin-A and Skin Thinning Over Time”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello Dr.

    I am a 43 year old female and have recently given up smoking after 25 years. I have now, over the years developed fine lines around my mouth especially at the corners of my mouth and chin. The lines are not deep although are very noticeable. Is this caused by the smoking action of the lower part of the face? Could you please advise me on the best method to rid these embarassing lines. Is a topical cream a successful option and if so, which one or do I require non invasive procedure. I would love your opinion.

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