In our October issue we talk about the benefits of incorporating Retinol into your skin-care regime. While you may experience anti-aging benefits of the over-the-counter vitamin A derivative, Dr. Gary Goldenberg, Medical Director of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York City, makes the case for going straight to a dermatologist for an anti-aging prescription.
The general consensus from skin-care professionals is that vitamin A is one of the best anti-aging treatments out there. But the difference between an over-the-counter retinol and a prescription retinoid can make or break your anti-aging approach to skin-care. So why choose a prescription? We spoke to Dr. Gary Goldenberg of the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York City to find out.
Being monitored by a dermatologist is never a bad idea
“I think that using a vitamin A derivative is a good idea,” says Dr. Goldenberg, “but for people who seriously want to improve the appearance of their skin, they really should use a prescription retinoid.” This is partly because prescription treatments are monitored more closely because of the potential side effects of more potent ingredients. Vitamin A can cause local skin reactions, and have potential side effects for pregnant women, which your dermatologist will warn you about. Talking to a professional is never a bad idea when incorporating unfamiliar ingredients into you regime.
Pharmaceutical grade products are scientifically backed
For over the counter retinols, the highest percentage of vitamin A you can receive is 1 percent, which—while usually mild enough for sensitive skin—can be less effective. “You may as well use a prescription product,” says Dr. Goldenberg, “we have scientific proof that the product actually does something.” Not all over-the-counter treatments have been scientifically tested. Although many cosmetics companies do aesthetic tests (determining whether skin looks and feels better), they will not necessarily dig deeper (to see if wrinkles are being treated at a cellular level). Dr. Goldenberg recommends sticking with a regime for 6 months to see visible results.
Get more bang for your buck
Even over-the-counter retinols can be expensive. We’ve often shilled out money for “wonder products” that haven’t left us with any obvious results. “If there’s a product that you like because you like the way it makes your skin look and feel, by all means go ahead and use it,” says Dr. Goldenberg, “But if you’re expecting miracles from a product that is chock full of antioxidants you’re probably not going to get them.” If you’re spending time and money pursuing an anti-aging treatment, you should be getting the most effective treatment.