A Gel – “MAGIC” in a Jar

A Gel, otherwise known as Tretinoin, is a derivative of Vitamin A and is the treatment of choice for acne, whiteheads and blackheads. It works by increasing skin cell turnover while promoting the extrusion of the plugged material in the follicle. It also prevents the formation of new comedones (blackheads).  A Gel is also the only topical medication that has been proven to improve wrinkles.

The application of A Gel to the skin generates new skin cells and dilates blood vessels to increase circulation. After 6 to 12 months, the thickness of the skin doubles, allowing for the smoothing out of wrinkles.

The effect of increased skin cell turnover can be irritation and flaking. For this reason, many people stop using A Gel after a couple of days or weeks, thinking that it didn’t work. It is important to realize that A Gel is very effective for whiteheads and blackheads, but it may take 6-9 weeks to see a noticeable difference. It takes at least 6 months to see a noticeable difference
in wrinkles. The best benefit is seen if A Gel is used for at least a year.

Jones Dermatology offers four different strengths of A Gel and recommends beginning with the lowest strength, working up to the highest strength, as tolerated.

The benefits of A Gel include:

  • Increase in firmness and elasticity of the skin
  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reverses sun damage
  • Prevents skin cancers by inhibiting tumor growth

With the A Gel working to alleviate blockage in the pores (comedones), it is also important to pay attention to other products being used on the face.

Noncomedogenic is a term used to identify oils, lotions, and skin creams that do not block pores. You may see this term used on makeup and facial products. The theory behind using products that are noncomedogenic is that by not blocking pores, there will be a reduction in the incidence of pimples. Since many women in their 30’s and 40’s still get acne, but are also trying to combat age, using A Gel with noncomedogenic and anti-aging properties can assist in clearer, softer skin.

Here are some guidelines that may allow you to get the maximum benefits from A Gel.

  • Apply A Gel in a thin layer at night. A small amount goes a long way.
  • In the morning wash your face with a mild facial scrub or wash cloth. This will help reduce the noticeable flaking.
  • After washing, apply a good water-based moisturizer. The moisturizer will make the drying effect of the medicine more tolerable.
  • Try using a moisturizer that also contains a sunscreen. If not, apply sunscreen anytime you are in the sun even for a short amount of time.
  • When you first start using A Gel, apply it every other night or every third night. The flaking and irritation side effects are usually the worst in the first 2 weeks of application. As your skin adjusts to the medicine, you can apply it more frequently.
  • If you notice an increase in the irritation or flaking, it’s OK to take a break
    for two or more days.

Many of our patients have used A Gel for years and are loyal believers in the “MAGIC” it can create with your skin.

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