I’ve been on my search for the best product to help with electrolysis scarring. Some have mentioned retin a. I looked online and came across a few boards that said retin a/ retionals may stimulate hair growth? I guess they use it on bald heads mixed with another topical to increase scalp hair. Some said it increased facial hair growth too. Has anyone else heard of this? I was using a retinol product prior to an increase in my vellus hairs but never thought that could have been a possible cause…i think my increase came from laser, post pregnancy hormones or age Highly doubt it it was retin a, but thought I would ask. Thanks!
Ah yes, I am a victim of Retin A…
A dermatologist prescribed Retin A for some whiteheads and milia on my face. I thought it was a wonderful product until I noticed an increase in hair density on my face. Some un-pigmented vellus hairs also became pigmented and coarse! There was no mention of unwanted hair growth in the package insert. My dermatologist also reassured me that this was a coincidence.
So, I searched on Pubmed and voila scientific literature on the use of 0.01% Tretinoin being used to stimulate hair growth!!! Here’s one: “Efficacy of 5% minoxidil versus combined 5% minoxidil and 0.01% tretinoin for male pattern hair loss: a randomized, double-blind, comparative clinical trial.”
Shin HS, Won CH, Lee SH, Kwon OS, Kim KH, Eun HC.
Am J Clin Dermatol. 2007;8(5):285-90.
Armed with my findings, I met my dermatologist and the response that I got from her was, “Don’t worry we have a cream for that” i.e. Vaniqa…!!!
I may be wrong but I think it’s the minoxidil that accelerates heir growth and not the retin a/tretinoin.
Tretinoin rapidly accelerates the natural exfoliation process/shedding of skin and allows the minox to penetrate better and quicker therefore giving better results?
I’m no expert but tretinoin has been around for 30-40 years maybe more and would have thought that if it really did increase hair a study would have proven this?
I’m no expert by any means, but have done some brief reading on tretinoin and retinoids in general. I’ve read that it could be that if a persons skin/pores are congested etc the retin a will make the skin turnover rapidly removing all the congestion brining it to the surface…this could then free up any trapped hairs that you may not have seen before as your skin becomes clearer/softer??
It’s just a theory I’ve got, please don’t take my word for it!! For the record I tried retin a for a few weeks and loved it, but then it broke me out terribly so stopped although this is a common scenario I couldn’t take all the whiteheads I was getting!!! I’m thinking of trying differin which is the weakest of all the retinoids ( thankfully I’m only using for general skin condition and not scarring from electrolysis as I have an amazing electrologist!!!)
I know you are not an expert but, I think your explanation is logical and very coherent. It makes sense that the increase hair growth is from the minoxidil, not necessarily the Retin A.
When are dermatologists ever going to brighten up and realize that electrolysis is their friend for helping their patients tame the hair beast? I can’t begin to add up the number of times my clients have told me that their dermatologist did not recommend electrolysis for their facial hair problem, EVEN WHEN they know damn well that nothing else on earth will bring them relief. Why do they push a greasy expensive cream that has to be applied twice a day for the rest of their lives that may cause a skin reaction?
I guess I’m in my iconoclastic phase this morning … but a word about dermatologists!
For the most part, I find them dull (that’s putting it in nice terms). When I attended both plastic surgery conventions and dermatology conventions (selling products), I found the plastic surgeons “thrillingly” intelligent, dynamic and open to all ideas (YES, open to electrolysis “big time!”). I found dermatologists pedestrian, uncommunicative and uninteresting. Dare I say it?”
Guess what, and you should research this yourself: take a look at where students in medical school “end up” based on their academic ability. At the top are neurosurgeons and plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Guess who’s at the bottom?
And, that’s why I always recommend that people with “interesting or unconventional” skin problems consult with a plastic and reconstructive surgeon; not a dermatologist. Simple problems … yes, go to the dermatologist. However, if you have questionable marks or healing problems … well, you know.
If you have ever had a big mole removed by a dermatologist, you "get it.” Most of them use the “coring device” that looks like a cookie cutter and then just gouge out a hole. The plastic guys will carefully excise the mole and stitch it properly so you will have no scar.
And, there I “go” again. Okay, I did know one brilliant dermatologist: Dr. Charles Hamilton … and he was also the president of the association for at least 20 years. Top guy and LOTS of fun.
I think Mark831 is probably smarter than most … well, dermatologists! To answer Dee Dee: They probably can’t “brighten up!”
Wow, I must have gotten lucky with dermatologists…one of them saved a relative’s life by recognizing and removing a skin cancer (without leaving much of a scar.) Another one I saw personally has worked wonders with some hypertrophic scarring I have. Both of these did cosmetic work, too, so perhaps they were especially concerned with scarring and appearance.
As to the Retin A, I’ve heard anecdotal reports of stimulated hair growth, but I agree with the other posters in that it was probably the minoxodil in the study quoted that caused the increased hair. When people start a new skin care regimen or treatment they tend to start examining themselves very closely in the mirror, and I suspect that’s the reason they start to notice hairs and things that they didn’t before. In my opinion, the benefits of Retin A far outweigh any negatives; it’s one of the very few things that has been proven to reduce wrinkling and minor scarring, and it improves the overall appearance of the skin. I am using it now myself to treat the minor areas of skin damage I got from electrolysis.
I’m happy to hear your story! YEAH!!!
Wernotafraid…have you noticed improvement with your scarring while using retin a? What kind of skin damage do you have?
I have some pitting and wrinkling on my upper lip and chin. They are not bad (in fact, I usually get told I have lovely skin) but they were becoming slightly more visible and are quite visible close-up. I have noticed some minor improvement; my skin looks softer, the texture looks better, and some of the pigmentation issues are improving. I am about to bump up the Retin A dose (I am on the weak one now) and possibly add hydroquinone and a topical steroid to improve my skin colour and reduce inflammation. I’ve just moved, however, and first need to find a local dermatologist. At some point in the near future I would like to have a TCA peel to more aggressively resurface my skin.
Wearenotafraid…When was your last treatment? Had no clue this process could cause wrinkling!!! Is that common? I feel like I examine my skin so often now that I freak out over “issue”. I have an old tube of retin a that I may start and use again. Thanks!
The “wrinkling” I put down to having a few sessions of very intense electrolysis with one particular operator. Whether that’s common or not I don’t know, but the areas treated by my new electrologist looks fine. I think it was one particular set of treatments with the old one that was the problem. I would still do it again, however, because I am so happy to be hair-free. Make sure you check the expiration date on that “old” Retin A; past the “best by” date it may not be as effective.
I also had poor treatment about 4 months ago and I’m going to cross my fingers that wrinkles will not appear. I’m pushing 40, so they may appear anyways. I’ll go out and buy a product w/ retinal til I get into a derma( mine tube exp 2 months ago:(). Thanks for the info.
I just called my pharmacist friend and your exp date is FINE! The product will work perfectly. He said that in reality it’s usually a couple years before a product becomes “bad.”
This conversation is terrific and the level of understanding is awesome. WeRNot … you are “some kind of esthetician!” I think a book is in your future? Think about it!
Dermatology is actually a super competitive specialty in med schools and one that needs very high scores on USMLE1 to enter residency. http://www.doctorsintraining.com/blog/step-1-score-trends-by-specialty-from-2009-to-2011/
Infectious disease and pathology specialties are always described as “super hard,” “too much to remember” but pathologists are most awkward, anti-social bunch in medicine. The true bottom feeders in med schools settle down for family medicine or psychiatry.
Good and excellent.
Actually, what I was fishing for was somebody saying, “You can’t generalize.” You know, I say this all the time and was hoping somebody would call me on it. I also didn’t exactly say who was “on the bottom.” I’m happy to see your post and I was expecting it … made me happy
Now, let’s hear from the pathologists and the “shrinks.” Years ago, when I taught high school history, I often played tricks on the class to get them to NOT accept statements from “authorities.” My class was always pretty lively. The key? Trust your own ability to reason and gather the facts yourself.
Don’t forget pediatricians, they’re bottom feeders, too. When the “Affordable” Care Act fully kicks in, we will be short about 40,000 family practitioners in the United States, but don’t worry, the nurse practitioners will fill these huge gaps and we will live in utopian bliss.
I have some pitting and wrinkling on my upper lip and chin. They are not bad (in fact, I usually get told I have lovely skin) but they were becoming slightly more visible and are quite visible close-up. I have noticed some minor improvement; my skin looks softer, the texture looks better, and some of the pigmentation issues are improving. I am about to bump up the Retin A dose (I am on the weak one now) and possibly add hydroquinone and a topical steroid to improve my skin colour and reduce inflammation. I’ve just moved, however, and first need to find a local dermatologist. At some point in the near future I would like to have a TCA peel to more aggressively resurface my skin. [/quote]
Tretinoin works even better with topical vitamin C they both build collagen
cheap as anything to make yourself an very effective
Thanks! I actually have been considering writing a book, but about a non-cosmetic topic. We shall see!
You know you have a ready market on hand to buy your book WNAfraid.
I used Retin -A when it first came out in little individually- wrapped foil packets. I had some acne when I was teenager, not horrible, but enough where I needed some help. The stuff worked miracles on me. I still have pretty good skin to this day and I think it is related to having used Retin-A many years ago - not to mention that I don’t smoke and I am careful not to get too much sun and maybe some genetic stuff going on because my parents have good skin.
Thanks for letting me know about the retin a expiration date. Will start using my older tube!