Product Reviews


I am 47 and have been using Retin-A for eighteen months now. Irritation and Retin-A: The first few months were horrible and I almost gave up on a couple of occasions. When I originally wrote this post I thought I’d been using it for a year but going back over my calendar I noticed it was way longer. I’d say allow at least six months to see a reduction in lines and wrinkles. You can see me here with my make-up on but minus foundation. I usually don’t apply it if my skin is super-dry. You can see I have quite a few patches of sun damage on my head, but they was much worse before I started on retin-a.

Retin-a before and after - Rachel Sheridan

What is Retin-A?

It’s a retinoid/vitamin A. Not to be confused with a retinol. It’s way stronger. Even if you’ve used retinols in the past it doesn’t mean your skin will be ready for it. I stopped having botox nine months ago. I used to get it for my forehead lines but quite honestly, since using retin-a I don’t feel I want to bother with injectables anymore.

How to Use Retin-A For Lines

It’s seriously strong stuff and not for the faint hearted. I contemplated it for a long time before I took the plunge. If you can get past the first few months then it’s a fantastic product (and fairly cheap too) to have in your bathroom cupboard. I guess the main difference is in the condition and texture of my skin. My complexion is so much glowier….don’t think that’s an actual word but I like it!

I use it all over my face. I am pretty lucky, it has to be said. I have good genes and my skin has always been in good condition, apart from the odd spot at that time of the month! Retin-A has really helped to keep the skin around my eyes soft and youthful. Apart from the small lines on my upper cheek, I don’t suffer any crepyness or puffy under-eyes. This is my skin minus foundation and minus filters. If you take a look at my Instagram account you’ll see almost every image is filtered. I don’t have a problem with that. Just don’t expect to recognise me in real life!

Retin-a without peeling

If you want a full breakdown of my skin-care routine then check out my Bellatory tutorial here – How to Look 5 Years Younger in 90 days

Before and After Pics – Check out my eye area. The larger pic is from 2012! It’s funny how I didn’t even notice those lines at the time. See how my brow is lifted too. My skin texture is much improved also.

retin-a before and after wrinkles - Rachel Sheridan
tretinoin without peeling
after tretinoin for fine lines and wrinkles

Retin-A Peeling

Yuk, it’s not nice. Seriously, this is when you will think Okay, this is just not worth it But in actual fact this is when you should hang on in there. Peeling is good, well some anyway.

How to use tretinoin without irritation

What Vitamin A/Tretinoin/Retin-a does is to speed up cell regeneration. This causes peeling skin at first. It might also become very dry. Mine did. I still peel once in a while, but generally only after a micro-needling session. I only do this every few weeks now, because yes peeling is inconvenient, especially when I have to see clients. I feel like I need to make an excuse or explain myself. I generally micro-needle on a Thursday evening now, so that I’m all peeled and glowing by Monday!

What to do to Combat Dry, Peeling Skin Caused by Tretinoin

Firstly, use an oil before applying it. Apply a small amount of Retin-A (pea size) all over your skin.

Let it dry for around two minutes and then pile on the moisturiser. I find Nivea Cream works the best as it’s really rich and nourishing.

All You Need Is Moisture And Hydration

How to use Tretinoin without irritation:

Really all you need to combat the dry, peeling phase is hydration and moisture. It’s tempting to try every bit of advice out there, but if you stick to this simple routine you will find that the peeling stops quicker and the dryness disappears altogether. Perseverance is key when using tretinoin. Drink plenty of water too. I already drank a few glasses a day anyway so it was easy for me to drink a little more. Try three glasses in the morning and three in the afternoon. It’s not such a daunting task then, if you are not used to drinking lots of the clear stuff.


Don’t spend a ton of money on expensive moisturisers and other creams in the hope of stopping the peeling. Be prepared for a good few weeks of that in any case and then just moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

If you would like a breakdown of the best way to use Retin-A without irritation then you might find this post interesting. It’s featured on Bellatory and written by me, but in my author name Evie Sparkes – How to use Retin-A

Foot note: When using Retin-A you should always use an SPF (30 min)