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Retinol Skin Cream | Wrinkle Treatment

Skin Cream – Retinol Products


Retinol is derived from Vitamin A and has been used on the skin since the 1960’s. Initially it was used in the treatment of acne, but doctors soon found that their acne patients’ wrinkles were disappearing. This led the medical community to study whether or not retinol skin cream could help to treat wrinkles.

Not only did they find that the skin cream successfully treated wrinkles, but they also found that it helped with exfoliation and minor discolorations.

In South Africa we have two main types of retinol skin cream –

Retin-A skin cream made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Retacnyl skin cream made by Galderma. There are various concentrations in both brands – the two main types are 0.025% and 0.05%. If you have a sensitive skin type I would suggest going for the 0.025%  skin cream first and then work your way up to the 0.05% skin cream. They are also found in either a gel or cream form. For most patients I would suggest getting the cream form as it has less of a chance of drying out your skin. If a product drys or irritates your skin you will be less likely to use it!

Retinol Skin Cream

Retinol Skin Cream

Retinol Skin Cream

Retin A

 The Retin-A brand is sold in a 20 gram tube whereas the Retacnyl brand is sold in a 30 gram tube – which is more convenient as you have to make less visits to the pharmacy.

Each skin cream tube lasts around 6 to 8 weeks – only a small amount of the substance is used. Initially I tell clients to use it only 3 times a week at night. Application involves using a small pea sized amount of skin cream on the forehead, each cheek and each side of the neck. Gently rub the skin cream to cover the whole face. Your night serum or moisturizer can then be applied over this. If your skin becomes irritated then step down to twice a week – but if this doesn’t occur you can step up treatment to as many days a week that you like.

Results take a few weeks to kick in – and treatment can be continued for life unless you fall pregnant – Retinol based skin creams cannot be used in pregnancy.

All of these products require a doctors prescription in order to purchase them. You will find that many over the counter anti-wrinkle skin creams have retinol in them. The reason you don’t need a prescription for those is that the concentration is much less – they may sometimes work but it will usually be an expensive and lengthy process.

Here is a great video explaining exactly how to use these skin creams:


– Dr Wade

For Bookings and prescriptions for Retinol Skin Cream in Somerset West, Camps Bay and Green Point, Cape Town:


081 301 3277

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8 replies
  1. Karina
    Karina says:


    I am in my first week of Retacnyl 0.05%. Thus far, I have not seen major flaking, peeling, drying or anything really. I apply it every 2nd evening after cleansing as suggested.

    I do apply a serum and moisturiser over top. I exfoliate and apply Retinol every other evening. Should I patiently wait for something to happen / should I bump up to more nights a week?

    Should I maybe introduce a Glycolic to my routine? Not quite sure how to ensure optimum results…

    • admin
      admin says:

      Hi Karina

      If you haven’t had a reaction thus far you can step up your treatment to every single night. If you get a reaction you can always step down again or take a break for 2 days and go back on it. I wouldn’t add a glycolic acid just yet – give it a month to 6 weeks before you review whether or not you need to add it. Retinol is an exfoliator and you are also exolfiating as well so adding glycolic acid (also an exfoliator) may just make you very red and over-exfolaite your skin.

      If you are thinking about a second active ingredient, vitamin C may be a better one as it stimulates collagen production. If you are still set on glycolic acid you can always get a glycolic acid peel once a month from your therapist or get an at home glycolic acid peel to use occasionally.

      I hope that helps!

      PS I haven’t seen you in person so it is difficult to give actual medical advice, so if you have any concerns about you current treatment regimen it would be best to visit a doctor in person. Have a great day.

      – Dr Wade Merchant

    • admin
      admin says:

      Hi Molly

      Diabetes does speed up the aging process – that said, yes, a retinol cream can help with fine lines and wrinkles. I hope that answers your question. Have a great day further!


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