Tazorac for Wrinkles - a Review
Tazorac, botox or laser?
Recently, at the age of 37 I started to notice that I am developing quite a few wrinkles around my eyes, particularly when I smile. I live in an area which is warm and sunny all through the year so I have had a lot of sun exposure and this hasn't helped. My skin now looks older than I think it should at my age.
As a result I decided to go and see a dermatologist. The area where I live also has a very high skin cancer rate which is the downside to all of the beautiful sunshine. Being a little embarrassed by my vanity I used that as a pretext for going and got her to give me a complete skin check whilst I was there.
After a very close examination of my skin she declared that I have a fair bit of sun damage, and that she could offer me several options to help.
Firstly she offered botox (which I think I had been secretly hoping that she would!) but she also talked to me about several other options including using lasers and also vitamin A creams.
Being a botox newbie I was pretty terrified by the prospect of injecting poison into my face so we agreed that I would just have a little "baby botox" around my eyes. She gave me 10 units, just around my crow's feet, which is a very minimal amount.
We then discussed other things that I could do to improve my skin.
Tazorac For Wrinkles
After giving me my "baby botox" the dermatologist also told me about vitamin A creams and how they can reduce wrinkles. She offered me the choice of over the counter options or a stronger prescription strength cream that she could prescribe. I was keener to try something stronger so she gave me some samples of a cream called Tazorac. (In some countries it is sold as Zorac)
My dermatologist explained that this was a prescription strength vitamin A cream that was initially developed to treat acne and other skin complaints. Whilst being used for those purposes it was discovered that it also reduced wrinkles and pigmentation in the skin.
She told me that I would possibly find it so effective that I might decide that I no longer needed botox.
My dermatologist gave me two sample tubes of Tazorac. A silver one of lower strength (0.05%), and a gold one of a higher strength (0.1%) to use once my skin had got used to the lower strength one.
My dermatologist then gave me strict instructions on how to use Tazorac. At the beginning I was to use it only a couple of times a week. On nights that I was to use it I was to make sure that my face was scrupulously clean and then apply an amount the size of a pea all over my face and down onto my neck working it thoroughly into my skin. She did warn me not to apply it too close to the eyes as this might make my eyes sore and sensitive.
The following morning I was to remove it all in the shower, and then very carefully apply a good moisturiser and a sunscreen of at least spf15+ but preferably spf 30. She explained that this is because using Tazorac can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage and to the suns rays.
Tazorac- The Results!
When I woke up the first morning I ran to the mirror to see whether I could spot any difference in my skin. Not surprisingly I couldn't. I'm not sure quite why I had thought that the results would be so immediate but they weren't!
What I was happy to see though was that my skin had no redness or dryness. One of the possible side effects of this cream is that your skin can become dry and red.
I persevered with the cream for two weeks using it approximately every three nights. Over the course of the three weeks I did notice some changes in my skin. I am a very pale skinned and freckly person, I don't have red hair but I do have skin like a redhead, and I immediately noticed that my freckles started to become paler. In fact my whole face became slightly paler and just generally looked more evenly toned.
It was hard to judge whether my wrinkles reduced over this two weeks as this was the time that the botox was kicking in, so my skin was becoming much, much smoother anyway.
What there definitely was however was a "brightening" of my skin. I looked like one of those people whose skin just glows, and that definitely helped me to look a bit younger.
Over the course of the following few weeks I gradually increased my use of the silver until my skin was tolerating it every day. I started to notice a little more dryness at this point. Every now and then when applying my make up I would find a small patch of skin that looked almost as if it were peeling.
Having used the silver cream nightly I decided to move up to the "gold" Tazorac cream. This one is twice the strength of the silver, but given that I had had absolutely no problems whatsoever with the silver cream I was fairly confident that I would be fine with gold.
I applied it the first night and again peered at my face in the morning. There was no obvious evidence of anything different at this point although I did notice that my eyes were slightly uncomfortable so it was possible that I had applied it too close to my eyes.
By evening however I could REALLY tell the difference. My face felt a little bit sore, like a mild sunburn and I also noticed over the next couple of days that it was drier, redder and was peeling a little. For this reason I gave my skin a few days break to recover.
Although the gold cream did make my skin drier I also found that it also had a much greater impact on the way my skin looked than the silver. The glowing effect was much more pronounced and people started to tell me that I looked well.
Since this time I have gradually been trying to build my skin up to more frequent use of the gold cream. At the moment I can only manage a couple of times a week with the silver used in the middle otherwise I experience too much dryness despite increasing my use of moisturiser.
What I can say though is that my skin definitely looks better. The very fine lines look as if they are almost gone, the small lines look better and overall the clarity of my skin is much better than it was. I have less pigmentation and my face just looks brighter.
What I do disagree with my dermatologist over is that Tazorac could replace Botox around my eyes. Whilst the Tazorac has made the skin look better and reduced the fine lines it hasn't stopped the big creases that appear in my skin when I smile and it is these that I think are the most ageing.
By contrast, Botox removes these completely so that when I smile the skin around my eyes creases much, much less. Funnily enough, I think it still looks natural. I didn't tell my husband about the botox and he didn't notice anything different. I'm not sure whether that is a good thing or not though!
For me, I think the perfect combination is a little botox coupled with the Tazorac as well. This way my skin looks brighter and fresher, but the big, dynamic wrinkles around my eyes are gone.
Tazorac For Stretch Marks...
Whilst reading up about Tazorac on the internet after my dermatologist had given it to me I found that some people were using it to reduce stretch marks.
Following the weight gain of two pregnancies I have HORRIBLE stretch marks on my stomach so I decided to do a little experiment. I have been applying the gold cream to one half of my stomach and not the other to see whether this is a treatment that might work. So far so good!
At the moment I have been doing this for less than a month and I can already see some results. The stretch marks on the treated side have definitely become narrower and less deep. Some of the pale silvery ones on the treated side seem to have gone. There is an appreciable, noticeable difference between the two sides.
I haven't shown this to my dermatologist yet- I'm not sure she would approve! However, I intend to keep going with it and see whether I keep seeing an improvement. I'll report back!