...And to Retinoids, Too
These powerful vitamin A derivatives aren’t just for combating acne and wrinkles. Studies suggest that topical retinoids may reduce your risk of developing precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses. “Retinoids can help inhibit the growth of tumor cells and stimulate normal skin-cell development,” says Manisha Thakuria, M.D., an instructor in dermatology specializing in skin cancer at Harvard Medical School. Whether you’re using an over-the-counter product (such as Skin Ceuticals Retinol 0.5, $54, skinceuticals.com) or a prescription-strength one (such as Retin-A or Renova), start slowly, since retinoids can irritate the skin. Apply twice a week until you notice little to no redness the day after. Then, if you can tolerate it, work your way up to daily use. Since skin that has been treated with retinoids is especially sun-sensitive, “sunscreen is a must,” says Thakuria.