10 Tips for Getting Started With Retin-A

Jul 23, 2019

POSTED: 14/04/21

There’s a reason Retin-A has been prescribed for decades: IT WORKS!

It is never too late to start, and if you are just starting, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. You do need a prescription for Retin-A (tretinoin) to achieve the maximum benefit.

If you want to try over-the-counter retinoids first, make sure the Vitamin A ingredient is one of the first five listed. Also be sure that the container is opaque since light is known to degrade retinoids.


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2. Use at night.

Since light renders this product less effective and can cause skin sensitivity, use Retin-A only at night, ideally right before going to bed.

3. Start slowly.

Ease into Retin-A by using the lowest strength formula and follow your skin care professional’s recommendations for frequency of use. Start out with 2 nights per week for the first two weeks. Then, 3 nights per week, working your way up to nightly.

4. Apply to a clean, dry face.

It’s best not to apply Retin-A immediately after washing since water can cause irritation. Let your skin dry completely before applying.

5. Don’t use too much.

This is a powerful medicine. Only a pea-sized amount should be used for your entire face.

6. Stop using the product one week prior to getting a chemical peel.

7. Don’t stop at the first sign of peeling or breakouts.

Redness, peeling and a surge of break-outs are common at first. This is actually a good thing. Stay the course as recommended.

8. Avoid waxing.

When using the product, facial waxing may cause irritation. Tweezers are recommended, at least while your skin becomes accustomed to Retin-A.

9. Use an SPF.

You should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen anyway. And since Retin-A promotes faster cellular turnover, your skin may become more sensitive to the sun.

10. Always use it — except while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Click to read more about Retinol and retinoids here, then fill out this form to request an appointment.