Using Topical Retinoids

Topical Retinoids (Adapalene, Epiduo, Tretinoin, Retin-A, Fabior, Tazorac, Aklief)

Retinoids provide a number of benefits, such as unclogging the pores and fading dark spots (for acne patients) as well as helping to maintain younger, healthier-looking skin cells (for those seeking cosmetic improvement).

If you are prescribed one of these medications, there are a few things you need to know:

  1. If just starting a retinoid on the face, you might want to consider using it only every other day or every third day for the first 2 weeks. The reason is that these medications are known for causing irritation (such as redness, peeling, dryness and burning). After the first week or two, you can gradually increase the frequency of use, until eventually your skin can tolerate using the medication every night.

  1. Dryness of the skin is a normal reaction. Be sure to use a moisturizer with sunscreen (SPF 40 or higher) every morning as throughout the day as needed. When you apply the medication at night, do not apply any moisturizer on top of it.

  1. Retinoids may increase your sensitivity to the sun. Be sure to use a moisturizer with SPF 30 in the morning. Brands we recommend include Neutrogena, Cetaphil, and Cerave.

  1. Discontinue retinoid products 7-14 days before receiving any cosmetic procedures or facial waxing.

  1.  A ‘pea-sized’ amount should be enough to treat your entire face. Using more than this amount, or more frequently than once at bedtime, will increase the dryness and irritation of your skin.

  1. Avoid highly sensitive areas such as the eyelids, corners of the mouth, and creases around the nose.

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