I am using Retin A 0.05% on my face. Is it safe to exfoliate the skin while on Retin A? If yes, how many times a week is it recommended? Thanks,
Is Exfoliation Okay While Using Retin-A?
Doctor Answers 2
Exfoliation with Retin A
Tretinoin (RetinA) is actually an exfoliator in the sense that it is a chemical peel in a tube. As far as adding another agent to exfoliate the skin this may cause burning or stinging such as with alpha hydroxy acids. Just using a Clarisonic brush or gentle exfoliating cloth should help get the dead skin off without further irritation. If you are early in the course of RetinA (less than 6 weeks) then you could expect the redness and flaking to calm down around weeks 6-8. Otherwise just increase your moisturizer use or use a moisturizer 20 minutes before you apply the Retin A for the next few weeks.
Consult your dermatologist
I do allow exfoliation for some Retin A patients. For others, exfoliation is off limits. There are many factors to consider: skin type (thicker skin can usually do it), diagnosis (inflammatory acne patients should never do it), and several other factors that I take into account when I outline my patient's skin care protocol. Go with what YOUR board certified dermatologist recommends. After all, she is the expert on skin care.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.