Is Microdermabrasion Safe While on Retin-A?

I have been on Retin-A therapy for about one year, and I would like to begin microdermabrasion treatments, is this safe?

Doctor Answers (7)

Retin-A and Microdermabrasion

+3

The combination of Microdermabrasion and Retin-A can go work well together. We use a crystal-free diamond tipped microdermabrader in our office. Your skin with Retin-A may be more sensitive and to help avoid scabbing and deeper injury we recommend that patients stop Retin-A / Tretinoin for 3-5 days before their microdermabrasion treatment. Patients can then resume Tretinoin the next day after microdermabrasion. Each patient is different and I tailor my recommendations accordingly.

Just a little more about Retin-A:

Retin-A / Tretinoin provides a light form of chemical peel that exfoliates the skin, enhances collage production (minimizes wrinkles), and evens skin tone (a treatment for hyperpigmentation).

Retin-A is the brand name for Tretinoin and is a topical prescription medication. Retin A can make your skin more sensitive to the sun; thus sunscreen/sunblocks are highly recommended adjuncts. Avoide sunlamps and tanning beds. We recommend avoiding areas of wounds, eczema, and muscosal areas such as the eyes, mouth, and nose. We also have our patients use tretinoin at night instead of in the morning because of the increased sun sensitivity during the day. When we start a patient on tretinoin, we usually have them start every other night for the first 2 weeks then increase to every night. We would like to personally monitor a patient's progress with this medication. We carry a skincare line in our office - Obagi - which utilizes tretinoin.

Our most common dosages of tretinoin that we prescribe in our Modesto, California office is 0.1% or 0.05%. Tretinoin is also available as a 0.025% strength.

Retin-A/Tretinoin works by thinning the outermost layer of the skin - the stratum corneum, while cells in the epidermis are stimulated to produce a thicker epidermis layer. Collagen production and cellular growth in the dermis layer also increases. These changes are fully appreciated after about 2 months of continued use. At that time one would see improvement with acne, hyperpigmentation, pore size, and texture. Continued daily use is recommended to keep these improvements, and some skin care specialists recommend a modified maintenance route with Retin-A/Tretinoin.

Retin-A has been used to treat acne and for skin rejuvenation purposes. It is not known whether Retin-A is harmful to an unborn baby or nursing baby. Talk to your doctor in person about using Retin-A, especially if you are pregnant or just delivered your baby.


Modesto Plastic Surgeon

Retin-A and Microdermabrasion

+2

It is not uncommon to use both Retin-A and other hydroxy acids simultaneously with microdermabrasion treatments. But most doctors will likely stop your Retin-A treatment either two weeks or a couple of days before your first microdermabrasion treatment. Note that since you have been on Retina-a, you may have more redness and scabbing after microdermabrasion than if you were not on Retin-A. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Microdermabrasion and Retin-A

+2

I would generally recommend stopping Retin-A for 2 weeks prior to microdermabrasion. Retin-A can make your skin more sensitive and could increase your healing time from the microdermabrasion. However, I do think Retin-A is an effective medicine for photoaging and would recommend restarting it after the microdermabrasion.

Mandy Lynn Warthan, MD
Dallas Dermatologist

You might also like...

Microdermabrasion and Retin-A treatments: Safety of combined exfoliation

+2

Microdermabrasion and Retin-A.

Retin-A is a proprietary name for tretinoin. The active ingredient is a derivative of Vitamin A and stimulates the cell cycle, thereby inducing exfoliation and deposition of linear collagen in the dermis.

In the early stage of treatment, tretinoin can cause redness, exfoliation, and sensitivity of the skin. As the treatment progresses, the skin will increasingly become tolerant of the Retin-A. The result, a smoother complexion with eradication of fine lines and increased skin resiliency.

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical form of exfoliation. There are many variants. In our Santa Monica office, we utilize two more predictable and effective treatment modalities of mechanical exfoliation. The first is a diamond microdermabrasion that we use routinely with Retin-A treatment. Second, we use a water based exfoliation that infuses enzymes and acids to loosen cellular and pore debris prior to exfoliation to effect a more effective treatment without the intense abrasive effects.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Yes good combination

+1

Using Retin-A in combination with the microdermabrasion treatments will only enhance the results. It is recommended for patients to stop using the Retin-A 3-4days up to 1 week prior and after the treatment to prevent being extremely sensitive during the treatment. Using sun protection every day is a must when using any Retin-A  and doing any medical spa treatments.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Retin-A and microdermabrasion

+1

This combination is safe to use, understanding that the skin while under retin-a is more sensitive, so you may have more redness and scabbing after the microdermbrasion than if you were not on the retin-a. I would generally recommend stopping the retin-a for 2 weeks prior to the microdermabrasion to minimize the downtime afterwards.

Benjamin Barankin, MD
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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.