Is It Okay to Use a Combination of Retin-a and Salicylic Face Wash?

Doctor Answers 2

Retin A and salicylic acid wash

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I generally advise my patients to avoid washes with glycolic or salicyclic acid while on Retin A because both products exfoliate and this increases the risk of irritation.  That being said, if you are able to tolerate the combination then use of both is okay.  Be sure to moisturize twice daily.

New York Dermatologist

Retin A and Salicylic Acid Wash?

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Hi joashteoh.  The answer is that you can use these products together provided that you are not experiencing too much irritation. 

Both Retin A and salicylic acid are going to exfoliate the skin, causing dead skin cells to fall off.  This dead skin cell layer acts as a protective barrier for our skin and if it is thinned too much you can experience redness and irritation.  If the two products are not going well together, your skin will tell you this by becoming red, itchy and irritated.  If this happens, it's best to use only one of the products only and "as tolerated", which means only enough so that you are not getting red and irritated.  Hope this helps.  Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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