Should I Discontinue Retin-A Use if Exposed to Sun for a Long Period of Time?

I am going on vacation for a week and plan to continue using Retin-A after my vacation

Doctor Answers 2

Retina-A or tretinoin use during sun exposure

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For most patients who have been on tretinoin for a long period, tretinoin is generally continued during sun exposure. Exceptions include if (1) you're just starting tretinoin or (2) increasing to a stronger concentration and planning an extended period of sun exposure. Tretinoin induces a variable degree of skin irritation when first starting or changing therapy. The added irritation from extended sun exposure will make your skin especially sensitive.

As other dermatologists and skin care specialists have stated, keep using your tretinoin at night and use a sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in the morning. Don't forget to reapply your sunblock and keep hydrated. Speak with your dermatologist regarding any concerns you have. Best of luck and enjoy your vacation!

Dr. Chaboki


Retin-a is safe in the sun

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Retin-a should be applied at night and not in the mornings.  There is definitely a warning of photosensitivity with retin-a, however, with newer formulations of retin-a this is usually not a big problem if one is using sunscreen.  Furthermore, retin-a inhibits many enzymes that are stimulated by the sun to break down collagen and elastic fibers (matrix metalloproteinases) that cause photoaging, thus using retin-a if you are not suffering from the photosensitivity is an important tool against the deleterious effect of the sun.

Just use sunscreens with physical blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and you will be fine.

Have fun on your vacation

Daniel I. Wasserman, MD
Naples Dermatologic Surgeon

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.