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.