Perioral Dermatitis and Retinoids?

I have perioral dermatitis and am interested in either tazorac or differin for wrinkle reduction / prevention and collagen stimulation. Which would be a better choice? I have used Retin-A Micro in the past but it can be very irritating. Lately I also have mild acne.

Doctor Answers 2


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While there is good evidence that stronger retinoids work better for acne then the milder ones, there is no good evidence that a strong retinoid it is any better than a milder retinoid in the long run for photo rejuvenation and fine line reduction.  Tazorac also tends to be a lot more irritating than Retin-A Micro so your best choice would appear to be the Differin.  Although Differin is used for acne it can aggravate perioral dermatitis so you would want to avoid that area if your perioral dermatitis is active.  I hope this is helpful for you.

Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Differing is less irritating

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I would recommend Differin as Tazorac is potetially more irritating (even more than Retin A). Differin is adapelene with is in the retinoid family but is a more mild derivative. Once your skin has become acclimated to Differin, you may consider moving up to stronger retinoid like Tazorac. Also, for any retinoid I always recommend my patients start off slow. Apply only a small pea sized amount to the whole face. Start off every 3rd night, if you are tolerating it well after a couple of weeks, then increase your use to every other night. A couple weeks later you can move up to every night if you are still tolerating it well.

Tracy Katz, MD
Houston 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.