If I am not experiencing the dry/irritated skin side effects of Retin A does that mean it is not working for me?

I started using retin-a a few months ago and read that just about everyone has dry and/or irritated skin from it. I am using 0.05 percent and have never had any dry or irritated skin. Of course it makes my skin feel tight after applying and I just apply moisturizer to take care of that. Does this mean it is not working for me and I should try a higher dosage or am I just lucky?

Doctor Answers 2

No dry skin with Retin-A, is this ok?

Retin-A is designed to go into the deeper layers of the skin. You don't have to have red, itchy, or flaky skin for it to work, and in fact, many of the Retin-A products over the years have been designed to avoid this, but keep the efficacy. So, no, you don't need to move up to a higher percentage product. It's a side effect - not a necessity.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

Do NOT have to dry, peeling skin from Retin A

It is a widely held myth that you must suffer through dry, flaking skin in order for your retinol to be effective.  The newer formulation of retinols are designed to avoid these side effects by bypassing the areas of the skin where retinols cause the most irritation.  Recent studies have shown it is more advantageous to use a lower dose, tolerable retinol every day rather than a stronger, side effect inducing retinol a few days a week.  If you are not having side effects, don't worry!  You are still receiving the great benefits of the retinol.  After finishing your current retinol, you can discuss bumping up to a higher dosage with your provider.  

Kent V. Hasen, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

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