Can I Use Retin-A All Over My Face?

I want to start Retin A for anti-aging. Im 39 and have fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around my eyes. Can i use the product all over my face? For best results, should i use cream or micro gel? Also, should i start with the 0.025% and build up to the 0.05% once my skin gets used to the product? I do not have sensitive skin but am aware you have to be very careful using this, so not sure where to start! Is Retin A also exactly the same as Tretinoin, which is also cheaper?! Thankyou!

Doctor Answers 5

Retin-A is tretinoin

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Retin-A is one brand name for tretinoin cream, which is used for acne, sun damage and skin rejuvenation.  It is the best anti-aging cream and can be used all over the face, including near the eyes, as well as on the chest, neck and the backs of hands.  It should not be used during pregnancy.  Sun protection should be used daily.

It doesn't really matter if you use the cream or micro gel.  Try starting with the .025% cream every other night for two weeks to prevent too much dryness or peeling.  Once tolerated, you can try using it nightly. Even if you can only tolerate it every other night, you will still benefit from it.  The .05% cream will not give you more rejuvenating effects but will be more irritating.

Toronto Dermatologist

Retin-A - How to use

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes Retin A is a great to use all over your face if you don't have any contraindications - such as being allergic to any of the ingredients, pregnant/breast feeding, etc).

Although it is FDA prescription medication approved for acne, most of its usage in the USA  is to help with  blemishes, discolorations, and rejuvenation by diminishing wrinkles, sun spots, shrink pores, and clear complexion. It also to a degree thickens the dermis and there is some early evidence it may help decrease the likelihood for some skin cancers.

It takes a bit of getting used to so I recommend starting with the lowest strength used at night and if tolerated then when the tube is used up progress to the next strength. For irritation which is common in the early phase of treatment, your plastic surgeon/medical esthetician or nurse, or dermatologist will help you through the adjustment process. Apply a small amount over whole face, . Add moisturizer afterwards if needed. If irritation consider use every other day the  first two to three  weeks until tolerated then once a day.. The treatment should be done under guidance of a physician experienced with this medication.

Proper Application of Retin-A

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Retin-A (tretinoin) is great for the full-face but as it can be very drying and irritating, it is important to learn how to use it properly and to be under the care of a dermatologist. Which strength and formulation (cream vs gel) you use will depend on your skin type and skin history. Patients with sensitive skin or who are prone to skin conditions such as eczema should be very careful with Retin-A, if using it at all.  When I prescribe Retin-A, I give my patients specific instructions on how to properly use it and I discuss the side effects at length. Retin-A should not be used if you are pregnant or breast-feeding and should always be applied at night as it can be irritating in the sun. 

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

You might also like...

How to use Retin-A

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I must admit, I'm a bit unsure if you're trying to do this by yourself, or under the care of a physician. Retin-A is a great product, but you really need to be under the care of a physician to use it properly. It's a product that many people tend to overuse and think that using more will be helpful, when actually, with Retin-A, less is more. Now that I've gotten off my soapbox, I will say that there are several Retin-A products that are available cheaply, some even at $0, with coupons available from your physician; otherwise Retin-A products run between $100-$200 per prescription since it's not covered and is considered cosmetic. Most people prefer to start with a lower percentage and build up, but it depends on your tolerance and dryness. Additionally, there are different formulations so some of the gels are actually more moisturizing than the creams. No matter which you choose, apply the product at night, every third night, to DRY skin, to the full face if you wish, and apply a moisturizer over it if you're finding your skin is too dry. Good luck!

Retin A for the face

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Retin A is a great agent as part of nightly skin care routine for every women that is not pregnant or breast feeding  and can tolerate it. It is a prescription medication that helps with acne, blemishes, discolorations, as well as global gradual and mild rejuvenation ( helps to diminish wrinkles, sun spots, shrink pores, and clear complexion). However it can be irritating to some individuals, so it need to be used with moderation and gradually started. So better to start with lower percentage creams which are less irritating. Apply pea-size amount over whole face, minimize amount under eyes and lip creases, where it can irritate more. Add moisturizer on top if notice dryness. Use every other day first two weeks and then graduate to nightly. Tretinoin is generic of retin A, which should be more affordable. The treatment should be done under guidance of dermatologist to reduce side effects. Good luck.

Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD
Davie Dermatologist

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.