How should I transition from my salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide routine to Tretinoin?

I have used 2% salicylic acid wash and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream for years. Now I am starting Tretinoin .05%. Should I stop salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide immediately when I start Tretinoin? Or, should I transition away from them slowly? Or, can I keep using them in the morning while using a gentle Cetaphil wash and Tretinoin at night? I'll start with the Tretinoin every 3 nights and probably eventually increase to every night. I am also taking Doxycycline for the next couple of months.

Doctor Answers 1

Topical treatments for acne

Thank you for your question Rocky River. Common topical treatments for acne include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, and retinoids. For my patients I recommend using the retinoids such as tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene at night and the other products in the morning. Using benzoyl peroxide immediately before a retinoid can degrade the retinoid and render it ineffective. Doxycycline by mouth can be taken at the same time. Doxycycline works well for redness associated with acne. Chemical peels and laser treatments work well for acne as well. I recommend consulting with your doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

Encino Physician
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