Is It Ok to Start Using Retin-A in the Summer?

I went to see my dermatologist and he prescribed Retin-A 0.04% because I have sensitive skin. I am going to slowly introduce this into my skincare regime, but is it ok for me to start using it during the summer or should I wait till fall? Also, is it ok for me to use Retin-A while undergoing electroloysis treatments? How long should I discontinue Retin-A before and after electrolysis treatments? Please let me know. Thank you

Doctor Answers 2

Retin A in summer?

Hi there,

As an Australian plastic surgeon, we see a tremendous amount of sun damage to skin in our patient population.  I've been prescribing Retin A for close to 20 years, and as a fair skinned celtic complexion myself, have used it for years too.

The fear of summer use is photosensitivity - redness and skin reaction to sun if using it.

My experience is that while you do have to be careful to avoid excessive sun exposure on it, and should be good with sunscreen every day - either in a moisturiser or as a separate product - on the whole it's well tolerated, and summer use is fine.

I think it's important to avoid actually getting sunburnt - that would be unpleasant - but see little skin reaction to normal amounts of summer sun if you are just a little careful.

Like any other skin treatment, a little trial and error is required, start slow and understand it will take your skin a few weeks to adjust to the Retin A.  It makes the skin feel dry at first, but over time the opposite I think - the skin feels better with it on, once you're used to it, at least in my own experience.

All the best

Howard Webster


How to effectively use Retin-A during the summer months to avoid problems

It is okay to start Retin-A anytime of the year as long as you use an effective sunscreen.  I would stop using any Vitamin A product for at least a week before an electrolysis treatment.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

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