I've just started using retin a. Can I use shea butter to moisturize after applying retin a?

Doctor Answers 4

Look at ingredients

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Retin-A can cause scaling, redness and sensitivity in the first month of use, and moisturizers can be very helpful in soothing this irritation. When looking for a moisturizer, make sure the bottle says "non-comedogenic" on the label; using a lightweight oil free moisturizer is a good option to prevent clogging of pores and acne. Ingredients that you want to avoid in your facial moisturizer are cocoa butter, lanolin, myristyl myristate and isopropyl myristate. Shea butter is not a bad ingredient in your moisturizer but you want to take a look at the other ingredients as well. The less refined the better. Look for lightweight moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and glycerin. 

Stuart Dermatologist

Elevase Moisture Booster

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Shea butter can be quite irritating after short or longterm use. I would suggest a ceramide moisturizer such as Elevase Moisture Booster to help strengthen your skin's natural moisture barrier function. 


Dr. Karamanoukian

Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Non-oil based moisturizers recommended

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We would recommend non-oil based moisturizers such as Cetaphil or Cerave. These are non-comedogenic and come in both cream and lotion forms. They are a nice compliment when using topical retinoids.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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Opti-Ceramide moisturizer with retinoic creams

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I recommend RR Retinoid Repair Cream and also instruct all my patients to use a moisturizer and sunblock with these products to reduce sunburn and sun damage. The RR Cream is from Kare Skin and is high quality and less expensive than Retin-A. An Opti-Ceramide oil free non-comedogenic moisturizer is also recommended as a moisturizer and I recommend Elevase Moisture Booster. 

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.