What is the Correct Way to Use Tretinoin?

Hello doctor, I was always skeptic about using tretinoin so I just jumped in and gave it a try But I still do not the correct way of applying tretinoin Does it has to applied as face mask and wait for till it dries Or Does it have to be rubbed in th skin till it is invisible. The reson why I am asking this is beacuse when I was following way I was getting blemishes on the skin or is it possible because I did not wore sunscreen in the day becoz I didn't..... Pls help Thanks in Advance

Doctor Answers 3

Proper Way to Use RetinA (tretinoin)

When prescribing RetinA (tretinoin) or a similar topical topical Vitamin A to my patients, I have specific instructions on how to apply it in order to get the most benefit with the least amount of irritation.  The following are my instructions:

1. WAIT 20-30 MINUTES AFTER GENTLY CLEANSING YOUR FACE AT NIGHT BEFORE APPLYING THE RETIN-A.  ALWAYS APPLY AT NIGHT.

2. APPLY A “PEA-SIZED” AMOUNT OF THE CREAM OR GEL TO YOUR INDEX FINGER, AND THEN GENTLY APPLY ¼ OF THE CREAM OR GEL TO EACH QUADRANT OF YOUR FACE.

3. SPREAD THE GEL OR CREAM AROUND THESE QUADRANTS CREATING A THIN EVEN LAYER. BE CAREFUL NOT TO APPLY THE RETIN-A TOO CLOSE TO YOUR EYES.

4. BEGIN BY APPLYING THE RETIN-A EVERY OTHER NIGHT.  AFTER 2 WEEKS, IF THERE IS NO REDNESS OR IRRITATION, INCREASE APPLICATION TO EVERY NIGHT.  IF YOU DEVELOP MILD REDNESS OR IRRITATION, CONTINUE AT EVERY OTHER NIGHT OR DECREASE TO TWICE WEEKLY.

5. IF YOU APPLY THE RETIN-A TOO SOON AFTER WASHING YOUR FACE OR YOU APPLY TOO MUCH MEDICATION, YOU WILL INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF REDNESS AND IRRITATION WITHOUT INCREASING THE BENEFIT.

6. WASH YOUR FACE GENTLY.  AVOID WASHCLOTHS, FACIAL SCRUBS, ASTRINGENTS, AND ANY OTHER OVER THE COUNTER PRODUCTS THAT DRY OR IRRITATE THE SKIN MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO USE THE RETIN-A.

7. IF YOU FIND THAT YOUR SKIN IS VERY DRY: USE A FACIAL MOISTURIZER THAT IS “NON-COMEDOGENIC” (MEANING THAT IT DOESNT CAUSE ACNE).  APPLY A SUNSCREEN OR MOISTURIZER WITH SUNSCREEN IN THE MORNINGS.

8. IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON HAVING CHEMICAL PEELING, LASER TREATMENTS OR WAXING TREATMENTS, PLEASE NOTIFY YOUR DOCTOR SO THAT HE OR SHE CAN INSTRUCT YOU HOW TO MANAGE YOUR RETIN-A DURING THESE PERIODS.

The application of Tretinoin (Retin-A)

Tretinoin cream is a great medication for acne. It should be used correctly to minimize the common side effects which include redness, dryness and scaling.

For application: Gently clean your face with a mild or soapless cleanser. Wait 20-30 minutes before applying this medication. Apply a pea-sized amount of cream usually once a day before bedtime. If your skin is sensitive, start once or twice a week and increase the medication as tolerated.

Miriam Hanson, MD
Austin Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Correct Way to Use Tretinoin

Tretinoin is applied as you would use any other face cream/moisturizer/ or gel.  Place a small amount in your fingertips and rub it in all over your face.  If your skin is sensitive, you may need to start out slowly to avoid excessive redness and irritation.  So you would use it every 3rd night for a week or two then every other night for a week or two progressing to every night if tolerated.  If you are still getting irritation, you may be an every other night person instead of an every night person!  Always use sunscreen during the day.

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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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.