Topical Retin A and Hair Transplantation?

Hi. I am considering a HT. I have used in the past topical 5% minoxidil followed by application of Retin-A cream 0.1% to aid absorption . Does the use of Retin A in the past have any impact on the success of a HT? Any increased risk of complications because of this previous use of Retin A?

Doctor Answers 6

Use of Topical Retin-A Before Hair Transplant

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Past use of Retin-A should have no impact on the success of your hair transplant. Especially since it does aid in the absorption of Rogaine. I have my patients do a pre-surgery Rogaine regimen to enhance the final outcome of surgery.

Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Retin A and hair transplant should not be an issue

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Retin A and hair transplant should not be an issue but you should consult with your doctor.  For some patients, Retin A and minoxidil can cause skin irritation and reaction but how it affects the transplanted hairs is not clear.  

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Topical Retin-A and Hair Transplanation

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The previous use of Retin-A will have no impact on the success of your hair transplant surgery. I have had done transplants or rotated Fleming/Mayer Flaps many times after Retin-A  without problems  

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

The use of Retin-A on the scalp has zero impact on the success of hair transplantation

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Retin-A was first used in conjuction with minoxidil probably 25 years ago.Retin-A does appear to enhance the absorption of minoxidil and result in better maintainance of scalp hairs with very little tendency to cause any irritation.I have transplanted many patients using both and usually have the patient continue what they are doing up until the day of the transplant, but not start back with the Retin-A until the grafts have fully healed ( usually 2-4 weeks).The minoxidil usually can be restarted after 1 week.

Richard Fitzpatrick, MD (in memoriam)
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Retin A and hair restoration

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Retin A has many interesting effects.  High dose retin A can alter healing, it can increase skin absorption, cause skin drying and irritation.  This is a very interesting question and I could not find an answer in the medical research.  The tretinoin family has been associated with hair growth and hair loss but for this particular situation no clear answer exists. 

Rashid M. Rashid, PhD, MD
Houston Dermatologist

Retin A with minoxidil prior to Hair transplant

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The previous use of Retin-a will not alter the success of hair transplantion. However, because there can be a lot of manipulation to the donor area during surgery, I would recommend stopping the Retin-A (where applied to the scalp) for a full week prior to surgery. Of course, double check with your transplant surgeon to be sure he or she is in agreement.

Interestingly, Retin-a is occasionally used to help increase absorption of minoxidil in the scalp. It helps to increase the turnover rate of your cells thus sloughing off some of the top layers. For this reason it helps with anti-aging and can be a major benefit in terms of wrinkle reduction.

However we have less information about how it affects the absorption of minoxidil. Dr. Nia Terezakis did the seminal work showing use of minoxidil with tretinoin. Large controlled clinical trials have not been done to show whether there is a major difference from adding tretinoin.


Nicole E. Rogers, MD
New Orleans 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.