Tips on How to Use a Retinoid or Retinol on Your Skin

I see many patients who have a hard time being compliant with use of retinoid or retinol. They complain of redness, irritation, dryness, flaky skin, sensitivity.

I will refer you back to my post on “Fountain of Youth Cream” to read more about how retinoids/retinols work to improve your skin health.  You will read about how essential I feel that these products are to achieving optimal skin health.

I truly believe that there is a retinoid/retinol out there for everyone.  And that we really need to assess and recognize our skin type to determine which one will work for each of us.  Your dermatologist or provider can help guide you in your selection.

Here are some tips that are useful in helping increase your tolerance and compliance with your retinoid/retinol regimen so that you can really obtain the benefit of these amazing skin care products:

  1. Always use your retinoid/retinol at night; sunlight inactivates these products
  2. In the evening, wash your face first, then apply your moisturizer.  Remember that your retinoid/retinol does not replace your moisturizer
  3. Wait about 30 minutes after applying your moisturizer before you apply your retinoid/retinol.  This will help control the rate of penetration of the retinoid/retinol and minimize the risk of irritation
  4. A pea-sized amount of retinoid/retinol (or 1-2 pumps) is plenty for your entire face.  If you have any extra, rub it into the skin on the backs of your hands
  5. In the morning, when you wash your face, exfoliate with a soft washcloth to remove any dead skin cells that have turned over and started to shed on the surface of your skin
  6. After washing your face in the morning, apply a hydrating moisturizer next, and then apply sunscreen last

Please feel free to reach out if you have questions about specific product recommendations or certain brands!

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