Tretinoin Instructions

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How does tretinoin work?

Tretinoin/Retin-A is the gold standard of topical anti-aging skin treatments.

  • It promotes skin cell turnover which can lighten discoloration, brighten dull skin, and clear up breakouts.
  • It stimulates collagen growth, which helps tighten your skin and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It promotes healthier and more radiant skin.

Starting your tretinoin regimen:

  •  Tretinoin makes your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so only apply it in the evening.
  • Before bed, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Dry the skin thoroughly.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of tretinoin to your entire face, avoiding the sensitive skin around the eyes.
  • Once tretinoin is dry, apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to your entire face.
  • In the morning, cleanse, hydrate, and apply SPF 30+.
  • Don’t forget to reapply SPF every couple of hours, or more often when swimming or sweating.

A slow and steady approach to tretinoin will lead to the best results. Mild redness, flaking, and peeling are normal as your skin adapts to tretinoin. To make this adjustment period easier, start by using tretinoin 1-2x per week, then gradually increase frequency over several weeks. Aim for nightly use, but be patient as this may take weeks or months. If excessive flakiness or irritation occurs, simply take a day or two off.

Other important information:

  • Initial breakouts are common, followed by clearer skin after the “purging” period.
  • Tretinoin can be safely used on the neck or other body parts, but this may cause increased redness and irritation, requiring a longer adjustment period.
  • Tretinoin strengths range from 0.025% to 0.1%. Starting strength is based on your skin type and needs, with the possibility of increasing strength over time for increased anti-aging results. Inform your aesthetic clinician if nightly application is well-tolerated without irritation and if you wish to increase the strength.
  • Stop using tretinoin at least 1 week before waxing, using depilatories, or undergoing treatments that disrupt the skin barrier (e.g., laser treatments, chemical peels, etc). Inform your aesthetic clinician about tretinoin usage before any treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact The Skin Center at 1-800-412-1151.

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