Methods to Apply Tretinoin Cream: A Information to Demystifying Its Use

Tretinoin, usually identified by its model title Retin-A, is a dermatologist-favored powerhouse for combatting pores and skin getting old. However navigating its utility and layering with different skincare merchandise may be complicated. Worry not! This complete information, knowledgeable by my experience as a dermatologist with 35+ years of expertise, will unlock the secrets and techniques to the transformative skincare potential that helps your pores and skin tolerate tretinoin and fend off wrinkles.

Let’s demystify tretinoin as soon as and for all. You’ll be taught key dermatologist examined sensible tips on find out how to apply tretinoin and find out how to layer it – do you place it on earlier than or after a moisturizer, and find out how to use it with different skincare merchandise. Then we’ll break down find out how to create your optimum tretinoin skincare routine, arrange your nighttime tretinoin routine, find out how to use it primarily based in your complexion, have a look at options, and the most effective merchandise to maximise the age defying advantages of utilizing tretinoin. I even included some academic content material past the fundamentals that can assist you higher perceive tretinoin and its use.

Think about… soothed pores and skin, minimized pores, and a wholesome, radiant, youthful glowing pores and skin.

Earlier than You Begin Utilizing Tretinoin (Retin-A)

Earlier than we dive into find out how to use tretinoin, it’s essential that you’re conscious of some key fundamentals:

Each dermatologist I do know considers retinoids the one most essential skincare ingredient, together with sunscreen, to battle pores and skin getting old. Actually, all of us use a retinoid in our private skincare routines.

Methods to Apply Tretinoin Cream

Let’s discover ways to use tretinoin for max outcomes, together with when to make use of it and good layering strategies that assist deal with wrinkles, uneven tone, and dullness.

Apply Tretinoin at Evening

Apply retinoids, like tretinoin and retinol, at night time. Retinoids, like tretinoin and retinol are deactivated when uncovered to mild so it is best to place them on proper earlier than you end up your mild to fall asleep.

At all times Apply It to Dry Pores and skin

Dry pores and skin is vital. Sure, tretinoin is in a moisturizing base, however as a result of it causes irritation if utilized to damp pores and skin, it may possibly’t be your moisturizer! This isn’t true of retinol however due to these explicit tretinoin ‘points’, I share the steps of my nighttime skincare routine for tretinoin customers additional beneath.

Do You Apply Tretinoin Earlier than or After a Moisturizer

Moisturizer first, wait, then tretinoin: Apply your moisturizer, wait no less than quarter-hour to permit it to soak up, after which proceed with tretinoin to keep away from irritation. Then it is ‘lights out’. Comply with the tretinoin skincare routine steps beneath on this information to construct a routine that may work on your complexion.

How Lengthy Ought to You Wait to Apply a Moisturizer

Some people, particularly these with delicate pores and skin, profit from a 15 to 30 minute wait after cleaning earlier than making use of tretinoin. The 15+ minute wait permits the pores and skin barrier to recuperate and minimizes irritation. This helps scale back the chance of tretinoin induced retinoid dermatitis, a standard problem for a lot of tretinoin customers.

Extra Utility Suggestions

  • Wash your face and palms earlier than making use of any merchandise.
  • Begin sluggish: Start with making use of tretinoin 2-3 nights per week, steadily rising frequency as tolerated. This method can also be good to observe if you’re introducing retinol as a substitute of tretinoin.
  • Use solely a pea-sized quantity on your face. Extra may be irritating. Dot it on key areas and unfold evenly. If you’re utilizing it in your neck and chest, every will get one other pea-size dollop. Know that tretinoin can irritate neck and chest pores and skin so seek the advice of your prescribing doctor.
  • Use sunscreen every day. Tretinoin will increase solar sensitivity.
  • Take heed to your pores and skin. Regulate your routine primarily based on any irritation or dryness.
  • Seek the advice of your dermatologist for skilled steerage on customized recommendation and considerations.

Tretinoin Skincare Routine

Over the a long time I’ve created custom-made, advanced layered tretinoin skincare routines for my sufferers and I’ve seen the outcomes of the success and challenges of many in my follow and by myself face. I’ve realized what works and the place individuals get into hassle.

Complete skin care routine for a radiant skin.

The key to creating a strong and complexion reworking skincare routine is to construct what I name a Full Pores and skin Care Routine. It offers the pores and skin every thing it wants within the 4 important steps: Cleanse, Right, Hydrate, Shield.

Right here is your information to constructing a skincare routine with the steps to efficiently layer tretinoin (or retinol). Search for the part the place we talk about particular issues and choices it’s best to observe primarily based in your complexion.

Methods to Layer Tretinoin with Different Merchandise

Utility timing and product combos could make or break the outcomes. Typically you will not know issues aren’t working for weeks or months. It is why I am so particular concerning the merchandise and tretinoin skincare regimens I like to recommend.

I cowl every of those key steps in additional element additional beneath:

  1. Select the suitable merchandise to make use of and layer with tretinoin
  2. Comply with the nighttime skincare routine beneath
  3. Customise your routine primarily based on my suggestions within the complexion primarily based layering choices part of this information

The Finest Merchandise to Use with Tretinoin

I designed the next two skincare kits to help tretinoin use. Beneath them, I describe find out how to layer a routine.

Each kits embrace anti-inflammatory inexperienced tea cream to assuage tretinoin pores and skin irritation, a delicate non-drying cleanser, a deeply hydrating moisturizer, and non-irritating sunscreen, all of which assist to allow tretinoin success.

  • Full Facial Pores and skin Care Equipment: Superb for layering with tretinoin.
  • Ageless Rejuvenation Pores and skin Care Equipment: Good for alternating tretinoin with a gentler choice, retinol. This equipment features a Retinol Evening Cream that gives related advantages however with much less irritation, permitting you to alternate with tretinoin or use it instead when tretinoin is simply too sturdy. It additionally contains Glycolic Acid Cream for wrinkle and sunspots management.

See the beneath sections on complexion primarily based routine choices and extra on alternating tretinoin with retinol.

Complete Facial Skin Care Kit: Ideal for layering with tretinoin.  Ageless Rejuvenation Skin Care Kit: Perfect for alternating tretinoin with a gentler option, retinol.


I take advantage of all of those merchandise for my very own routine to maintain my pores and skin as wholesome and glowing as I can. I alternate my Retinol Cream with tretinoin as a result of it’s simpler to make use of.

Nighttime Routine:

Nighttime utility is vital. Tretinoin is light-sensitive and breaks down in daylight, so apply it proper earlier than turning off the lights to keep away from mild publicity.

1. Cleanse

Wash your face with heat water and the mild pH  balanced Extraordinarily Mild Cleanser, which  cleans pores and skin nicely with out irritating or over-drying.

Rinse very well to take away make-up, filth, air pollution and product residue in order that your bedtime merchandise will penetrate nicely when you sleep.

2. Right + Hydrate

The core steps when utilizing tretinoin are listed beneath, nonetheless please see the layering choices defined beneath these steps to construct your particular steps:

  1. Guarantee your pores and skin is totally dry
  2. Apply Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy
  3. Comply with with Each day Moisturizing Face Cream
  4. Wait no less than 15 or half-hour
  5. Apply tretinoin
  6. Flip off lights and fall asleep

Green Tea Antioxidant cream is beneficial to use with tretinoin.
Complexion Primarily based Layering Choices

Personalized routines perceive the variations primarily based on particular person wants and tolerance.

There are 4 bedtime layering choices for the Right and Hydrate steps in a skincare routine relying in your distinctive complexion, merchandise used, and pores and skin’s tolerance as a result of glycolic acid and retinoids could cause irritation.

Select the choice that most closely fits your pores and skin’s tolerance:

  1. When utilizing Tretinoin: Apply Inexperienced Tea Cream, observe with Each day Face Cream, wait 15+ minutes or extra, then apply tretinoin
  2. When utilizing Retinol: Apply Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Evening Cream immediately after cleaning, adopted by Each day Moisturizing Face Cream
  3. In case you can tolerate Retinol + Glycolic Acid concurrently: Apply Retinol Evening Cream, adopted by Glycolic Acid Face Cream
  4. Complexions that may tolerate Tretinoin + Glycolic Acid: Apply Inexperienced Tea Cream, adopted by Glycolic Acid Cream, wait 15+ minutes, then apply tretinoin (requires your physician’s approval)

In constructing a routine I additionally use widespread sense and the precept of making use of water-based (skinny) merchandise first adopted by oil/occlusive (thicker and extra viscous) merchandise on prime. It will assist product substances diffuse into the pores and skin.

Alternating Tretinoin with Retinol

A non-prescription product just like tretinoin with confirmed advantages

Tretinoin is a retinoid. Retinol is in the identical household, additionally has good scientific proof for a similar pores and skin advantages, and is the most effective retinoid that’s accessible with out prescription.

best anti-aging skin care for rosacea

  • Retinol is transformed to retinoic acid in your pores and skin (which is what tretinoin is). 
  • Retinol is much less irritating than tretinoin.
  • The Retinol Cream accommodates the identical excessive focus inexperienced tea antioxidants and so it’s a two-fer. Because of this when utilizing the Retinol Cream, there isn’t a want to use Inexperienced Tea.
  • Conversely, some individuals with actually tolerant complexions could mix Retinol (and even tretinoin) and Glycolic Acid Cream collectively.

Your skincare routine is essential for preventing pores and skin getting old. Tretinoin and retinol are powerhouse substances with confirmed outcomes. Coaching your pores and skin to tolerate one or each of those retinoids is well worth the effort!

Your Equipment for Alternating Tretinoin and Retinol

I created my Ageless Rejuvenation Pores and skin Care Equipment to assist in giving individuals confidence with layering tretinoin into an much more highly effective state-of-the-art anti-aging skincare routine. It contains my Retinol Evening Cream to alternate with tretinoin or to make use of rather than tretinoin. It additionally contains my Glycolic Acid Cream and Matte Tinted Sunscreen, SPF 50

Complete Facial Skin Care Kit: Ideal for layering with tretinoin.

Discover Additional

Be taught extra about how retinol works, its advantages, and find out how to use it in my detailed article:

What’s Retinol and How Does it Work for Your Pores and skin?

For extra info on how I coach my sufferers on the usage of tretinoin cream you might need to learn my submit:

Methods to Appropriately Use Retin A (tretinoin) for Pimples and Anti-Getting older Pores and skin Care


A Pores and skin Professional’s Insights on Methods to Use Tretinoin

I personally have been utilizing tretinoin since I used to be 27 years outdated (I used to be about to show 53 after I first wrote this submit and am updating it at 65!). My pores and skin clearly regarded higher at 53 than it did at 26, earlier than beginning tretinoin.  Actually, my workplace employees discovered my Dermatology Residency utility photograph in a file drawer and so they had been shocked on the distinction!

I alternate tretinoin and my Retinol Cream relying on my nightly schedule of washing earlier than turning out the lights. Mainly, there’s a retinoid product on my face virtually each night time. Outcomes are the identical with each retinol and tretinoin for me! Yep, retinoids are nonetheless serving to me battle the indicators of 65+ years of age on my truthful complexion, and my early solar tanning years.

Some medical doctors say there isn’t a want to attend fifteen minutes earlier than making use of tretinoin. I discover that delicate complexions want the fifteen-minute wait. Additionally, tretinoin and retinol are inactivated by mild, so I inform individuals to place them on at bedtime as shut as potential earlier than turning out the lights. After all, tretinoin is a prescription drugs and utilization should be guided by one’s prescribing doctor.  – Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey



Construct Your Tretinoin Data Past the Fundamentals

What’s Tretinoin Cream Used For and What Does It Do

Tretinoin is a prescription medicine. It’s the generic title for Retin A or Renova, and is among the greatest skincare merchandise you need to use to battle many widespread facial pores and skin issues.

Tretinoin, like retinol, is a retinoid. Retinoids are highly effective. Retinoids are vitamin A substances with confirmed age-fighting advantages when utilized to your pores and skin:

  • Halts the fast breakdown of pores and skin collagen that results in wrinkles, crepey pores and skin, and pores and skin thinning over time.
  • Stimulates pores and skin cells (referred to as fibroblasts) to truly make new pores and skin collagen to reverse wrinkles, crepey pores and skin and pores and skin thinning.
  • Brightens complexion look by renewing pores and skin cells and exfoliating lifeless pores and skin cells.
  • Reduces uneven pores and skin pigment comparable to hyperpigmentation, brown age spots and melasma.
  • Builds pores and skin hyaluronic acid to create a dewier and younger pores and skin look.
  • Reverses solar injury.
  • Treats pimples, blackheads, and clogged pores.

The Confusion Round Making use of Tretinoin

I am usually requested by readers, “how do you apply skincare merchandise with tretinoin?”, “do you place tretinoin on earlier than or after a moisturizer?” I acquired this glorious query from a reader:

Expensive Dr. Bailey, Thanks a lot on your very informative weblog. I’ve realized so much from studying your articles, however I’m nonetheless a bit of confused as regards to when to use all of the merchandise. Do I perceive accurately that if I placed on the Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Cream proper after washing my face then I can layer both with vitamin C, glycolic acid or tretinoin cream? After which moisturizer on prime of this? Do I want to attend earlier than layering one skincare product or can one go on prime of one other proper after making use of? Say if I take advantage of the Inexperienced Tea Cream, then prescription tretinoin after which moisturizer, will this not dilute the impact of the tretinoin? Alis

Right here is one other reader’s query I acquired about find out how to layer merchandise in a skincare routine with tretinoin:

Hello Dr. Bailey, I needed to ask if the Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy can be utilized earlier than tretinoin and what the profit is? I am additionally questioning if a moisturizer may be utilized both earlier than or after utilizing tretinoin? Thanks! Robin

The reply is definitely a part of the ‘positive factors’ of a highly effective anti-aging skincare routine. The rationale individuals are usually confused is that, actually talking, no research have actually been carried out concerning particular person product functions. Plus, opinions even amongst dermatologists will range. That is why you get conflicting suggestions.

I created this information to reply questions like those right here, for everybody. Discover the solutions you’re on the lookout for:


Can You Use Retinol and Tretinoin Collectively

Sure, retinol and tretinoin provide the identical advantages and may be alternated for comfort. Retinol is unquestionably extra handy and simpler to make use of and is much less irritating to delicate pores and skin than tretinoin. You additionally don’t want to attend 15 or extra minutes after washing earlier than making use of retinol to assist stop irritation. I personally alternate these 2 retinoids; I apply tretinoin as usually as potential and use retinol when my pores and skin is feeling delicate or I don’t need to wait earlier than finishing my bedtime routine. I prefer to say, “you all the time need to sleep with a retinoid!”. Choose which one primarily based in your pores and skin’s sensitivity and whether or not you may wait quarter-hour earlier than falling asleep.

See my suggestions above within the Complexion Primarily based Layering Choices and Alternating Tretinoin with Retinol part of this information.

Your Equipment for Alternating Tretinoin and Retinol: The Ageless Rejuvenation Pores and skin Care Equipment gives a gentler various for nights when tretinoin could be too sturdy, or to fully exchange it. The equipment contains the Retinol Evening Cream, boasting related advantages to tretinoin however with much less irritation. Moreover, the equipment contains Glycolic Acid Cream to focus on wrinkles and sunspots, making it a strong anti-aging resolution.

Ageless Rejuvenation Skin Care Kit: Perfect for alternating tretinoin with a gentler option, retinol.

Discover additional: What’s Retinol and What are Its Advantages for Your Pores and skin

Can Tretinoin and Vitamin C Be Used Collectively

Sure, one of the best ways to mix vitamin C and tretinoin in your skincare routine is to make use of tretinoin at night time and vitamin C throughout the day. As talked about above, retinoids, comparable to tretinoin and retinol, are inactivated by publicity to mild. They’re greatest used as nightime merchandise. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that you really want current in your pores and skin throughout the day to assist scale back the chance of free radical pores and skin injury. Apply a vitamin C serum beneath sunscreen throughout the day, or use a sunscreen that features vitamin C comparable to my Sheer Power Pure Bodily Matte Tinted SPF 50 Sunscreen, and get the most effective of those age-fighting merchandise.

Nonetheless, it’s troublesome to formulate vitamin C serums which might be steady and efficient.

In my remark in treating 1000’s of sufferers, inexperienced tea polyphenols are a a lot better various to vitamin C for antioxidant skincare. Inexperienced tea polyphenols are additionally much less irritating to the pores and skin than vitamin C.  I like to recommend my Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy for top focus antioxidant skincare to assist scale back free radical pores and skin injury. I choose retinoids and glycolic acid to brighten the complexion and battle the indicators of pores and skin getting old comparable to wrinkles, crepey pores and skin, age spots, and pigment pores and skin issues.

Be taught extra in my article the place I am going into particulars about vitamin C:
Utilizing Vitamin C: Methods to Select the Finest Anti-aging Pores and skin Care Merchandise

Inexperienced Tea’s Antioxidant Protect

how to layer green tea cream with tretinoin

I like to recommend a nightly utility of Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy earlier than tretinoin to get all of the antioxidant and anti inflammatory results to assist your pores and skin tolerate tretinoin and fend off pores and skin getting old. It additionally helps soothe irritation and bolster your pores and skin’s defenses in opposition to getting old by loading the pores and skin’s antioxidant reserve with the most effective antioxidant for skincare (EGCG-3 polyphenols).

My Retinol Evening Cream accommodates the identical patented excessive focus of ECGC inexperienced tea polyphenol antioxidant. It thus combines retinoid pores and skin advantages with inexperienced tea advantages, and doesn’t require a prescription. It’s a lot much less irritating than tretinoin and may be utilized rather than the Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy. Moisturizer may be layered instantly, and you’ll then flip off the lights and go to mattress!

Inexperienced Tea Antioxidant Pores and skin Remedy is solely the most effective antioxidant inexperienced tea skincare product made in my view. It accommodates a patented type of extremely concentrated inexperienced tea polyphenol (ECGC sort) antioxidants. – Dr. Bailey

Discover additional: Advantages of Inexperienced Tea for Pores and skin

All Tretinoin Advantages Have Wonderful Scientific Proof

  • The mechanism of how tretinoin stimulates collagen formation to reverse wrinkles is absolutely labored out.
  • The completely different ways in which it helps to scale back undesirable pigment issues comparable to melasma and solar spots have been recognized.
  • The way in which that it really works to change pores and skin construction to brighten the complexion and provides it a dewy and youthful look can also be nicely understood.

Backside Line with Utilizing Tretinoin

Making use of tretinoin successfully requires information, endurance, and the suitable method. Tretinoin gives highly effective anti-aging advantages, however navigating its use may be advanced. This information equips you with the information and framework to attain optimum outcomes. Here is the underside line:

  • It’s a must to use the suitable merchandise which might be suitable with tretinoin and that help pores and skin tolerance of tretinoin. Tretinoin is a difficult product however the outcomes are so well worth the hassle.
  • Correctly and persistently making use of and layering tretinoin is vital. By following the tretinoin skincare routine, you may obtain outstanding outcomes – even a long time later! Keep in mind, exact skincare can actually remodel your pores and skin.
  • Customise our routine primarily based in your particular person complexion and tolerance.
  • Think about alternating tretinoin with retinol for related advantages however with much less irritation.
  • Seek the advice of Your Dermatologist: Their customized steerage ensures a routine tailor-made to your distinctive wants.

Exact and highly effective skincare directed at precisely your pores and skin issues can remodel your pores and skin.

For optimum outcomes with tretinoin, I designed two skincare kits full of important merchandise:

  • Full Facial Pores and skin Care Equipment: This equipment gives the important companions for tretinoin layering. Importantly, it incorporates Inexperienced Tea Cream, which I’ve discovered important to scale back the chance of tretinoin pores and skin irritation. I’ve chosen a non-drying pH balanced cleanser, deeply hydrating moisturizer and non-irritating sunscreen, all of which assist to allow tretinoin success.
  • Ageless Rejuvenation Pores and skin Care Equipment: Need to alternate tretinoin with a gentler choice? This equipment contains every thing the Full Facial Equipment does, plus my Retinol Evening Cream providing much less irritation so you may alternate or exchange tretinoin. And, it contains Glycolic Acid Cream to focus on wrinkles and sunspots, making it a strong anti-aging resolution.

Complete Facial Skin Care Kit: Ideal for layering with tretinoin.  Ageless Rejuvenation Skin Care Kit: Perfect for alternating tretinoin with a gentler option, retinol.




Disclaimer: Please notice that availing your self of the chance to submit and obtain solutions to your questions from Dr. Bailey doesn’t confer a health care provider/affected person relationship with Dr. Bailey. The knowledge supplied by Dr. Bailey is normal well being info impressed by your query. It shouldn’t be an alternative to acquiring medical recommendation out of your doctor and isn’t meant to diagnose or deal with any particular medical downside (and isn’t an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has supplied in her workplace for present sufferers of her follow). By no means ignore your individual physician’s recommendation due to one thing you learn right here; this info is for normal informational function solely.

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