Tretinoin for melasma

The Right Way To Use Retinol For Skin Treatment

Retin-A, known as Retino-A and most commonly prescribed Tretinoin cream by dermatologists for Acne Vulgaris and other skin treatment. It is prescription only treatment. Tretinoin is a powerful acne treatment that treats the acne laying under the skin for forever. It decreases the number and severity of acne over time without leaving a scar.

Retino-A is available in 2 concentration 0.025% and 0.05% tretinoin cream.

Retino-AC gel is another variant of tretinoin combined with an antibiotic Clindamycin 1% and Tretinoin 0.025%. It is more powerful than Retinol-A cream as it disappears the acne faster than Retino-A but can burn your skin if not used properly.

Using a tretinoin treatment properly is crucial and you will know why after you understand how to use it.

How to use Retino-A?

  1. Use a gentle cleanser to cleanse your face like Cetaphil cleansing lotion. Don’t use salicylic face washes during this treatment.
  2. Wait for 15-20 minutes till your face is completely devoid of any moisture. Applying on the damp face can cause irritation and burn for beginners.
  3. You can apply your eye cream in the meanwhile and moisturiser near your mouth and nostrils. You can use Emolene cream as a moisturiser.
  4. Now take half of a pea size amount to cover your full face.
  5. Don’t apply it near your eye area and around the mouth and nostrils.
  6. Wait for 30 minutes before applying a moisturiser because it could be drying. Apply a moisturiser in patting motion than in rubbing motion.
  7. Use this treatment only at the night time. Use it every alternative day if you are new to tretinoin.
  8. Never forget your Sunscreen in day time at least SPF 30.
  9. Peeling of skin doesn’t imply that tretinoin is working. Peeling is just the side effect of this treatment.It has the same effect without any peeling action.
  10. You might not experience much peeling in hot humid weather but in cold dry winters.
Effect of Retino-A over time

Take your pictures every week to see how it is working for you. Just for your satisfaction.

The first Day, skin feels normal if applied as mentioned above. A little tingling for a moment for sensitive skin.

The second Day, skin feels a bit stretchy and can be overcome using moisturiser.

The fourth Day, skin starts flaking at places. Don’t use any scrub to get rid of dead skin on your face. Instead, after cleansing, use your wet fingers in the circular motion to remove dead skin from your face. Be gentle while doing it.

By the End of Week, you can see a tiny bit of improvement in your existing acne. Skin is dry and flaky in certain areas than others. Pat moisturiser on dry patches. By now you know if the amount you are using is correct.

  • If you are using more than required than your skin will feel drier and flaky with a burning sensation when you apply anything on your face.
  • Stop using the cream immediately and apply moisturiser for a few days till the skin is back to normal.
  • Start over once healed but with a less amount.

By Second Weekend, you may develop more acne but don’t worry they are the same acne that is lying under your skin.

By the Month end, you may see a lot improvement in your scar appearances and existing acne. If the acne doesn’t stop coming then consult your dermatologist again.

By Second Month end, you can see a new you with less fine lines around your mouth and nose. In short, a little younger and fairer as layers of skin have turned over in 2 months. If your acne is not severe then your skin might be clear by now with a few acne here and there or now and then. Now you can start with a very gentle homemade scrub for removing dead skin cells once a week.

The third month, Now as you have started clearing up, Don’t go back to your regular cosmetics and makeup products. Use only noncomedogenic products.

Precautions You Must Take Before Using Retinol
  1. Use it at night only.
  2. Use a moisturiser in the day time to combat any dryness. I suggest Emolene as a moisturiser.
  3. Don’t forget your SPF. Apply 20 minutes before stepping out in the sun.
  4. Don’t use any other skin treatment, cream, lotion, Scrub and toner in general while on Retino-A.
  5. If you found swelling on your face the other morning, it means you are using more than required or more often.
  6. If you got any white patches on your face, then stop using it till hyper-pigmentation subsidies. It is possible that you are using more product in certain areas than the others.
  7. More than required can peel off your healthy skin. So use only required amount.
  8. Don’t use scrubs for first 2 months. Use a mild homemade scrub if needed after that.
  9. Read company leaflet before starting with Retino-A.
  10. Don’t jump to higher concentration just because you want faster results. You may irritate your face further. An irritated face is more prone to breakout.
Tips to Remember:
  1. A consistency of Retino-A gives a better result than the amount you use.
  2. Extra quantity and higher concentration can peel your healthy skin so use the amount being prescribed.
  3. Tretinoin cream makes skin drier in cold weather than hot weather.
  4. It can be used as a spot treatment using a Q-tip.
  5. Don’t experiment with Tretinoin Creams/Gel.
  6. Don’t forget to drink water.

5 thoughts on “The Right Way To Use Retinol For Skin Treatment

  1. i just started retino ac gel because I have acne problam, but little worried about skin is there any side effect in skin? n can u saggest me moisturiser for my skin

    1. Sorry, for the late reply shraddha. You can use Sebamed Visio Gel, Hyalugel Hyaluronic Acid Gel if you are looking for a gel moisturiser. Use Boroline if your skin gets really flaky, just a tiny bit will do the trick.

  2. I don’t have acne any more, rarely sometimes here and there but I have scars so should I apply Retino AC for that? Or should I apply something else?

    1. Hi vidhi, no. Do not use retino-AC for acne marks. It is too strong for that unless you have a severe breakout. Use glycolic acid cream instead and start with lower concentration. It will fade your acne marks sooner than later.

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