Tretinoin is a beauty and skincare powerhouse, and it seems like every skincare guru just gushes about how great this retinoid medication is for your skin.
Tretinoin can be used for acne, fine lines, dark spots, and rough skin, making this retinoid a serious beauty multi-tasker.
So, this might lead some to rush out and get their hands on a tube, just to slather it on every night.
Sounds good right?
Well, it turns out that even though the results and hype about Tretinoin are mostly well-founded, a slow start may be your best bet for great results with minimal side effects.
Read on to learn more about how Tretinoin affects your skin when you start using it, and why a slow build-up may be your best option.
Some people use Tretinoin every night right off the bat, no problem.
But, for a lot of initial Tretinoin users, the first few weeks can be a little rough.
Tretinoin works by increasing your skin cell turnover, meaning that more blooming pimples are being pushed out and showing themselves, layers of old dead skin cells may be piling up looking flakey, and your skin feels raw and irritated from the burst of sloughing cells.
Basically, it may look like you have made a terrible mistake starting treatment.
But, try to hold out, because all of these symptoms are just side effects stemming from the medication doing what it is supposed to be doing -- getting rid of old dead skin cells to make way for clear, smooth, fresh-looking skin.
First, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and allow skin to dry thoroughly at least 20-30 minutes. (Wet skin leads to increased medication penetration and more potential for side effects.)Start by applying a pea-sized amount of your Tretinoin prescription by dotting an equal amount all around your face, avoiding your eyes and lips.
Then, rub in your Tretinoin for a few seconds before giving the cream, gel, or lotion 20 minutes to fully absorb.
Finally, after 20 minutes, finish your application off with a generous amount of gentle moisturizer to keep everything hydrated and calm.
If all of the skin adjustments for the first few weeks a treatment are scaring you a little bit, and you don’t want to plan for a “bad skin” period, you can start slow and ramp up over time to help reduce the side effects.
After your first day of treatment, skip one or two days so that you are only applying the Tretinoin every second or third day.
After 1-2 weeks of this schedule, take a look at how your skin is reacting, if it seems to be tolerating the dose well, you can start using the cream every other or every day.
Basically, slowly increase how often you are using your Tretinoin dose until you are using it every night.
If your skin seems to never be able to tolerate every night, that is ok too.
Just stick to the frequency that keeps your skin from getting too irritated, even if it is every other or every third night.
Starting Tretinoin is an adjustment period for your skin, so be extra gentle with it during this time.
Be sure to apply a gentle moisturizer to your face after your Tretinoin dose has had 20 minutes to absorb, and also apply moisturizer throughout the day as needed to make your skin feel hydrated and calm.
Tretinoin can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, and more prone to burning.
So, even if you are normally a tan beach bunny that can get away with little to no sunscreen, it is time to start using it daily.
Sunscreen can help protect your skin from increased burning while using Tretinoin, which may also help reduce irritation.
Plus, if you are using Tretinoin to help with fine lines and signs of aging, you should already be using a daily sunscreen!
Opt for at least SPF 30 each day, even if you aren’t planning on being out in the sun.
Some people may have a pretty intense reaction to Tretinoin when first trying it out.
If this happens to you, it is ok to stop treatment for a while and let everything calm down before trying it again.
When you go to try out Tretinoin again later; go slower, use lots of moisturizer, or see if your doctor can lower the strength you are using to get fewer side effects.
Here at Strut Health, we love Tretinoin for a wide variety of skincare concerns.
Tretinoin is a prescription-only medication, so if you want to see if this treatment is right for your skincare routine, you can have a free online consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors.
If any of our Tretinoin formulas are a good fit for your skin goals, your treatment can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.