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Trying Tretinoin For Acne: Week 2  

Trying Tretinoin: a tretinoin field guide 

Read on

Tretinoin is multifunctional and it works to help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and is a proven acne treatment. I’m trying tretinoin to hopefully clear up my acne and acne marks around my chin and cheek area. 

This article series, Trying Tretinoin, is a field guide, where I try Strut Anti-Aging 0.05% tretinoin formula and write about the experience, week by week. 

If you’re considering trying tretinoin, but you’re a little hesitant, this series is for you.  

Catch up on the series: Trying Tretinoin: Complete Step-by-Step Skin Routine For Starting Tretinoin

Tretinoin so far: week 2 acclimation 

Lets go over all the details of my second week.

Use frequency:

I only used tretinoin twice this week. (I will use it three times next week.) 

Sun: Hydrating skincare

Mon: Tretinoin day!

Tues: Hydrating skincare

Wed: Hydrating skincare

Thur: Tretinoin day!

Fri: Hydrating skincare

Sat: Hydrating skincare

On the other off days, I just focused on mega hydrating and nourishing skincare routines like this one:

My mega hydrating skincare routine:

Step 1: Hydrating cream cleanser 

Step 2: Humectant toner while the face is wet (hyaluronic acid)

Step 3: The Buffet (peptides) by The Ordinary plus Niacinamide by The Ordinary

Step 4: Pat on a small amount of an emollient oil like jojoba oil or rosehip oil 

Step 5: Tinted SPF 50 and I reapply throughout the day.

I also did this hydrating skincare on the tretinoin days but only in the morning. 

Learn all about tretinoin skincare routines: Complete Step-by-Step Skin Routine For Starting Tretinoin

Week 2 irritation level: 1/10 

There is a little peeling this week, but keeping very moisturized helped keep irritation levels low. 

The only places that were a little patchy and dry were areas of active pimples or healing pimples. 

Week 2 acne report:

There is a bit of a two-sided coin here. The areas of previous post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks are already visibly improved; these areas are brighter, smoother, and the redness is reduced. (Win!) 

However, I did get a few new blemishes this week. They cleared up quicker than normal which makes me think they are “purge pimples”. (Which is to be expected.)

These new purge-like blemishes were not inflammatory, just small surface whiteheads that came and went. 

Tretinoin FAQ 

Knowledge is power. This week our Strut Health team are answering some tretinoin FAQ.

Q: I hear SPF is important when using retinoids like tretinoin, what SPF strength is best?

A: Considering sun protection is essential when using tretinoin. This retinoid can increase sun sensitivity -- especially when you first begin using this product

While using tretinoin sun exposure should be limited and SPF should be applied even when indoors. 

Remember the higher the SPF number, the greater level of protection it provides. The higher the better. 

Best practices include:

  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure
  • Avoid sun exposure during peak UV hours 10 am-2 pm
  • Use a sun hat, especially if you’re already experiencing irritation
  • Use a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours

Trying Tretinoin series 

I’m trying tretinoin and reporting my results in a field guide. So many people are nervous to try tretinoin because of the tricky acclimation process and the potential for skin purging. That’s why I’m here, an acne-prone twenty-something, writing all about what to expect when trying tretinoin.

Follow along to learn how to try tretinoin like a pro.:

Trying Tretinoin Week 1: Complete Step-by-Step Skin Routine For Starting Tretinoin

Week 3 Trying Tretinoin Series

Week 4 Trying Tretinoin Series

Week 5 Trying Tretinoin Series

Week 6 Trying Tretinoin Series

Week 7 Trying Tretinoin Series

Week 8 Trying Tretinoin Series

Try tretinoin for yourself

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