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Sunday, May 26, 2024



I just started taking tretinoin cream on a prescription, which is a substitute for Retin-A.

Retin A Cream is arguably the most widely use and scientifically validated prescription retinoid (a vitamin A derivative), and it is effective for treating acne, anti-aging, and a wide range of other skin conditions.

I’ve received a lot of requests for lessons and advice on how to begin using retinoids, stop peeling, and what kind of routine to employ while using them, so I can now discuss it in depth and with much too much first-hand knowledge!


A functional form of vitamin A is Retin A Cream, also referred to as retinoic acid.

To distinguish it from isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid), the main component of the extremely effective acne treatment Accutane, it is sometimes referred to as all-trans-retinoic acid.

Retin A Cream, which is a vitamin A derivative, is among the most researched types of skin actives due to its effectiveness in treating a variety of issues such as acne, pigmentation, and aging.

Retin A Cream functions in a variety of ways. They alter how skin cells originate and expand and hasten the rate at which skin cells shed.

As a result, comedones (clogged pores) that already exist on your skin will be pushed out more quickly if you have acne. The P. acnes bacteria that live in inflamed pimples can’t survive when exposed to too much oxygen; thus, they are less abundant when pores are open and more oxygen is allowed in.

Additionally, Retin A Cream has anti-inflammatory properties, which is fantastic because inflammation is one of the factors that contribute to acne.

It slows down the generation and transfer of melanin, which helps diminish pigmentation and slows down the aging process.

Also, it enhances many forms of collagen in the skin, thickens the epidermis, and compacts the stratum corneum, giving the skin a smooth, plump appearance that is indicative of youth.


The most significant disadvantage of using Retin A Cream is that it stings quite a bit and frequently results in dry, flaky skin that is more prone to redness and stinging.

The first few weeks are the worst while your skin adjusts, although, for some people (around 15% of the population), this doesn’t happen at all, and for others, it can take up to six weeks to go away.

Tretinoin is one of the more upsetting Retin a Cream 0.025, but it also has the most research to support its advantages, so I chose to use it.

Adapalene (Differin), retinol, and retinaldehyde are less irritating than tazarotene, which is more so. Retin A Cream specifically promotes dryness and peeling.

It speed up skin turnover, which can also lead to purging, a condition in which a substance causes your skin to get worse before it gets better by causing your skin to rapidly evacuate all the baby pimples that were previously there.

It’s important to apply tretinoin gradually so your skin can react because purging is worse when your skin is inflame. This is the goal of my routine because the two major strategies to restrict how oily your skin gets are to introduce the product gradually and to take care of your skin.

My Action Plan

A lotion containing 0.05% Retin A Cream was given to me. There are numerous formulations and concentrations of retinol, ranging from 0.01% to 0.1%. (time-released, gel, creams, etc.).

Even though Retin A Cream penetrates better through creams, cream formulas are gentler than alcohol-based gels (I believe this is because wet skin is more porous than dried skin and the cream base acts as a built-in moisturizer). 

My nose shed skin flakes for about a fortnight after using too much 1% retinol, and I have a theory that this caused broken capillaries around my nose. Because of this unpleasant experience, I’ve discovered that there is a two-day delay between using a retinoid product and experiencing irritation and flaking.

This meant I had to be more cautious to avoid irritation rather than regularly checking my skin and altering my routine.

To prepare for the full leave-on retinoid treatment, there are a few methods that are frequently advise:

Building up from a lower concentration: Since I was only prescribe Retin a 0.05 Cream, I chose to first apply oil to my face to thin it out. Given that the Retin A Cream must diffuse through the oil layer before reaching the skin, the oil should likewise have a time-release effect.

a different day’s application Use it every other day at the beginning, which is pretty self-explanatory. I decided to use it every third day while building up, being even more cautious.

Short-term contact therapy involves applying a substance like a mask and rinsing it off after a brief period.

In a few trials, short contact times produced positive benefits. For example, in one study on acne, daily application of 0.05% Retin A Cream for 30 minutes produced results that were equal to those of leave-on Retin A Cream while causing much less irritation (20%) than is typical (above 80%).

Gentle skincare: As your skin adjusts to the retinoid, use mild cleansers and moisturizers and avoid active ingredients like acid exfoliants. Dermatologists may advise a corticosteroid lotion to help your skin heal if the condition is severe.

Avoid using Retin A Cream on moist skin: I always made sure to wait at least 30 minutes after washing the skin before applying the  Retin A Cream because it’s easier for components to penetrate wet skin.

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