For the past week I have been happily combining Retin A and a medium strength exfoliating sponge and have been delighted with the results. However I have to add two notes of caution:
1) For the first four months I used Retin A I played it very safe with Cetaphil, an ultra-mild cleanser and waited up to an hour between cleansing and my nightly dollop of Retin A. It worked beautifully, but in cold windy weather I still got pretty red and raw. I would never use an exfoliating cleanser when starting a Retin A program.
2) I just back from a trip and found that the industrial strength air-conditioning in the hotel dried out my skin. Combined with the Buff Puff and my Retin A, I woke up to a face full of dry, white flakes. The best way to deal with this type of flaking is to apply a very rich cream for 30 minutes and then wash it off. I was in a hotel and the sundry shop was not yet open, so I decided to be a little creative. I dashed into the coffee shop, scooped up a couple of tiny takeout packets of mayonaise and sprinted back to my room. I applied the mayo heavily, left it on for 20 minutes ( I was so late already) and washed it off. Et voila, no more face flakes. True, I probably smelled like a chicken salad sandwich, but no one seemed to notice. My point, and I do have one, is that we need to be flexible when working with retinoids. Weather, indoor heating, and air-conditioning are just a few issues that can affect the way your skin reacts to Retin A. Retin A is the foundation of great anti-aging skin care, but you need to be aware of issues that can pop up.