Retin A- One Dab for the Whole Face?

Question and Answer about Retin ARetin A questions are the top category in my mail box.  This medication is  strong, effective, but   success lies  with  so  many details that are not discussed when its first  prescribed.  This is not the first  time I  received this one-dab- fits- all  question, so it definately needs an answer.

Question:  I am 35, African American  and I am using Retin A for both acne and area of  discoloration.  The directions  say to use  a  single pea size dab for the whole face.  Wouldn’t it be  smarter to  put it just on the areas that need help?

Answer:  That little nightly  dab of Retin A hardly seems  enough for a whole face, but its all the skin needs… and can handle. Retin A is powerful and even that small amount can cause dryness and irritation, especially if  used in  just a few spots.

Spread out over the entire face also helps control acne and hyperpigmentation in all facial areas.  Keep in mind that what you see on the surface is just an indications of problems that lie below.  Did you ever notice that problems  keep occuring  in the same area?  Treat one spot  and a short time later there is another problem right next door.  This is because the inflammatory processes are going on below the visible skin and treating  just isolated surface areas  will not stop new problems.

Retin A and Women of Color- Special Concerns

Retin A formulations can  be very effective  for darker skin tones, but need to be used with extra care.  They can be helpful for both acne and hyperpigmentation, but they can be irritating– and irritation  can trigger new  dark spots and splotches.   To avoid  new problems start using Retin A twice a week for two weeks.  If the skin does not  feel  dry and  raw, gradually work  up to using Retin A 4-5x  a week.  Stop using it immediately if the skin begins  to feel uncomfortable.   Use mild  cleansers and  most dermatologists   recommend against using rough wash cloths, scrubbing grains and exfoliating brushes  at least the first  six months you are using  Retin A.  And every morning  don’t forget to apply  at least a 30SPF oil-free sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

2 thoughts on “Retin A- One Dab for the Whole Face?

  1. Good advice, and that answered a lot of my other questions. I have changed cleansers as I couldn’t find the one I want, and I always always always end up using the Toleraine cleansing milk from La Roche Posay. The minute I change my skin dries so badly. I recommend everyone tries it if using Retin A. Re washcloths, thanks for the tip, by saying not to use it the first six months…I guess that also goes for clarisonic etc.. I never tried clarisonic but thought of buying one as they are cheap nowadays. I guess by me using Retin A and having dry skin it doesn’t make sense.
    And ok, I have an appointment with a dermatologist so hopefully I will get a good prescription one 🙂 I haven’t had any wow effects so far, but I guess maybe the brand hasn’t been the best, and I have always used 0.025 every third day. Keep the tips coming!! thanks Deb.

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