Retin A in the Evening by Deb Chase

Question and Answer logoMaybe I should change the name of  this blog  to Retin A News and Views.  Not really.  Most  of the great questions I get   deal  with different forms  of Retin A (aka tretinoin). This week I received  such a well thought out question I answered her immediately and now I am posting both her question and the answer.

Question:  Do I have to wait until bedtime until I start my Retin A ritual? And if so, why? The last thing I want to do is get up from having fallen asleep on the sofa, and throw water on my face and then wait  30 minues again ( again…why?)

Is the wait to let your skin fully dry?  If so, couldn’t I just dry it with my hair dryer on low? Is it to allow it to calm down?

Am I supposed to wait until bedtime because Retin A is “light sensitive”? Couldn’t I do it after dinner since I will be sitting in a dimly lit room watching TV after that.  Would a 40 watt bulb make that watch difference or is darkness important once Retin A is applied?  I would appreciate the answers to these questions and feel others would be too.

Answer:   When I first tried Retin A  more than 20 years ago, no one told me to wait to apply the gel after washing my face  After three days of red, tight burning skin, I gave up.   I have  this theory ( unproven) that the single  biggest reason of  Retin A  fails is that  the patient is not  properly instructed to wait after washing the skin.   When you wash your face, even with  a mild soap and washcloth, you are taking off some of the skin cells on the surface, dissolving surface oil and altering ph. The skin is vulnerable and if you apply  even a small dab of Retin A,  the result will  be red and irritated skin.  If you have  ever applied a moisturizer over freshly shaved legs,  you know the feeling… and its similar to Retin A on freshly washed skin.

The Best Retin A Game Plan

And when it comes to light, indoor light is very different from penetrating UV rays from the  sun.  Because it  takes off the tops layers of the skin, the skin becomes  more exposed and vulnerable to UV damage.  The light from a  standard light bulb  or a TV will not  cause problems.

And I totally hear you about waiting those extra  30 minutes at bedtime.  It is a pain and here’s an easy and effective solution.  When  we get home at the end of the day most of us change into more comfotable clothes.  At this time,  take off your make-up and throughly wash your face.  You can certainly put it on after dinner if that’s  good time cue  for you.  It actually gives you skin more time to benefit from Retin A   You can actually  put it on at any time in the evening, but setting a specific time  eg before going to bed, will make it more likely that you will remember to do it.

And if  are reading  No-Nonsense Beauty Blog on a mobile  device, the  click-on envelope  will be at the bottom, not on the right hand side.  Just scroll down to the end of the screen and voila!  Please let me know if you are having trouble downloading this basic guide.

7 thoughts on “Retin A in the Evening by Deb Chase

  1. I have never waited any length of time after cleansing before applying Retin A and have never had an issue with redness or irritation. I use a very mild cleanser (Moisture Boost or Resist from Paula’s Choice), pat dry thoroughly, and apply the cream. What I did do was work up very slowly to using .05 strength every day. I started out once a week for a month, then twice a week for a month, then three times a week, etc. It took a while but now I apply it every night without problem. My skin is normally very sensitive but this works beautifully. Perhaps it depends upon the type of cleanser you use.

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