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How should I use Retin-A?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Because vitamin A drugs are destroyed by light, they must be applied at night. Tretinoin (Retin-A) comes in a cream, gel, or liquid and in a variety of concentrations. I start my patients on a low dose (0.025%) and increase the concentration every month until they reach the highest concentration (0.1%). After several days, patients develop a red, dry skin that intensifies over the first few weeks. Many patients give up during this phase. However, eventually the skin clears up and looks better. The maximum effect is achieved at about six months. The higher the concentration, the greater the effect. I tell my patients to continue tretinoin forever.

The drug should be applied generously after washing with a mild soap. Some think that the pH (measure of acidity) of the skin should then be restored to normal with toner, to permit better penetration of the tretinoin. You shouldn't exercise after applying tretinoin because sweating increases the irritation.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.