Topical retinoid creams (such as Retin-A, tretinoin, Tazorac, and Differin) are commonly prescribed by dermatologists. They work by regulating skin cell turnover, making them excellent medications for treating acne, preventing wrinkles, and even clearing psoriasis. The problem is that many people, particularly when using retinoids to treat acne or prevent wrinkles, find retinoids too irritating to use. Luckily, when used properly, nearly everyone can use a retinoid cream. The trick is to follow the directions below on how to use retinoids, in order to get the full benefit from this excellent medication, without dryness and irritation on the skin.
- Apply only a pea-size amount to cover the entire surface of your face. One pea size dollap is sufficient to cover the face, even if it seems like too little. In the case of acne, it is important to treat the entire face, not just acne bumps, as retinoids help to both clear and prevent new acne from forming.
- Immediately after applying retinoids, apply a thin layer of a moisturizer. This will help to prevent excess dryness, without interfering with the action of the retinoid cream.
- Begin by using the new retinoid cream two to three nights a week. If you do not experience dryness, you can increase the frequency of use by one night every week. Eventually, most people can tolerate using their retinoid at least five nights a week, though it may take time to reach this point.