I went to the beach in South Carolina the week of July 16th. It was hot, humid, and the sun was hot! The sun and Tretinoin do not mix at all and based on my research I stopped using it 1 week before I left and the week I was there. This was to reduce my skin’s sensitivity to sunburn and photoaging. Tretinoin exfoliates old, dead skin to reveal fresh, new skin that burns and ages more quickly with even minimal sun exposure. I do not need any more dark spots on my face.
I followed my normal skin routine while there except for adding in a BHA exfoliating lotion and using an AHA mask that week. BHA and AHA are hydroxy acids which help break the bonds that hold skin cells together to reveal fresh skin. Some people are able to use them once their skin is totally adjusted to tretinoin. Others cannot because it is just too much exfoliation. You must be careful because the skin can only handle so much exfoliation before it becomes either red and irritated or thin and shiny.
I returned home from the beach on Saturday and started back on Tretinoin on Sunday. I am starting back slowly because I do not want to deal with all that flakiness again. It just made my makeup look terrible. So, the plan is to apply it every 3rd day until I have no flakiness. I have also begun putting it on my throat and upper chest.
I have continued to use my Beta and Alpha hydroxy acids on nights that I do not use tretinoin. On nights that I apply it I use a hyaluronic acid, an eye cream, and alternate between 2 night creams. I use a Clarisonic 3 nights per week. The Monday after my first application I had mild flaking on my cheeks, chin, and around my nose. It was fairly easy to get off without ruining my makeup. There was some minimal flaking the next day as well.
I continued with my every 3rd day routine with minimal flaking. After one application I did not have any flaking until the second day. The only time I had no flaking was when an application of tretinoin was on mask day. I used a sheet mask that night and then followed with my usual nighttime routine. My skin was soft and smooth after that.
When I say that my face was flaking I mean that I could see pieces of skin on the surface and they roll up when you rub them. There is also the flaking that occurs when you blend your makeup and it just rolls up on your face.It is hard to get it off and it makes my makeup look uneven. That has been my biggest issue so far and why I am being so careful this time.
Even after 3 weeks, I was still having flaking. It was relatively mild and manageable I just don’t want to have to deal with it.Often in the morning after an application ,my skin just balled up when I applied my foundation. It can be easily brushed off it is just a pain. At the end of the first month after starting back I was still having flaking. It wasn’t awful but it was there almost every morning.
I am going to continue every 3rd day until I see no more flaking at all. Then I will go to every other night. I don’t need to rush. I want my skin to adjust so that I can get to daily use. Once that time comes I will try to step up the strength and go from .05% to .1%. With it being almost fall now I may not be able to get to daily until spring. My face gets dryer in the winter anyway so tretinoin will probably make it even dryer this year.
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This is updated with photos to show the flaking.