To be totally accurate, I have been using Tretinoin (Retin A) for around 7 months with a 2-week break to go to the beach this summer. I was using 0.05% daily at the time I took a break. It had gone well in the beginning so I didn’t give my skin time enough to adjust and used too often, too soon. My face was flaking almost daily when I applied makeup. After vacation, I decided to start back at a much slower pace and posted about it in Restarting Tretinoin after Vacation: First Month, Restarting Tretinoin – 2nd month, and Restarting Tretinoin – 3rd Month. If you want a quick overview of tretinoin – Tretinoin / Retin-A Cheat Sheet has general information.
By the beginning of the 4th month, things were going well and I was still applying tretinoin every other night. I only had the mildest of flaking 2-3 times in the entire month. The changes I made during the 3rd month by going to a milder cleanser and hydrating toner in the morning and a sleeping mask at night had been effective. I reviewed Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner and named the cleanser a 5 Faves October 2016.
I had planned to go to applying tretinoin every night, 6 nights a week. I want to use an Alpha Hydroxy product once a week and they can’t be used on the same day. The reason that I have not moved beyond every other night is that I got a sample of Paula’s Choice BHA Lotion. I used it every other night and it should not be used with tretinoin because it contains a Beta Hydroxy acid and they should not be used together. I got a sample in a Boxycharm back in the summer and I want to finish it. I don’t know why because I don’t see that it does much for my skin.
I did not make any significant adjustments in the 4th month. What I was doing seemed to be working well. Near the end of the month, when it was also getting much dryer and colder, I noticed my face looking and feeling dehydrated after I removed my makeup and washed my face at night. Under my eyes looked a hot mess. It looked like a dried up mud puddle with cracks and lines. My eyes really aren’t that bad!
I used sheet masks more to add that extra hydration. I also started using Argan Essence Facial Oil Rosehip, Argan, Jojoba Oil. It was part of my Vacation Beauty Buys. I knew that I would likely need an oil in my first winter using tretinoin. Last winter was the first time that I had ever experienced anything other than oily or combo skin in my life. So, I expect to need to step up moisturizing this winter.
I do think that regular use of tretinoin has been good for my face and neck. When I began using it again after the beach I started applying it to my neck and chest as well. My chest has sun damage that I would like to minimize. My skin feels much softer in those areas. My face has a glow and feels firmer to the touch. I am pleased with how it is going so far and will move to applying every night, 6 nights a week next month.
Do you use tretinoin / Retin A? Have you had a good experience? How often do you use? Please share any winter skincare favorites below. I love to try new products.
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