How To Use Tretinoin Cream With Moisturizer

Figuring out how to use your skincare products the right way can be tricky without doing some digging. If you are using tretinoin cream at home, what is the correct way to apply a moisturizer and which of these products go first? Lucky for you, we have done our research into this very topic and have the answers for you. Let's get into this.

According to dermatologists, using a moisturizer alongside a tretinoin cream is vital to keeping your skin from peeling and becoming dry. The ideal way to use these products together would be to apply your tretinoin cream first, wait about 10-15 minutes, and then apply your moisturizer. You want to make sure your tretinoin is absorbed into your skin before using any other products to ensure it accurately does its job. This skin treatment is especially drying, so the more you moisturize your skin, the better your results will be.

As we get this post started, we will go over all things tretinoin and how you should use a moisturizer with this product safely. Ensuring your skin is hydrated while on a tretinoin treatment is essential to getting the best results, so we have also tagged some recommended moisturizing products. With that said, let's dive into this topic!

A woman putting face moisturizer on her face, How To Use Tretinoin Cream With Moisturizer

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What Is Tretinoin?

A woman putting face cream on her face due to acne problems

Tretinoin is a prescription-strength cream or topical gel that is used to fight aging, acne, and sun damage on your skin. This medical-grade product works to speed up your skin cells' life cycle so that new and healthy cells can regrow to give your complexion a fresher and younger look. Tretinoin is used by people of all ages and is a standard treatment for hormonal acne in teens and adults. You may have also heard of this product referred to as "Retin-A" or "Tretin-X."

Are There Side Effects?

When it comes to the side effects of tretinoin cream or ointment, skin irritation seems to be unanimous among those who use the product. The side effects you may experience during treatment include:

  • Skin blistering and rash
  • Swelling and redness
  • Temporary change in skin pigment
  • Chapped or dry lips
  • Sensitivity to heat and light

What Products Should You Not Use With Tretinoin?

A woman putting moisturizer on her face on a white background

Considering the side effects of using a tretinoin product, we recommend staying away from skincare containing chemical irritants like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, or peeling agents. Using more than one drying product on your skin can cause severe irritation and set you back months in your healing process. It is also recommended you avoid harsh soaps, hair products, lasering treatments, or any skin rejuvenation during your time using tretinoin.

Is Tretinoin Safe?

Although the side effects may seem intimidating, tretinoin is considered very safe for the skin. Dermatologists have used tretinoin for decades to improve skin quality in patients and consider it safer than other invasive procedures. Keeping your skin out of the sun as much as possible is good no matter what age you are and will save you time and money in the long run. It is best to talk to your doctor about what treatment is best for you before deciding on anything.

How Many Times A Day Should You Use Tretinoin?

It is recommended to apply tretinoin to your skin once per day for the best results. Tretinoin creams are highly potent, so a minimal amount of product should be used on the skin. We suggest using your tretinoin treatment at night to avoid irritation caused by the sun and daily activities. Your skin may feel sensitive to heat and light while using this product, so we recommend investing in a good moisturizer with sunscreen.

EltaMD UV Daily Facial Sunscreen

Here is a daily moisturizing sunscreen from EltaMD that is perfect for sensitive skin. This product has SPF 40 and contains 9% zinc oxide.

Click this link to see this sunscreen on Amazon.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Zinc Sunscreen with Vitamin E

Here is another hydrating product to use with tretinoin from Juice Beauty that contains zinc and vitamin e. This moisturizer has SPF 30 and is both vegan and cruelty-free.

Follow this link to Amazon to view this product.

Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Here we have an oil-absorbing moisturizer from Differen that works well with tretinoin-treated skin. This product includes SPF 30 and is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

View this moisturizer on Amazon here.

Can You Leave Tretinoin Cream On Overnight?

When it comes to leaving tretinoin cream on overnight, we say, please do! Tretinoin should only be used once per day to avoid over-drying skin and works better overnight compared to daytime use. We recommend putting on your tretinoin cream after washing your face before bed to ensure it has enough time to work on your skin.

How Should I Apply My Tretinoin Cream?

Applying your tretinoin treatment to your skin should be done after your face has been cleaned and pat dry. Once your face is washed and dried, squeeze about a half-inch of product onto your fingertips and gently massage it into your skin. Remember not to overuse your product because it is powerful and works best when used sparingly.

What Moisturizers Are Best For Tretinoin Treated Skin?

Using a hydrating and gentle moisturizer after applying tretinoin is key to keeping your skin healthy. We suggest looking for a repairing moisturizer that includes ceramides or niacinamides to help soothe treated skin. Try to avoid any acids or exfoliating ingredients in your moisturizer because they can cause further discomfort and irritation.

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Moisturizing Cream

Here we have a barrier restoring moisturizer from SkinCeuticals that is made for tretinoin-treated skin. This moisturizing cream is made with concentrated lipids, ceramides, and natural cholesterols to soothe and heal irritated or damaged skin.

View this highly rated restoring moisture on Amazon here.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Here is an oil-free repairing moisturizer from La Roche-Posay that promises to protect and heal irritated skin. This product is made with ceramides and niacinamides and provides 48 hours of hydration.

Check this product out on Amazon here.

Eau Thermale Avene Skin Recovery Cream

Here is another healing moisturizer to help soothe your skin from Eau Thermale Avene. This product is made for sensitive skin and is paraben, oil, fragrance, and gluten-free.

See this skin recovery cream on Amazon by clicking here.

What Happens When You Stop Using Tretinoin?

A woman putting face cream on her face

Suppose you decide to stop using your tretinoin, whether for acne or aging, you may lose your results. If you are using tretinoin for acne, it is normal for your skin to break out or "purge" the first 7-10 days, so do not let that discourage you. You should begin to see your skin clear after about a month of using tretinoin on your face, so try and stick it out. If you are using tretinoin for skin damage or aging, it will be around 3-4 months before your results begin to show, so this is a long process. No matter how frustrating this may make you feel, try to avoid being inconsistent or ending your treatment.

Do I Need A Prescription?

Face care products inside a cardboard box on a blue background

To begin using tretinoin at home, you are going to need a prescription from your doctor. Tretinoin is not sold over the counter in the United States due to its strength and side effects, so scheduling an office visit is a good idea. If you can not make it to a doctor's office, you can buy retinol or adapalene alternatives without a prescription in-store or online.

CeraVe Retinol Brightening Serum

Here is brightening retinol from CeraVe that will work similarly to tretinoin on your skin. This product promises to help diminish acne marks and signs of aging/sun exposure.

Click this link to see this on Amazon.

Differen Adapalene Acne Spot Treatment

Here we have another over-the-counter option from Differen that will help with acne. This spot treatment has 15 grams of adapalene and promises to last you 30 days.

Check out this spot treatment on Amazon here.

Is Tretinoin Worth It?

Depending on your needs, we would say tretinoin is beneficial to skin health and appearance. This particular treatment is perfect for those suffering from acne or damaged skin and is covered by most insurance providers. You may have to adjust your routine while using this product and should develop good skin habits. Good things do tend to take time, so this is not an overnight process.

The Wrap Up

Whether you are currently on tretinoin for acne or overall skin appearance, you must moisturize. Hydrating your skin after applying this treatment will help to reduce irritation and give you even better results. There are some side effects of using tretinoin, but the good seems to outweigh the bad. We recommend getting with your doctor and discussing treatment options that are best for you before making any decisions. No matter what your skin may look like today, you are beautiful just the way you are and should embrace every imperfection you may have.

Are you still wanting more? Check out these fantastic related skincare reads!

Can Sunscreen Replace Moisturizer? [And Vice Versa]

How Long Does It Take For Moisturizer To Absorb?

Do You Use Sunscreen Before Or After Moisturizer?

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