Retin-A: More questions and where to start?

September 5, 2008 at 7:29 am 7 comments

The other day, Rachelle the fabulous author of Fashionably Foodie and contributor to the Posh Mama site asked a question about starting on Retin-A at the post, “All About Retinoids:  Considering Retin-A.”

so i turned the big 3-0 this summer and i am ready to do something. (guess i need to adopt marilyn’s “Start aging, and shut up!”
mantra still.)  i live in mexico and can buy retin a and renova over the counter. soooo- how do i use them?  like moisturizer, after cleansing?  instead of moisturizer or over it?  how much do i use?  and do you know if i use it while i’m nursing? (guess i could google it.) TIA!

hope your beans are delish~

First and foremost, the beans I made using the recipe that Rachelle posted on the Posh Mama site were delish, and my family totally stuffed themselves last night.  I served them with rice and homemade salsa, very yum!

Lucky you to get Retin-A OTC!  And I am not a Doctor, so I can give you some advice, but would strongly recommend you work with a licensed Dermatologist.  I have heard that the lowest concentration is where you should start (.025%) or possibly .05%, and you should research the topic of using retinoids while nursing.  I surmise that some will say okay, and some will say nay.  I tend to side with how young is your baby and how often do you nurse?  Retin-A is simply a concentrated form of Vitamin A and a minimal amount is absorbed into your bloodstream.

In the PM, after cleansing and allowing your skin to dry, dab a pea-sized amount around face (a little bit goes a long way and this is strong stuff)!  You can then proceed with your moisturizer.  You should only use this every other night until your skin adjusts to the retin-A (which will take a few weeks), then gradually build up to using it every night.  If you notice peeling or irritation, stop using Retin-A for a few days.

If you are using any creams or lotions containing peptides, specifically copper peptides, you will not want to use a retinoid, AHA, or vitamin C cream within 2 hours of use, or rotate using one every other day.  I am not a chemist either, but I have read that the copper peptides are not effective if combined with these acidic ingredients. 

And most importantly you will need to take particular precautions to protect your skin during the day while using Retin-A.  Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and avoiding going outside during the peak sun hours.

For treating acne, Retin A will take 6+ weeks of use to notice the benefits.  For treating wrinkles, Retin A will take 6+ months to see improvements, and will produce optimal results after a year of continual use.

Best wishes for some great skin and enjoy those 30’s, you are really in your prime!  Jen 🙂


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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marilyn  |  September 5, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Lucky, lucky Rachelle! OTC Retin-A! You will love what it will do for you – I can remember that far back! Jen, great advice – especially the part about protecting you skin from the sun. I used to be an avid skier and runner when I was using it and, believe me, Retin-A treated skin can start to fry faster than bacon on a hot griddle. Not a very pretty comparison, but it’s important to protect that pretty, new face! High SPF and hats, girls!!

  • 2. Jami  |  September 5, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Yes, don’t forget to cover up! And hey, the pale look is SO in this season anyhow… I’m kind of wishing I could ditch my naturally Mediterranean (slightly olive, it’s diluted by European blood) skin for a pale look. But then again, it may just be my Twilight obsession still.

    Back to the topic, like Jen said, use it sparingly and slowly at first, let you skin adjust. And check with a doc or pharmacist about the nursing.

  • 3. Jen Hill  |  September 5, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Geesh, I would glady trade my fair, freckly skin for some slightly olive-toned Mediterranean skin!

    Oh yes, the Twilight fantasy. That “Edward in the meadow” scene. I totally understand!

  • 4. Sof  |  September 6, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I’ve been using Retin-A for a few months and love it. Also, more than just worrying about copper products, you need to forgo using any AHA’s or benzoyl peroxide AT LEAST an hour before/after the Retin-A or it will diminish it’s effects. I am curious about using a moisturizer after the Retin-A. As of now, I have been worried about applying anything over the Retin-A, but is it ok to just let it set and apply a good night cream (as long as no copper or aha’s are involved)? Great info- thanks

  • 5. Jen Hill  |  September 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Great to hear from you Sof.

    As long as you apply the Retin-A before your moisturizer (w/o copper, bp, aha’s) it should be fine. If you apply your moisturizer first, you will create a barrier and your Retin-A will not be effectively absorbed into the skin.

    Let us know how things continue to go and come back again!

  • 6. Sofi  |  September 8, 2008 at 5:36 am

    just what I wanted to hear, Jen! Thanks for the advice. I am so excited I found your site 🙂

  • 7. rachelle  |  September 18, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    jen, this is wonderful!
    sorry that i’m late for my own retin-A article party! i love love the info. it is sooo helpful. i can’t wait to start. i will keep you updated on my results~
    thanks again,you are fabulous!
    ~off to the farmacia for my first tube of retin a~


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