3 Ways To Start Tretinoin without Irritation


Are you thinking of starting a retinoid? Well, to begin with, there are many types of retinoids. The most potent kind is called retinoic acid, and it is the most bioavailable form of retinoid. More simply, it doesn’t have to convert itself to a less potent form like retinaldehyde and retinol. Retinaldehyde and retinol are less potent, non-prescription retinoids, but even so, they can cause the skin to peel and flake. And although this feels uncomfortable, this is actually the layers of your skin thickening and turning skin cells over faster. Retinoid bonds to the skin’s RxR receptors, and then the skin’s top layers slough off more quickly. This process helps to build new and better skin. However, as mentioned before, the first phase can cause a lot of peeling and irritation.

So, here are 3 Ways to Start Tretinoin without Irritation and peeling 


Quick contact method

This is basically when you apply a half-pea-sized amount of retinoid and wash it off minutes later. You leave it on for about fifteen minutes, but instead of leaving it on throughout the day, you wash it off. This helps the retinoid penetrate your face a little without causing as much irritation. This method was recommended by dermatologist, Dr. Adeline Kikam, and it has as worked so well for not only Cassandra but for many other people. 

The sandwiching method

Sandwiching a retinol makes it easier for the skin to tolerate. This is when you put an occlusive barrier first. Then, you apply retinol or tretinoin in the middle. And thirdly, you apply another layer of moisturizer. You can put this on a lightweight moisturizer first, but if you want something occlusive that will provide a thick barrier between the retinoid and your skin, this works fabulously. Even though it’s not the most potent, retinol will still penetrate through these moisturizers. 

These two moisturizers work great for this technique. 


Medature PSL Repair Moisturizer -$48 

Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer - $51



Using a pea-sized amount, this is when you start once or three times a week with a retinoid. Then, you gradually increase the number of times you do it per week. So, for example, instead of doing it once a week, you might do it every other day. And eventually, you do it every day. You’ll want to make sure you’re wearing your retinoid at night and to apply a sunscreen before you start your day. 

These methods will help your skin handle retinoids and other treatments much better. It takes time to build a tolerance. And although it can be frustrating, this is what doctors and derms recommend. You can consult with a derm through Dermatica or Agency too about using a retinol.

Cover photocred: HUM nutrition