How do you layer skin care products with tretinoin?

Cynthia Bailey, MD|August 8, 2011

Hi Dr. Bailey, Hope you're having a wonderful summer! I wanted to ask if the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy - Replenix Power of Three Cream can be used before tretinoin and what the benefit is? I'm also wondering if a moisturizer can be applied either before or after using tretinoin? Thanks! Robin Hello Robin, Layering skin care products is an important way to customize your skin care. It's also the best way to accurately address your unique skin problems because strong, professional skin care ingredients don't all live well together in the same container.  Product layering is tricky though and you need to do it right! Application timing and product combination can make or break results and often you won't know thing aren't working for weeks or months. It's why I'm so specific about the products and regimens that I recommend. Tretinoin cream (tretinoin is the generic name for Retin A or Renova) is one of the best skin care products you can use to reverse the signs of skin aging, sun damage, uneven pigmentation and treat acne.  It also is one of the most complex skin care products to add to your regimen. Tretinoin cream is applied at night.  It breaks down on exposure to light so it's best to put it on right before you turn out your light to go to sleep.  It also causes irritation if you apply it to skin that is damp.  Because of these two particular tretinoin 'issues', the steps of my night time skin care regimen for tretinoin users are as follows:

  1. Wash
  2. Apply any other skin care products
  3. Wait at least 15 or 30 minutes
  4. Apply tretinoin right before turning out the light

This means that in step 2 I would recommend applying Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy - Replenix Power of Three Cream and then a moisturizer if needed.  This is followed by step 3, which is to wait at least 15 minutes before step 4, the application of tretinoin right before 'lights out'. The benefit to nightly application of Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy - Replenix Power of Three Cream is all get all the antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects that it offers.  Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy - Replenix Power of Three Cream and CF Creams are simply the best antioxidant green tea skin care product made, in my opinion, and they work best when applied twice a day.  (Click here to read more about these Replenix Creams.) Moisturizer gets applied next because moisturizers are always applied within 3 minutes after toweling dry or else they don't work.  Yes tretinoin is in a moisturizing base, but because it causes irritation if applied to damp skin, it can't be your moisturizer! For more information on Retin A (tretinoin) use and what I tell my patients, click on the links below: Does Light Break Down Retin A? Layering Skin Care Products With Dimethicone How To Correctly Use Retin A For Acne and Anti Aging Skin Care Tretinoin is a tricky product but the results are so worth the trouble. I've been using it since I was 27 years old (and I'm just about to turn 53) and I think my skin looks better now than it did when I was 26.  In fact, my office staff found my Dermatology Residency application photo in a file drawer and they were shocked at the difference! Precise and powerful skin care directed at exactly your skin problems can transform your skin. Keep up the good work and thanks for a great question, I hope my answer helps. Warm Regards, Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist If you have questions about skin care or skin health please send them to me using the Contact Dr. Bailey button at the top of the page. Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.