Topical Tretinoin Irritating? 3 Ways To Calm Your Skin Without Reducing Your Great Results

If your dermatologist recently prescribed topical tretinoin to help you get rid of your acne, then you may be excited to be on your way to clearer skin yet afraid of the irritation tretinoin can cause. A little flakiness and/or redness is normal when starting tretinoin, but these side effects can be minimized. Follow these three tips to help keep your skin calm when starting your new medication.

1. Consider Switching to a Gentler Cleanser

Before you were prescribed tretinoin, you may have used a somewhat harsh cleanser to help combat your oily skin or to make sure you washed acne-causing bacteria away thoroughly. With your new medication, that cleanser may be too harsh for your skin. Common irritants in acne cleansers you want to avoid now are sodium lauryl sulfate and menthol. You also want to make sure your cleanser is not too alkaline and stick to a cleanser that is pH balanced to about the same acidity as your skin.

If you find that a pH-balanced sulfate-free foaming cleanser still leaves you flaky and irritated, then a gentle, non-comedogenic cleansing milk or cream may be your best bet to use just until your skin becomes used to your medication.

2. Use Calming Treatments During the Day

Since tretinoin should only be worn while you sleep, you can pack your morning skincare routine with calming and re-hydrating products that can reduce redness. Skincare ingredients that are known to have a calming effect on skin include beta-glucan and aloe vera. Also, green tea extract is an ingredient that is so great at reducing redness and calming skin that it is even recommended for rosacea sufferers.

If you don't have the cash to spend on a bunch of new skincare products, then you can look in your pantry for two of the above calming ingredients. Beta-glucan is abundant in oatmeal, and green tea extract comes right from the same tea sold as a beverage. When your face is especially irritated, just grind up some oats in a coffee grinder and add enough strongly brewed green tea to make a paste. Smooth onto your irritated face and leave the mixture on for just 10 minutes or so, and then rinse.

Aloe vera gel is very affordable, and you can find it at most drugstores. Just ensure that the gel you purchase has no added alcohol that can dry your skin further. You can mix some with a non-comedogenic moisturizer and apply to your skin when you are feeling dry.

3. Ask Your Dermatologist About Buffering

If your dermatologist instructed you to use only your tretinoin at night and no other skincare products, then he or she wants to see how your skin responds before giving further treatment. If your skin irritation is bothering you too much, then ask your dermatologist about buffering. Buffering tretinoin is simply applying a lightweight face moisturizer directly after the medication to dilute it just a bit until your skin becomes used to it.

If a dermatologist, like those at Advanced Dermatology Care, just prescribed tretinoin for your acne, then you may or may not find it irritating at all. If you do, then follow these skin-calming tips after obtaining permission from your dermatologist. You can then look forward to clear skin without dealing with dryness and irritation.  


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