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How to Use Moisturizer With Retin-A

author image Melissa King
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.
How to Use Moisturizer With Retin-A
A woman smiling while putting face cream on her cheeks. Photo Credit: Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

Retin-A is a brand name for tretinoin, a prescription-strength retinoid. Many over-the-counter drugstore products contain retinol, but retinoids such as Retin-A are more powerful than these. The medication wards off acne by speeding up cell turnover and unclogging your skin's pores. Available in cream, gel and liquid form, its anti-aging properties may also help ease fine lines and fix discoloration. Retin-A may sound like a miracle medicine, but the treatment can seriously dry out your skin. To avoid irritation, smooth on some moisturizer after applying Retin-A -- but pay attention to timing in your skincare routine.

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Step 1

Wash your face at night with lukewarm water and a mild soap or cleanser. Blot your skin dry with a towel. Wait at least 20 to 30 minutes for your face to dry completely, because irritation can develop if you apply Retin-A to damp skin.

Step 2

Squeeze a pea-sized amount of Retin-A onto your fingertip or onto a cotton swab. Dab your forehead, chin and cheeks with the Retin-A.

Step 3

Smooth the Retin-A evenly over your skin. Work quickly if your Retin-A is in gel form, because the alcohol-based medication evaporates quickly. Continue blending the product into the skin until it's no longer visible. If you can still see the product after blending, you may have used too much. Blot your skin with a dry cloth to remove the excess.

Step 4

Allow your skin to absorb the Retin-A for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour before applying moisturizer or another product.

Step 5

Smooth a dab of non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer over your face once the Retin-A has fully dried. Avoid using any moisturizer or product that contains alcohol, which can further dry out the skin.

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