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How to Use Retin-A (Tretinoin)

Learn how to use Retin-A, aka tretinoin, from dermatologist Elissa Lunder in this Howcast skin care video.


Hi, I'm Dr. Elissa Lunder. I've been practicing dermatology at Dermatology Partners in Wellesley, Massachusetts for the past 10 years. I believe that skin care doesn't have to be complicated. With a few simple steps you can have beautiful skin. You can visit Dermatology Partners on the web at So today we're gonna talk about skin care. So, Retin A, or Renova is a medication that we commonly use in dermatology. We use it frequently to help treat fine lines and wrinkles as well as acne. So these are great treatments but they have to be used correctly. You have to remember that this is a pretty strong medication so more is not better. What you wanna do is take the size of a small green pea, put it on the tip of your finger and gently dab it on different areas of your face. Almost like if you're applying moisturizer. You want to avoid the corners of your mouth and the corner of your eyes and then you wanna slowly rub it into the skin. After it's rubbed in you want to apply a moisturizer on top. Another way that you can apply this is to take the same small, pea size amount into the palm of your hand, mix in some moisturizer, mix it together and then rub it into your face. If your skin is getting too red or irritated you want to stop a few days and give yourself a break. And generally when you start using these medications, you wanna start using them two or three times a week and gradually work yourself up into every night. So when using this medication, it's important to remember that you skin is gonna be more sensitive to the sun so make sure you're using proper sun protection. And if you're doing any sort of cosmetic procedure such as waxings or peels, you want to stop a few days before and if you're pregnant you want to discontinue using the medication immediately. So these medicines can have excellent results but is has to be used properly.

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