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The Ordinary & Tretinoin

The Ordinary and Tretinoin/Retin A

Everything you need to know about starting Tretinoin and using it with The Ordinary Skincare.

What is Tretinoin?

Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative (aka a retinoid). It binds with receptors in the skin and changes the way that skin cells function. It is a prescription-only treatment in most countries. 

Why do people talk about Tretinoin so much?

There is a lot of scientific evidence that Tretinoin is effective for treating ageing and sun damage more than any other skincare ingredient. 

What are the other names for Tretinoin? 

There are a few names for Tretinoin, and it can become a little confusing. Tretinoin is a retinoid. Retinoid is the name for the family of chemicals. Retinol, Granactive Retinoid, Adapalene, and Tretinoin are all retinoids. Tretinoin is also known as retinoic acid or “All-trans- retinoic acid”.

There are also different brand names for Tretinoin- Retin A, Micro-A, Stieva-A, Renova, and Retrides, to name a few.

What does Tretinoin do?

Tretinoin binds to receptors in skin cells and causes the cells to behave more normally. It can essentially reverse ageing, undo sun damage, and cause diseased skin to behave like normal skin.

You might be prescribed Tretinoin to treat acne or as an anti-ageing treatment.

At what age should you start thinking about using Tretinoin?

You can use tretinoin at any age to treat acne. If you are thinking of using Tretinoin as a treatment for ageing, you could start from the time you notice sun damage- sun spots and wrinkles. This is normally around 30 years of age. If prevention is your concern, the best preventative for ageing is a high-factor broad-spectrum sunscreen.

How do I start to use Tretinoin?

Unfortunately, tretinoin has a few side effects so there are a few things you need to know if you are totally new to it. Tretinoin can cause a lot of irritation and peeling when you first start using it. Here are a few pointers that may help when starting out-

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  • Tretinoin makes the skin more sensitive to the sun; make sure you are using a daily sunscreen.
  • Tretinoin is damaged by light. You must use it in the evening.
  • Always use plenty of moisturiser.
  • Start by using tretinoin just 2/3 times a week while your skin gets used to it.
  • Tretinoin is more irritating if used on wet skin. Make sure the skin is dry before applying.

How often should I use Tretinoin?

Start off by using it two to three times a week. When your skin has stopped peeling at this frequency, you can gradually increase. Eventually, you may be able to work up to everyday use, which might take some time. Some people are fortunate and don’t get issues with peeling and can use Tretinoin daily.

Which of The Ordinary products should I use with Tretinoin?

You can support the skin through the Tretinoin acclimatisation process with beneficial ingredients-

  • Squalane Cleanser– Foaming cleansers and scrubs are irritating. Squalane Cleanser is very easygoing for stressed skin. 
Squalane Cleanser
  • Amino Acids + B5– The amino acids and vitamins help build up the skin’s barrier.
Amino Acids + B5
  • Niacinamide 10% + Zinc– Studies have shown that vitamins can ease tretinoin irritation.
  • Natural Moisturising Factors– An un-fragranced well-formulated moisturiser is a must. NMF is perfect. There are now 2 more
Natural Moisturising Factors
  • Oils– An oil will help parched irritated skin retain its moisture. Any of the oils would work- Borage oil and Sea Buckthorn are very calming, Marula oil is a great moisturiser, and Squalane reduces inflammation.
Marula Oil The Ordinary
Sea Buck-Thorn Fruit Oil The Ordinary

Which of The Ordinary products should I avoid using with Tretinoin? 

Anything that might irritate the skin should be avoided if you’re new to Tretinoin. You should keep your routine really simple to reduce the irritation as much as possible. Acids and pure vitamin C are the worst culprits. 

Also, Deciem has advised not to use Buffet with Copper in the same routine as the Tretinoin can stop the peptides from working.

The main conflicts are-

With some adjustments to your routine, you will be able to introduce Tretinoin. There are some fantastic products from The Ordinary to help you along the way.

The Ordinary Skincare

The Ordinary & Tretinoin

This page was written for Deciem Chat Room by Nia Patten, who has 7 years of experience in the aesthetics industry and a Post Graduate Diploma in Cosmetic Medicine. Nia is one of the founder moderators of The Ordinary & Deciem Chat Room and has personal experience with the pain of cystic acne and melasma. This website is about keeping things simple. For more in-depth reading about Tretinoin, you can find more on Nia’s website. Read about Nia here.

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