Retinoids/Renova, etc – if it comes in a solution or pad, should I apply it first?

Dear Dr. Irwin, I’m 46 years old, completely new to retinoids & tonight began using three philosophy anti-aging products including pads soaked in a liquid retinoid solution that also contains antioxidants, skin conditioners & soothers. Having read your advice about using retinoid creams 10 minutes after moisturizing, I first applied the anti-aging concentrate & moisturizer and then waited before using my first retinoid pad. The liquid felt so light that I wonder if, in this case, I’d be better advised to use the retinoid pads/solution directly after cleansing and before the other two products? Thank you very kindly for any advice you can offer and for this extremely helpful web site. All the best.

Yes, good point, until recently they were all creams or lotions. The retinols that are soaked in pads and are solutions should be applied to cleansed skin first, allowed to dry and then other products. With the prescription creams, which are much more potent (and also more effective), most people are less irritated with moisturizing first, waiting about 10 minutes and then applying the cream.


For more information about great non prescription retinoids, try Skin Medica Tri-Retinol Complex.


Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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