When would you use a glycolic acid, a retinoid, or both?

Hello, Dr. Irwin. Thank you very much for the amazing information you share with us. I noticed that your personal skincare regimen does not contain glycolic acid, is there a reaaon for that. I am a 25 year old female, and I understand the importance of using a retinoid cream at night, and a vitamin C serum and sunscreen in the morning. Should I add a glycolic acid product? Thank You.

One good reason to use glycolic acids is price point!   Similar results can be obtained with a good glycolic acid product, but at around $25…..not $80-100.    Especially for younger patients (teens, 20s, 30s) who are using sunscreen regularly, don’t have much sun damage, and have acne and oilier skin.   When using a  good quality retinoid daily, there’s really not much need for a glycolic.

A  key consideration though is the irritation factor.   If your skin has a ton of oil, you skin might be able to tolerate a retinoid, vitamin C and a glycolic.  Since generally you want to use the Vit C product under your sunscreen in the am, one strategy is to alternate the retinoid and the glycolic product every other night.   If you get irritated, rest your skin and then try again less aggressively.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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