How to get the most from your vitamin A creams!

If you read a lot about skin care and products, then you’re very familiar with Vitamin A creams! Vitamin-A creams have been and are still the gold standard for sun damage repair and anti-aging. Plus, they help to prevent precancerous lesions and skin cancer. There’s nothing better available in a cream form. Everyone who can tolerate them should be using one! The Vitamin-A creams go by all sorts of names like Renova, Retin-A, Tazorac, tretinoin (generic Renova and Retin-A), and Retin-A Micro (all available by prescription only). Retinol is a weaker form available without a prescription. But there is one Retinol product that is almost as strong as the prescription form: SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0, which I’ve reviewed on my shop here. When you buy a skincare product, you want to be sure you’re using it right to get the best results. Regarding tretinoin, Retin A, retinol, and other vitamin A creams (retinoids), here’s how to maximize the effects: 

  • Apply at night because light inactivates them.
  • It’s fine to cleanse, apply your serum and/or moisturizer, and THEN apply the retinoid cream. This order will reduce irritation. Wait 5 minutes after the moisturizer before you apply.
  • Retinoids are a natural exfoliant. You may not need any other exfoliant. Or if you do use one, use something very gentle.
  • You really only need about a pea sized amount for your whole face.  
  • Also remember, You must use a daily sunscreen if you’re using Vitamin-A creams. There are a few new Image sunscreens in the shop (tinted and non-tinted) that we’re getting amazing feedback on from our patients and readers like you!

If you haven’t used a Vitamin A cream before, If you haven’t used them before, consider starting with the SkinMedica Retinol .25 first, then going to the NeoCutis Nouvelle+ (.6%), and then this SkinCeuticals 1.0.

Some of you might be too sensitive for retinoids and should use a combination of cell growth factors and antioxidants instead. See here for more of my reviews on some of my favorite skin care products for anti-aging and wrinkles.   

Do you have questions about skin care or products? I’d love to hear them! You can write me here.

All the best,

Dr. I

Related reading:

  • Confused about anti-aging products and which you should be using when? This article will help.
  • Are human or plant stem cells in products worth it? More here.
  • Did you know much of your past sun damage can be undone? More here!
Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

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

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
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SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!