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Home » Tretinoin and sunlight: what you need to know

Tretinoin and sunlight: what you need to know


If you’re using a topical retinoid, you likely want to stop the symptoms of sun damage-induced aging. In this situation, you most likely already know that using sunscreen is the best defense against developing skin cancer and that you should do it whenever you are outside. Another reason to apply sunscreen is that your skin may be more sun-sensitive if you’re just starting retinoids, making sunscreen an important aspect of a retinoid-based skin care program.  Let’s talk about tretinoin, sunlight, and how to pick the best sun-safe skincare routines.

What is the mechanism of action of tretinoin?

Both topically and orally, tretinoin cream 0.025 belongs to a full class of medications. Topical tretinoin has become a skincare industry standard for treating acne and some signs of sun-related aging.

The term “photoaging” refers to the early aging process brought on by sun exposure. Due to this sun sensitivity, also known as photosensitization, UVA and UVB radiation can damage skin cells like collagen and impede the skin’s ability to repair itself, necessitating an SPF of 30 or more that delivers comprehensive UVA and UVB protection. Keep in mind that every person’s skin has a varied quantity of melanin and uniquely reacts to tretinoin usage. Whether they use retinoids or not, some people can develop burns very quickly. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep applying sunscreen.

The ideal regimen for taking tretinoin

If you have a prescription for retinoid, your doctor will advise you based on the medication’s potency. If you have sensitive skin, it may take some time to build up to taking tretinoin every day, so it’s best to start gradually. buy tretinoin cream being observed appears to boost skin cell turnover and lessen the propensity for skin cells to stick together.

Although you should always follow your doctor’s instructions when using tretinoin, the following is a typical approach to including tretinoin, such as topical tretinoin, in your daily skincare routine:


The ideal daily retinoid regimen begins at night to take advantage of the darkness and avoid the harsh sunlight hours. According to several dermatologists, do this last before turning out the lights. When your routine starts:

  • Wash your face with a mild cleanser, then pat it dry.
  • Apply a retinoid in a thin layer all over your face, following the dose recommendations. 1-2 times per week (no more than a pea-sized amount of tretinoin).
  • Do not touch your mouth, particularly the corners of your lips and nose, or the region around your eyes.
  • Apply a moisturizer after using the retinoid to minimize dryness and irritation.
  • If the retinoid is well tolerated, the frequency could be raised.

Before using any other products while undergoing therapy, it is best to speak with your healthcare provider because some products have the potential to deactivate tretinoin or cause further irritation. Even if you are skipping your retinoid that night, keep up with your cleansing and moisturizing routines.


Once the sun rises, you should wash your face to remove the retinoid. After that, apply any additional products you used. A retinoid should not be used if you have just begun taking one, so avoid harsh exfoliation. If your skin is irritated, moisturize just that and forgo the extra products. Patch-testing various products on specific areas of your face to avoid sensitivities may be the best course of action.

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every morning if you plan to spend the day outside. Sunscreen should be the absolute last step in your morning skincare routine.


Even if you spend a lot of time outside during the day, the following tips can help you get the most out of your retinoid regimen:

Reapply sunscreen if you’re in the sun every two hours (more if needed, e.g., while swimming).

Use an SPF 30+ and reapply frequently if you intend to spend the entire day in the sun.

On a sunny day, wearing sunglasses and a hat might offer additional protection.

When feasible, seek shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are at their fiercest.

What to expect and how to use tretinoin

If you’ve only recently started taking a retinoid, you might not know what to expect or when you might start experiencing symptoms. Here are some warning signs to look out for as well as an estimate of when to expect results:

  • You might see a brightening of the skin within a few weeks if you use retinol that is sold over the counter, which is often softer and less abrasive.
  • Peeling, itching, and dry skin are potential side effects of retinol.
  • Tretinoin should only be taken at the specified dosage; exceeding it may result in skin irritation rather than hastening changes to the facial skin.

Can tretinoin deteriorate in the sun?

Retinoids are packaged in opaque canisters, metal tubes, and even dark glass for a good reason. When Tretinoin 0.1 cream is exposed to light, particularly sunlight, it deteriorates and loses its effectiveness. Your retinol could potentially be affected by even ordinary indoor lighting.

When should I get medical help?

Speaking with a healthcare professional can provide you with particular advice and guidance if you’re taking prescription medication.

If you are expecting, nursing, or intend to become pregnant, you should avoid using tretinoin. Instead, discuss your alternate skincare alternatives with your doctor. Why? Oral retinoid isotretinoin has been linked to aberrant birth outcomes (Accutane). Check to determine if tretinoin can treat any additional medical conditions you could be experiencing, such as skin problems.

If you have any other medical issues, such as skin conditions, find out if tretinoin could have any side effects.

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