Dr. Perricone Q&A – Long Term Retin-A Usage


Q: I have had acne since I was a girl in my early teens (I am now 60). I went to several dermatologists when I was growing up, but back then there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it (or so I was told). Last year I heard about Retin-A, and after using it in a cream for several weeks, I found that it’s really helping with the spots and marks on my face, as well as apparently minimizing my large pores. I still am using this about twice a week, as I still get eruptions – but at least the cream keeps them from getting any worse. Can I use this cream indefinitely, or will long-term usage thin my skin or make it overly dry? Is there something I can use during the day that will continue to improve my skin and at the same time help with my wrinkles?

A: There should be no problem with continued use of Retin-A, although I always recommend that any prescription treatment be monitored by a dermatologist. In addition to treating acne, Retin-A is great for keeping the skin thick and looking young. Use it every night unless you develop an irritation. During the day, I recommend a DMAE and alpha lipoic acid topical treatment.

12 thoughts on “Dr. Perricone Q&A – Long Term Retin-A Usage

  1. Hello,

    Im having major skin issues right now from the use of Retin A. I’ve been using Retin A 0.1% everday for about 2 weeks now. I know the dosage is strong, and I know Ive been using it too frequently-especially since it is my first time using. As a result, I also got conjunctivitis. My doctor/the instructions didnt inform me how many times to use per week, or .1% would be too strong.

    Retin A caused:

    wrinkles all under my eyes

    my upper eyelids are literally drooping and very very thin

    hollowed out eyes

    dark circles

    i sleep on my side and the side of my face is bruised because my skin is so thin?

    conjunctivits – but settled somewhat now

    my skin has acne all over my face

    I never had any acne, wrinkles, thin skin, dryness, dark circles..none of these. My skin was nice but after I opted to use Retin A, nightmare struck.

    What can I do? What do I do to reverse this? Do you think the effects are permanent?

    I thought Retin A was supposed to reverse signs of aging and help improve the skin, not damage and accelerate the sign of wrinkles!

    Please help!!! Its been about 2 weeks since I stopped using.

    • Retin-A can sometimes be over-irritating to certain skin types. We recommend you talk to your dermatologist to figure out a less-irritating anti-aging solution for your skin.

  2. Does long term use of retin-a cause skin to thin? I’m 54 and have used on and off since I was 24. I’ve been using it now again for the past 6 years. I also use a clarisonic brush and glycolic acid. Is this too much??

    • Hi Chris. This does sound like an aggressive regimen. Does your skin appear thinned? Often times it helps to consider how long you’ve been using the same ingredients/skincare items. Is your skin the same now as it was at 24? Which products are you currently using? To combat thinning skin, increase your intake of omega 3 rich roods and protein.

  3. 49 and can still get a few 35-40s from rude ppl who ask potentially offensive and always intrusive questions. Been on a quest for years to keep my facial skin as young as possible. No economic resources with which to pursue intrusive procedures. Always up to try trusted products.

  4. I think maybe this post might assist some people if they are having problems with Retin-A. I use it every night and without a doubt i certainly experienced the “uglies” which included thin papery and very wrinkled skin with red, itchy, burning and severe constant flaking.

    I read hundreds of posts saying it would subside after 4 to 8 weeks, however for myself I suffered and struggled for 4 months before my skin began to calm down. To make along story short it was worth every agonizing minute. My skin is looking better than it has in 10 years.

    If its just killing you just skip a day and get back on the bus as soon as you can and please follow all the rules: SPF 30 or higher everyday before u leave your bedroom, dont scrub or be harsh with your skin, if u need moisture slap it on and above all be very patient.

    This is not a nice smelling or pampering experience so if you need that little pleasure and a daily mood lift treat yourself to a perricone face wash and a cream for daytimes and special nights out.

    Dont worry about looking bad and feeling terrible, the endless compliments will make up for it in time.

  5. It seems that no one has answered Gina’s question from July 31, 2009. Can Dr Perricone products be used over retin a at night?

  6. I would rather use supplements than the retin a I have been using for a couple years. Anything I should do to get off retin a? It has been extremely irritating to my skin. I am still peeling and still have some acne.

    • Hi Shelley- try our Skin Clear Supplements to stop blemishes before they start from the inside out- they are truly transformative. Also, try using Cold Plasma in conjunction with your Retin-A. We’ve heard numerous success stories of people who’ve used both and had their peeling and irritation stop.

  7. I’ve been using Retin A since I was 16, for acne, then after the acne subsided I kept it up, on and off, since then. I am now 54 and it has been my night cream for more than 15 years straight. People ALWAYS notice my skin. It is my best feature. Almost flawless, firm, clear and wrinkle free. I recently have experienced some sagging, so I got some filler for that and use DMAE serum under a tinted moisturiser by day. Along with exercise and a good diet, I look 15 year younger than I am.. Not saying I am beautiful….but yes, I look very, very young and good for my age. Stick to Retin A is my advice.


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