Best Beauty Products to use with Retin-A


Best Beauty Products to use with Retin-A |

I was not compensated in any way for this post. This post does contain affiliate links. All opinions expressed are mine.

Since turning the Big 4-0, I decided to kick my beauty routine up a notch. I went to the dermatologist and told her that I just turned 40 and that I’d like to give myself a present: a prescription for Retin-A. I used Retin-A as a teenager to take care of my acne. Now, I wanted to use it to prevent the onslaught of wrinkles that will be happening in the next two decades.

When I started using Retin-A this second time around, I was using my old face products that contained benzoyl peroxide. Bad idea. REALLY bad idea. My face stung as soon as I put on the product and it got redder and more irritated. I then started researching what products I should use while on Retin-A.

Looking back, I should’ve just called my dermatologist, but it didn’t occur to me. Instead, I read online forums where people had the same question. What I got out of it is that there are basically two brands you should use while on Retin-A because they are mild and non-irritating:  Cetaphil and CeraVe.

So below, as my present to you (to keepfrom turning into a beet red, peeling Retin-A user) is a round-up of the best beauty products to use with Retin-A:

Morning and Evening Cleansing:

. It is so important to use a daily moisturizer that contains SPF, and it’s even more key when you are on Retin-A. As soon as I put on the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, I knew it wouldn’t irritate my skin. It was cool, calming and gentle. Exactly what my skin needs while using Retin-A.

Moisturizer during the Day:

. The other facial moisturizers with SPF 15 burned my skin. Cetaphil’s, like it’s cleanser, was non-irritating.

Moisturizer at Night:

. CeraVe has ceramides and for some reason this is what your skin needs while on Retin-A. I use Retin-A every other night and in order for it to not completely irritate my skin, what I do is wash my face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, wait 20 minutes then put on the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. Then about 60 minutes later, I put on a pea-size amount of Retin-A.

When You’re Out in the Sun:

. When we went to Hershey Park and to Turks and Caicos, I needed a really good sunscreen, especially for my face. This is more expensive than others, but CeraVe is now a brand I trust, and I knew it would protect my face especially in Turks and Caicos. The lotion is light and waterproof (up to 40 minutes) and contains Invisible Zinc Oxide, which means it is powerful, but it doesn’t turn your face white. Even my husband who is not into sunscreen at all wore this all summer long and even asked for it during our two week vacation at the beach this past August.

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Have you used / are using Retin-A before? What beauty products do you use?


About Author

Pam is the Editor & Publisher of Triple Threat Mommy and is a Downtown NYC Mom-About-Town loving and living the urban family life. She writes about fashion, family travel + food and is a social media + marketing consultant under Triple Threat Media, LLC.


    • Kristin, I’ve been using it on and off for a year now. I have to be more consistent, because I know that it does wonders…I’m right now doing 1x a week, but should probably do 2x.

  1. Monique Limbaugh on

    I LOVE cetaphil, it is the only facial cleanser than I can use that does not break out my skin. I have terribly sensitive skin so it was hard to find a cleanser that was gentle enough for my face.

    • Monique, I love Cetaphil too and it really keeps my skin soft without drying it out especially during the winter months. Have you used the lotion? It’s pretty great.

  2. I have been using Retin A for years. For face cleansing, I use Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil facewash. I used to use Chanel moiturizers (day and night) but I got tired of them discontinuing one product after another, so I’ve switched to Oil of Olay (night creams and moisturizers). My face is happy, my wallet is happy! One thing Retin A users need to be aware of (I wasn’t!) is that you CANNOT get waxed (anywhere!) while on Retin A. Your skin thins, not just where you apply it, but all over. Waxing then becomes dangerous. Must find another method of hair removal.

    • Didn’t even think about waxing! I don’t wax my face (I pluck) but that’s so good to keep in mind! How often do you use Retin-A a week?

  3. I would love to find a night cream or moisturizer to use with Retin-A that doesn’t contain parabens and is non-comedogenic. There are some out there but are too pricey for my taste.

    • Definitely let me know when you find them! Right now Cerave does the trick for me. It keeps my skin nice and soft and doesn’t irritate my skin.

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  6. Hello Pam. I am 32 and using Retin A 0.025% cream nightly. I use Bio Oil for morning cleansing, and Cetaphil at night. I moisturize with CeraVe cream which contains ceramides. As of now, I’m using Neutrogena Faces sunscreen 70 SPF. Does this regiment sound solid, or is there something better that I could supliment? Thanks for any advice!

    • Hi Kimberly, First of all, thanks for stopping by! Secondly, I’m not a dermatologist, so I would definitely ask your doctor what she thinks. I haven’t used Bio Oil but have seen it at the store (and on Ibotta, a coupon app!) and am a big fan of CeraVe and Neutrogena products, so so far so good! Have you seen any issues? How are you and your skin feeling? Again, I would ask your doctor if there is anything else….

  7. I had to smile when reading your post, just turned 43 so this was the year for me to commit to better skin! I finished 8 weeks of Triluma (LOVED it & had no problems) and then converted to RetinaA .05 cream. Unfortunately I’m still facing the “uglies” three weeks in. I’m hoping you might comment on 1) if you have kept up your RetinaA usage, and if so, frequency; 2) continued support for CeraVe (I just bought it for night use and it stings like crazy); 3) continued support for Cetaphil (I like Eucerin cleanser but have struggled to find a day-time moisturizer w/ spf that doesn’t burn; using Olay ProX despite the stinging for now); 4) anything new and improved you would mention. Thanks so much for your time!

    • Hi Shana,
      Thanks so much for commenting! Apologies for the late response. I have stopped using it, only because I ran out. I have to get a new prescription from my dermatologist so I have to set up an appointment. But, to answer your questions. 1) I got to a point where I was using it 3x a week, usually Sun, Wed and Fridays. This was after at least 3 months of using it 2x a week. 2) I still use CeraVe night and day (with SPF). I never had stinging but that may be because of the fact you are still peeling? Maybe your derma can suggest another brand, but found great success with CeraVe myself. 3) I still use Cetaphil – and my husband and our tween daughter uses it as well. 4) The only thing I can offer up is using Retin-A consistently and don’t give up!!! You’ll reap the benefits. (I’m unfortunately seeing the effects of not using it for the past few months! I can’t wait to get my prescription again!)

      • Hello, thank you for this post! I just started reusing Retin-A after a long break and needed to find something that helps moisturize through all this peeling. There’s a website that sells it, though I’m not sure what percentage you’re used to or if you use gel vs cream. I’m too lazy and cheap to go back to the dermatologist for a prescription. I feel the Retin-A working, I just need to stop the bad habit of picking at my face in order to see better results. Here’s the link I found under a youtubers video:
        Thanks again!

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