Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD
Written by Lisa Guerrera
Last updated 8/2/2021
When you start a prescription treatment, you’ll want to pair down your skincare routine to make sure you aren’t overwhelming your skin. Our dermatologists recommend using gentle skincare products to help round out your routine so you can start your journey off on the right foot. Before we get into the product recommendations, let’s touch on the basics first…
The order of your routine is important and it’s simpler than you think! This is the order Dr. Aimee Paik recommends to her patients:
(Moisturizer if needed)
Your Apostrophe Topical Formula
We always recommend using as few products as possible– simple is always best. Using products that lack fragrance and/or essential oils can also prevent irritation some people get from these ingredients. A few other tips include minimizing your use of serums since they can increase the potential for irritation with your new topical medications as you get used to them. Once your skin is acclimated to your new medication, you can reintroduce them.
Lastly, we recommend you steer clear of AHAs and BHAs like: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Mandelic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Betaine Salicylate, Witch Hazel. These can further irritate your skin as you’re adjusting to your medication. Always check the ingredients label on your skincare to make sure you aren’t accidentally irritating your skin!
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
This cleanser is a favorite among dermatologists and skinfluencers alike. Even if you don’t consider yourself to have dry skin, tretinoin can cause some dry skin so this cleanser comes in handy.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This is a cult dermatologist classic for a reason! This is a super gentle cleanser that is non-irritating and works with any skin type.
CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion
La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream
These moisturizers are great for folks with oily or acne-prone skin and are super gentle.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
If you have drier skin or are experiencing the “retinoid uglies” these heavier moisturizers can really help keep your skin from being flakey and irritated during your retinoid adjustment period.
Elta MD UV Daily Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin SPF 40
Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30
Sunscreen is the most important part of your morning routine, especially when you start using a retinoid. Retinoids can cause sensitivity to the sun, meaning you're more prone to getting skin damage so it’s vital you protect your skin so your treatment can work its magic. ✨
Want to get prescription skin care online? Connect with a board-certified dermatologist who can provide the best skin care treatments for you!
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