Use a strength level that is appropriate for your skin type. Higher is not always better. Using a strength that is too high can unnecessarily irritate your skin. Always work with your provider to see what strength fits your skin best and to change the strength over time as your skin learns to tolerate the retinoid.
Do not use more than a dime-size amount. Using more than a dime-size will increase your risk of dryness, irritation, and redness. It does not increase efficacy.
Start off once a week. If your skin is new to retinoids or you’re starting on a higher strength, start off by applying your retinoid once a week and gradually increase to nightly as your skin learns to tolerate.
Moisturize. Always use an oil-free moisturizer right after applying your retinoid to prevent dryness.
Use sunscreen. Without sunscreen retinoids can temporarily make your skin more sensitive to the sun, but after a few months your skin’s response to UV rays will return to normal. Always make sure to apply SPF daily (important regardless to prevent photoaging and skin cancer).
Apply when skin is completely dry. When your skin is wet after washing your face, it absorbs the retinoids more readily.