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Ask An Esthetician: Can I Get a Facial while on Tretinoin?

The short answer is: yes, you can get a facial while on tretinoin. But the type of facial you will be able to get may be limited.

Nearly all estheticians require their clients to complete an informed consent form before your service. This form usually asks if you are currently on any form of retinol or if you have been on a form of retinol within the last 2 months. From there, your esthetician will provide you with the best facial treatment that won’t work against your tretinoin use.

The Best Facial While on Tretinoin

The best facials you can receive while you’re on tretinoin will be hydrating and calming facials. Tretinoin can be drying and often can add to redness in the skin for those just starting out. Depending on how long you’ve been using tretinoin, you may even be able to get a Hydrafacial or something similar but only if the esthetician feels your skin can tolerate it.

A standard European facial fits the bill for this though you may not be able to undergo any form of exfoliation. This includes enzymes, rotator brushes, and chemical exfoliants. If your skin is really sensitized by the tretinoin, you may not be able to withstand the steaming part of the facial process either. But these exclusions are what people really go to get facials for. So to be on the safe side, you may want to stop using tretinoin two weeks prior to your facial.

Other great facials to get would be a cryofacial or oxygen facial. Cryofacials utilize cold therapy which is extremely beneficial in calming inflammation. If your skin is very sensitive, red, and a little warm or hot to the touch then you’d benefit from this cooling facial. Oxygen facial benefits include calming breakouts from acne, killing bacteria on the skin, and providing wound-healing abilities. Please note the efficacy of these benefits may need more research. Sometimes these treatments are standalone facials and sometimes they will be add-ons to existing facials.

Facials to Avoid while on Tretinoin (or Any Prescription Retinoid)

There will be a few facial treatments that would be a contraindication for those on tretinoin. The reason for this is because tretinoin and other prescription retinoid treatments can make the skin really thin, sensitive, and reactive to other products. The facial treatments below should be avoided for these reasons.

As mentioned previously, you will need to avoid exfoliation (and possibly steam) in your facial. But you will also want to avoid microdermabrasion facials, chemical peels, and radio frequency/skin tightening facial types. Getting these types while on any prescription retinoid may lead to breaking the skin, burning, scarring, or permanent damage.

Are you looking to get a facial while on tretinoin in the Bay Area? Book a custom facial with me today!