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Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

Posted by faithab (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 6, 07 at 23:20

Now that I've been using Retin A for a month just about any sunblock stings terribly. Has anyone found one that does not?
Thank you. Faith

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

I dont know because I dont use sunblock with my retin-A.
I just wear a hat or try to avoid the sun altogether.

Retin-A can make your face VERY dry and sensitive to other products.
What kind of face wash are you using? Hopefully something gentle? Because it could be you are using too much and that is why the sunblock stings.

Maybe you could try another brand? Something meant for more sensitive skin?

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

Try the sunblocks for babies and children.

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

I used Retin_A only briefly because it irritated my skin so much. It's really like it is removing a layer of skin and everything underneath is raw. I found I could not wear makeup or use lotion or anything. Everything burned. Most sunscreens have a great amount of alcohol in them: that's what makes them evaporate so quickly. Alcohol is very hard on irritated skin. I would read labels and try to get one with less alcohol. If the Retin-A was prescribed by a dermatologist I would ask them for a recommendation.

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

I use Oil of Olay SPF 15, not a sunblock so to speak, but it does give me protection.....

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

I also have had problems with suntan lotions and Retin A.
I now use Neutrogena sensitive skin sunblock.. Also I only use the
Retin A every other day. I use a moisturizer on the other
day and it works fine. Actually it works great...!

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

OUCH! Retin A does do a number on your skin. But it makes your skin extremely sun-sensitive, so if you can't avoid the exposure, you have to block it somehow.

I agree with plasticgarden, double-check the rest of your cleansing routine to make sure it is not further irritating your skin. You may have to adjust your routine while you are getting the treatment. After all, you wouldn't use a scratchy face scrub on a sunburn... it's the same concept. Use gentle cleansing products, plenty of moisturizer, and nothing else exfoliating (scrubs, masks, washcloths, etc)- the retin-A is already doing that for you.

As for sunblock suggestions:
Try formulas designed for exceptionally sensitive skin. Baby sunblocks can work pretty well, so can blocks from sensitive skin lines like Clinique or Almay. Try to find one with little or no fragrance or alcohol which can be irritating to normal skin, let alone skin that's had the retin A sandblasting. Also look at the list of active (sunblocking) ingredients. Try to find ones with low concentrations of the active ingredient(s). Sometimes low doses of many blocking agents are less irritating than high doses of one or two agents. And if you see something on the list that you already know irritates you, skip it and keep on looking.

If you're really getting frustrated going back and forth to the drugstore, try hitting up one of the cosmetic counters in the department stores. If they don't have a take-home sample, they should at least have testers there so you can try out the formula to see if it works for you. Try doing your test spot somewhere out of sight, like on your neck, so if it gets really red and irritated you won't have blotchy cheeks all day. Only use a little bit, then leave it alone for a while to see if you can handle it being on you all day. Make sure you have some kind of soothing moisturizing cream handy in case you get a flare up. Aloe-based gels tend to work well for a lot of people.

And as the other poster mentioned, if you can't seem to find anything over the counter that works, tell your dermatologist!! They will want you to use some serious sunblock, so they should have recommendations for their patients whose skin has gone super sensitive after their treatments.

I know Clinique has a line of super-sensitive products designed for post-surgery & skin treatments, Clinique CX. It's only available in high end dept stores (Nordstrom, Bloomies, etc) and online, and I know it's been recommended by Oprah and some beaty magazines. It's not cheap, but neither is plastic surgery! And it's cretainly not the most expensive stuff out there either. It's only meant to be used during the recovery period, not all the time. I'm sure other high-end cosmetic lines have something similar. Your dermatologist may even have a line of their own!

Anyway, good luck on finding the right stuff! Try not to get too exasperated and skip the sunblock altogether! It's not worth getting skin cancer over it! Be sure to post back and let us know what finally worked for you!

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

Thank you for all the good ideas. I'm working on trying various ones made for babies. Shall let you all know what ones work since others might find this posting and want that information. Regards,


RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

One more suggestion.

Most make-ups these days have spf in them.It isnt enough to really protect you if you plan to be out in the rays all day,but it is enough for maybe everyday errands and such.

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

Success: I have found two sunscreens that do not hurt.
One is Coppertone Kids SPF 45 and the other is SolBar PF Creme 50 (available on the internet)

Also, I think that CVS brand baby sunscreen is going to work too. As a matter of fact, I have a feeling that most of the ones for babies are going to be OK. But not all. For I've tried a couple for kids and found that either they hurt or I am aware of them on my skin - not hurting but just sort of "not normal." And, of course what I really want is one that I am not aware of. Someone said to try California Baby and I shall. But I am just delighted to have found at least two that are OK. Not perfect but not hurting.

Thanks for your help. I shall keep you p osted and hope to add some more to the list. And then I'll send the list to m y dermatologist.

Regards, Faith

RE: Retin A causing sensitivity to sun blockers

Glad you figured out something that works faithab.
Currently because of this DRY HEAT and cold weather,my skin is SUPER DUPER dry from the RETNA A. Last night I had little flakes all over my face that I had use a wet washcloth and lotion to get off.

Do you guys use lotion after using your RETA-A? Or can it only be used when the retna a is not on your face? Such as in the morning?
I'm scared too much lotion will break me out,but this dry skin is killer.

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