Bella Body Medical Spa

Should I Use My Retin-A in the Summer?

Can I use my Medical Grade Skin Care Products with Tretinoin and Hydroquinone during the summer?

“Summer is actually a good time to start a retinoid: Humidity makes your skin less likely to dry out as it adjusts. Of course, apply sunscreen (SPF 30, at least) as diligently as you always do.” –Doris Day, MD

Absolutely! In fact, it is especially important to use your products during the summer when sun exposure is at its highest and skin’s susceptibility to sun damage is at its peak. If there was ever a time to correct and protect your skin, SUMMER is that time!

One of the misconceptions regarding Tretinoin is that it thins the skin and makes skin more susceptible to sun burn. Experts would disagree! Although this can appear true during your skin’s initial adjustment period (as skin can experience redness, sensitivity and irritation), with continued use of Tretinoin, the epidermis is actually thickened and strengthened. While your skin is adjusting to your retinoic acid/Tretinoin – as ALWAYS – it is important to use an SPF. With proper protection, you can experience the benefits of great skin care, all year long.

What do the experts say?

Suzan Obagi, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery, Director, UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hears this question a lot:

“Many patients ask if they should take a break from using their skincare products during the summer months. This stems from concerns with sun exposure and increased outdoor activities. However, I have oftentimes found that patients that need the NuDerm product line most are those with pigmentation issues such as melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These are conditions that typically flare and worsen during hot, sunny weather. In order for patients to have adequate control over these conditions, I recommend that they continue to use their NuDerm products as instructed. This goes hand in hand with sun avoidance during the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm, wearing a hat when outdoors, and reapplying their sunscreen after sweating, swimming, or every 2 hours while outdoors. Furthermore, while ultraviolet ray B (UVB, the burning ray) increases during the summer, UVA (the aging ray) remains constant all year. Therefore it is imperative to use a daily, broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Obagi Sun Shield. I recommend it even while driving or working under fluorescent lights, as these are sources of ultraviolet light exposure that most patients do not realize.”

Doris Day, MD, is also renowned for her expertise and is a leading expert on dermatology and aesthetic dermatology. Dr. Day is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and is a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center where she was presented with the award for Dedication and Excellence in the Teaching of Dermatology. According to Dr. Day with regard to retinoid usage and sensitivity: “This is one of the biggest retinoid myths,” says Doris Day, MD, (a Tretinoin user herself). “The ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight, which is why you should apply it before bed at night. A retinoid shouldn’t make your skin any more vulnerable to UV rays than it would be after buffing away dead skin with a face scrub. Summer is actually a good time to start a retinoid: Humidity makes your skin less likely to dry out as it adjusts. Of course, apply sunscreen (SPF 30, at least) as diligently as you always do.”

Is there anything extra I can do to protect my skin during the summer months when sun exposure is at its peak?

In addition to using a sunscreen, incorporate a topical antioxidant into your morning skin care routine. Antioxidants help in the fight against free radical and sun damage. They help stabilize collagen, which helps reduce the aging effects the sun inflicts on our skin. Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid is believed by many experts to be the most stable and effective in protecting skin. Obagi offers a full portfolio of vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) products: Pro C formulas 10%, 15% and 20%. Apply a few drops, first thing in the morning, after cleansing and toning. (Be careful to avoid the eye area if you’re using Elastiderm Eye Cream as Elastiderm contains a copper peptide which neutralizes the benefits of the copper and C when the two ingredients come into contact.)

Stopping your medical grade products in the summer increases your chance for additional, untreated photo damage – the very thing we are trying to correct and avoid.
During the summer months, it is important to continue use of products keeping pigmentation in check, as well as improving texture, tone, and laxity issues.
Confidently enjoy your products and wonderful skin all year long!
If you have questions about which products are right for your skin, our anti-aging experts at Bella Body Medical Spa can help. Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss what’s best for you. 215.622.7724

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