"BE PRODUCTIVE": THE REAL DEAL ON RETINOL - 6 Tips and Tricks to Solve The Retinol Dilemma

April 20, 2020


Retinol derived from Vitamin A has long been promoted by dermatologists as one of the most powerful, scientifically-proven skin care ingredients.

BUT Retinol can irritate skin, especially at first, which can deter even those it could most help.  In fact, we sell our Retinol products only to existing patients and do not take on-line orders. 

Don’t miss out on this potent weapon for beautiful skin – follow these 


 1. Switch to a gentle cleanser and skip the toner

Avoid stripping your skin with a harsh cleanser or toner before applying Retinol.  Try MGMD Non Drying Cleanser or MGMD Antioxidant Green Tea Cleanser, both are gentle and soap-free.

 2. It may sound weird but moisturize first!

This can be game changing for sensitive skin! Studies show that applying moisturizer prior to Retinol DOES NOT decrease its efficacy, and in fact can improve absorption.   After cleansing, apply a light moisturizer like MGMD Ultra Lite Moisture Dew.  Wait a few minutes and then apply the Retinol.  If you are still experiencing irritation, try waiting for up to twenty minutes before applying the Retinol or try a heavier moisturizer such as MGMD Barrier Repair Cream containing healing ceramides.

3. Start low and slow

Slow and steady wins the race and remember -- this is a long-term process with long-term benefits. I often recommend Skinbetter Science AlphaRet for my patients with very sensitive skin. Its a retinoid coated with lactic acid, making it less irritating while maintaining its effectiveness.  Alternatively, many of my patients do extremely well starting off with MGMD Retinol Smoothing Serum 2x with its triple threat of a time-released delivery system, skin-soothing and irritation-reducing green tea polyphenols, and hyaluronic acid that retains water and helps repair the skin’s barrier function.

Whichever Retinol product you choose, try starting off using it three times a week at bedtime.  See how your skin tolerates it and reduce or increase the frequency as needed.  If you can only handle once a week at first, that is OK.  Over time, your skin will adjust and develop tolerance to Retinol and you can increase the frequency.  Try making changes at two week intervals, adding one application per week until you are applying Retinol every night.

Those with less sensitive skin or who already tolerate frequent Retinol use can try upgrading to our exciting new Retinglow.  Clinical studies show that this concentrated serum rivals prescription strength Tretinoin while causing significantly less irritation.

 4. Add an anti-inflammatory agent in the morning and on “off” nights

Our Antioxidant Green Tea Cream is packed with green tea polyphenols, resveratrol and other antioxidants effective at reducing inflammation.  Another trick is to apply MGMD Relief Cream  containing 1% Hydrocortisone in a soothing aloe base, but always remember not to exceed the three-times-per-week limit on this product.

5. Exfoliate weekly

One of Retinol’s benefits is to loosen and remove the top dead layer that accumulates on all skin and contributes to a dull look.  You can assist that process by gently exfoliating weekly. Use a washcloth along with your gentle cleanser or try MGMD Thermal Exfoliating Scrub. Don't overdo exfoliation or you will disrupt the barrier function of your skin and reduce its ability to tolerate Retinol.  Always moisturize immediately after exfoliating.  Indulge yourself with a Biocellulose Repair Mask for 10-20 minutes or simply apply a soothing cream like our MGMD Replenish Night Repair or MGMD Barrier Repair Cream. Skip the Retinol on exfoliation day.

6. Protect your “Retinized” skin

Dermatologists refer to skin that is regularly treated with Retinol as “retinized.”  It is typically smooth and glowing. However, it lacks that protective top dead layer and is significantly more vulnerable to sunburn. Make sure to add a sunscreen to your everyday morning routine.  We love MGMD Sheer Effect Tinted Sunscreen.


Follow the links to learn more about all the products mentioned here or visit our Shop.  Remember there is FREE SHIPPING extended through May 30.

Take advantage of our "BE PRODUCTIVE" promotion through April 24, 2020.  Use code GETRET2 and receive 10% OFF when you order two products or more of the non Retinol products listed here.

Remember, we do not take online orders for our Retinol products.  If you would like to purchase any MGMD Retinol containing products at a 15% discount, please call the office (201) 567-8884 to place your order or send us an email request at info@mgmdderm.com and we will call you. Better yet, for a limited time (through April 24, 2020) schedule a telemedicine consult to discuss your skincare regimen with me and the cost of the consult will go toward the purchase of your Retinol products.

 Dr. Grodberg






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