Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Skin Does slugging while using a retinoid simultaneously improve its efficacy?

  • Does slugging while using a retinoid simultaneously improve its efficacy?

    Posted by nycnj on October 31, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve asked a few derms this question, and the answer I get every time is that you should not apply petrolatum over a topical retinoid in the same session because it might irritate the skin. Writing an article on this and I would love to get a chemist’s POV on why/why you should not use both in the same session.

    MarkBroussard replied 1 year, 7 months ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • OldPerry

    October 31, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    The doctors are right and people should listen to their advice.
    Prescription tretinoin is a drug that has the potential to cause skin irritation. See this. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tretinoin-topical-route/precautions/drg-20066521?p=1


  • ngarayeva001

    November 2, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    Applying occlusive moisturizer after retinoids is only beneficial. Retinoids irritate skin and reduce sebum production (thus their anti acne effects). Regarding effectiveness of retinoids, it’s all about the formula not what is applied before or after (although using anything that compromises skin barrier wouldn’t be a good idea).

  • MarkBroussard

    November 3, 2022 at 2:49 am


    Looks like someone else recently wrote on the topic:


    As a chemist, I would say it depends on the specific retinoid you are using, the retinoid load in the product you are using and the amount of time you have been using that retinoid.  If you are new to applying the retinoid or if you are using a strong retinoid, maybe not a great idea to slug simultaneously.  If you are using a milder retinoid, relatively low concentration and your skin has acclimated to that retinoid, probably won’t do any harm.  If you are using a prescription Retinoid, follow your Derm’s advice and don’t slug.  If it’s a non-prescription retinol cream product, slugging simultaneously will probably not do any damage.

    I think the more pertinent question is:  Why would you apply pure petrolatum on your face before going to sleep?  Nasty. 

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