Tips for Adjusting to Tretinoin

Back in late August/early September of last year I started using Tretinoin prescribed by my dermatologist. I started using Tretinoin to help with hormonal breakouts as well as doing something anti-aging for my skin. I’ve seen a huge difference in the overall health of my skin and I know the long term benefits are worth the downside. If you’ve ever used any form of Tretinoin on your skin, then you know it’s quite the process to adjust to. There are a number of side effects that your dermatologist should discuss with you. The most common side effect is dry and flaky skin. Most people only experience this dry and flaky skin phase for up to a year. For me, it was pretty bad for a solid 3 months. It’s gotten better partly because my skin is adjusting, but also because I have learned what helps reduce or prevent this. I am not a dermatologist so you should discuss the strategies below with your dermatologist to evaluate what might work best for your skin type.

  1. Start On a Low Dose I’ve never heard of a dermatologist starting someone on anything other than the lowest dose of Tretinoin (TBH this is kind of a red flag and you should consider seeking a second opinion from another dermatologist if they do that).
  2. Start Off Slow The benefits of Tretinoin are exciting so I can see why you might want to dive right in an use it every night, but I promise you’ll regret that. Tretinoin is something you adjust to over time (like I said it took me a solid 3 months). Most people that start off using it every night end up with bright red, painful, sensitive, and extremely flaky skin. Then they have to stop, then start again more slowly. It’s usually recommended to start off using it once a week, then after a few weeks applying it twice a week and so on. This is something you should ask your dermatologist about how often you should use it.
  3. CeraVe Healing Ointment There’s a method called the sandwich technique where you apply a layer of moisturizer, then a layer of Tretinoin, then another layer of moisturizer. This technique is great for reducing overall sensitivity but I found that it’s not super effective in the flaky skin areas. What has worked for me, is applying the CeraVe Healing Ointment in the extremely dry areas (corners of my mouth and around the nostrils) before applying the Tretinoin. This is similar to the sandwich technique but rather than creating a light barrier I’m really just preventing the Tretinoin from touching those areas. Obviously you don’t want to do this on your entire face, otherwise there would be no point in even using Tretinoin. Only use it in areas that are extremely dry and flaky.
  4. Use a Great Moisturizer Tretinoin changes your skin in many ways including oil production. I used to have oily skin but now I’d say my skin is more normal/combo. When I had oily skin I almost exclusively used gel like moisturizers. While I still love the moisturizer I used when I had oily skin, my skin has different needs now. I now prefer a heavier cream moisturizer. Be prepared to change up your moisturizer.
  5. USE SUNSCREEN There are tons of reasons why you should be using sunscreen every day anyways, but it’s particularly important when using a Tretinoin. Tretinoin makes you more sensitive to the sun so it’s extra important to use a sunscreen EVERY DAY.

Spring Favorites

1. All The Light We Cannot See This is by far the best book I have recently read. The story takes place during WWII and follows two main characters on different sides. I loved the character development in this book. Netflix is currently working on a mini series for this book so I suggest reading it before that comes out.

2. Colourpop Ultra Blotted Lip I love this liquid lipstick because it’s not completely full coverage so it’s actually pretty natural looking. I don’t typically wear pink lip colors but since it’s a more natural finish I can pull it off. It’s also the perfect shade of bright rosy pink for me. It’s part of the Sailor Moon x Colourpop collection, and as a 90s child I HAD to get something from the collection.

3. First Aid Ultra Repair Cream I’ve always had oily skin but as I get older (especially over the last year) my skin has become more combination and dry. While I still love my gel-like moisturizers I have been branching out into heavier creams. I’ve tried a few and this Ultra Repair Cream is definitely my favorite so far. My skin doesn’t have a hard time absorbing it and it’s very soothing.

4. Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Recipe from Foodie Crush Every Friday I share my weekly dinner plan on Instagram Stories. If you have been following me on Instagram, then you know this has been in the rotation lately. I love it because it’s healthy, light but filling, and refreshing.

5. Tory Burch Handbag I have needed a black crossbody handbag FOREVER and I finally broke down and bought this one. I’ve have been a fan of Tory Burch shoes for years because the quality is amazing. While it’s not luxury, the quality is luxurious. I’d say the quality is on par with the Saint Laurent Handbag I have. I’m a small handbag kind of girl and this fits my wallet, phone, keys, and I could probably fit a slender sunglasses case too.

6. Palm Springs Tee I’m pretty particular about graphic tee shirts so I don’t buy a lot of them. I love this one because the graphic is a faded style so it’s not obnoxious looking. I also really appreciate how soft it is and that the short sleeves are a longer style short sleeve. The first few times I washed it I hung it up to dry. I did just recently make the mistake of tossing it in the dryer and unfortunately it did shrink. Learn from my mistake and let it air dry.

7. CeraVe Healing Ointment Last September I started using a Tretinoin and while I LOVE it (hello anti-aging!) it has been a rough transition getting my skin accustom to it. Eventually I am going to create a full blog post on the things that helped me while my skin got accustom to Tretinoin but this is the primary thing that helped. Once I noticed the areas of my skin that were prone to the classic Tretinoin flaking I used a tiny amount of this on those areas before applying the Tretinoin. Using that method made a world of difference for me. I really don’t recommend this unless you are going through a flaky skin phase with any type of retinoid.

Favorite Restaurants in Boulder

Boulder is one of my favorite areas to get a bite to eat. There are tons of great restaurants in Boulder that have great food and unique ambiance. Whether you are just visiting or live near Boulder, below are my favorite restaurants that I recommend you try.

The Buff

While the fruit bowl I have pictured above is very Instagram worthy and delicious I really recommend their breakfast sandwiches and the Tatanka. The Tatanka is a fully loaded Bloody Mary. It’s the most delicious and over the top Bloody Mary I have ever seen. They load it up with a skewer of vegetables and a bacon strip and serve in a giant mason jar.

The Cork

The cork is arguably my absolute favorite restaurant in Boulder not only because it has the best steaks I’ve ever had, but it’s also super special to my husband and I. Back in 2020 we had postponed our actual wedding ceremony, but still eloped on our original wedding date with immediate family by our side. The Cork is where we celebrated our elopement. For a steak house they have a very extensive menu for mains but I personally don’t think you should go there unless you get a steak. I always get the Filet cooked medium rare. It’s cooked to perfection every time. Most steak houses focus so much on the mains I feel like their sides fall short but The Cork has incredible sides. The Smoked Mashed Potatoes and Green Chili Mac and Cheese are the best!

Half Fast Subs

Half Fast Subs is a local icon. It’s a sandwich place which may sound boring but it’s going to make ever other sandwich you have ever had look pathetic. I always get the Stuffed Turkey which has Turkey, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy.

Jax Fish and Oyster Bar

I’m slightly cheating for this one because it’s not exclusive to Boulder. It’s a small Colorado chain with 5 other locations. I’m including it though because it can be hard to find good seafood places in Colorado. My perfect dinner from Jax is the chargrilled oysters to start and getting the Blue Crab Garganelli for my entrée. Most of there entrées are seasonal so I don’t believe the Blue Crab Garganelli is always available. The flip side to that is that I really appreciated when a seafood place orders whatever will be the freshest for any given time of year.

Gelato Boy

A short walk from Jax Fish and Oyster Bar is Gelato Boy. Gelato Boy is the best Gelato I have found in the USA. They have Stracciatella on the menu which is a sign they are a legitimate gelato place. I also love the Coffee Chip flavor and Lavender Poppy Mint Flavor.

The Sink

The Sink is a foodie’s dream. It has won awards, been featured on TV, and the food justifies that. The Sink is sort of a dive bar looking restaurant. I highly recommend the Buff Mac which is a delicious Mac and Cheese loaded with Buffalo Chicken, Scallions, and Blue Cheese.