Best Moisturizer to Use With Tretinoin or Retin A Cream



by Lydia


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While tretinoin is an amazing skin repair treatment for damaged skin and an anti-aging ingredient, it can also lead to skin problems like redness, drying, and swelling. Therefore, it is best to use it with a good moisturizer to get the full effects of treatment. The best moisturizer to use with tretinoin can work wonders for your skin by nourishing it with intense hydration.

When using the tretinoin treatment, the skin becomes sensitive. As a result, you need to get the best tretinoin-compatible hydrating moisturizer to ensure your skin continues to look healthy and smooth. If you are hoping to find the best moisturizer to use with tretinoin cream, this guide will provide you with some top moisturizers and some useful tips to ensure you get only the best.

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What Is Tretinoin?

Tretinoin, also known as Retin A, is a topical form of vitamin A known to work both as a chemical exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory. In addition, it increases the skin cell turnover, which is the rate at which the skin produces new skin cells. By increasing skin cell turnover, tretinoin helps prevent breakouts and clogged pores, getting rid of stubborn acne.

Tretinoin has proven to be an effective treatment for acne, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines; unfortunately, it comes with a few side effects. One of the main effects is that it tends to dry out your skin, but an effort to hydrate your skin using a high-quality moisturizer will come to your rescue.

A combination of a moisturizer and a good tretinoin cream will lead to well-hydrated acne-free skin. So, to help you achieve this with your Retin A or tretinoin cream, here are some of the best moisturizers to use with tretinoin cream to achieve smooth and acne-free skin.

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Formulated with hyaluronic acid, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream for Retin A ensures the dry and irritated skin remains smooth and super hydrated. It comes in handy to lock the moisture for a long time and restore the skin barrier.

It boasts a non-comedogenic formula that is dermatologist recommended and absorbs faster to the skin. In addition, it repairs skin damage and reduces skin irritation. This moisturizer can ve used with all skin types, including sensitive skin, as it is fragrance-free, dye-free, and oil-free.

The hyaluronic acid in the formula acts as a hydrator to attract and lock in the moisture in the skin. It provides rapid skin hydration relieving intense dryness and providing a long-lasting moisturizing ability. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and supple all through the day


  • Dye-free and oil-free
  • Great for dry and sensitive skin
  • Leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Non-comedogenic


  • Some users may find it a bit greasy

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While acne can be painful, it is even more painful having to deal with the discomfort and side effects of using Retin A treatment. This is why you need a good moisturizer. As one of the recommended and best moisturizers to use with tretinoin, the CeraVe PM Ultra-Lightweight Face Moisturizer is formulated using MVE technology with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three essential ceramides.

It comes in handy to help calm the skin as it helps retain the skin's moisture and restore the skin barrier. This product is dermatologist recommended and is quite gentle on the skin. This makes it suitable for oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, and acne-prone skin.

It features a smooth and rich yet lightweight texture that spreads out easily on the skin and ensures it is absorbed faster, providing a non-greasy finish. In addition, the hyaluronic acid in the Cerave moisturizing cream formula boosts skin hydration, and the niacinamide prevents skin irritation and leaves the skin feeling calm.


  • Non-comedogenic
  • Great for all skin types
  • Allergy tested
  • Helps restore the skin's natural barrier
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Paraben and fragrance-free


  • Some people may find the consistency to be a bit too thick

Another one of the best moisturizers to use with Retin A cream is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. This moisturizer restores skin health as it boasts a high concentration of prebiotic thermal water, niacinamide, ceramide-3 and glycerin.

It is an oil-free moisturizer that has a creamy texture that moisturizes the skin and locks the moisture for 48 hours. This moisturizing cream is allergy tested, and dermatologist recommended, suitable for sensitive skin and won't clog pores. It helps maintain and restore the skin's natural barrier making it a perfect addition to your self-care routine.

This hydrating moisturizer offers up to 48 hours of hydration and restores the skin's barrier function after only one hour to make your skin smooth and heal out any flaky skin. Furthermore, this Retin A moisturizer can be used on both hands and face.


  • Restores skin barrier
  • Fragrance and paraben-free
  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Allergy-tested


  • Requires a bit more time to be absorbed by the skin

One important part of any skin-care routine that includes the use of tretinoin is sun protection. The EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best sunscreens that work great with tretinoin. It provides excellent protection against UV rays.

This product has a formula that protects the skin from sun damage but also has hyaluronic acid to hydrate your dry skin all day and boost the moisture content of the skin. It absorbs quickly and beautifully into the skin and is light enough, meaning it can be worn under makeup.

The hyaluronic acid in the formula also helps in diminishing wrinkles and fine lines. This product is great for a normal combination, mature skin, post-procedure, and sun-damaged skin. For anyone looking for an excellent facial moisturizer that makes the skin soft and leaves the skin protected from the sun, then this is a great option for tretinoin treatment.


  • Offers sun protection
  • Boosts moisture retention
  • Diminishes fine lines
  • A little goes a long way
  • Great for dry and combination skin
  • Fragrance-free


  • Not the best for sensitive skin
  • Pricey

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Looking for a great moisturize that is affordable? The Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen is not only known for being effective, but it is also an affordable moisturizer Retinol cream dryness. In addition, it includes a broad spectrum SPF 30 for sun protection.

The non-comedogenic and lightweight formula is recommended by dermatologists. It uses oleosome technology and micropearl technology to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, absorb the surface oil to give a matte finish, and soothe skin restore the skin's barrier.

This moisturizing lotion offers maximum hydration to the skin and won't leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy, making it a great addition to your skin care. In addition, its oil-free formula won't clog your pores or cause any kind of irritation to your skin. 


  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Hydrates your skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Protects from harmful sun rays
  • Non-greasy
  • Fragrance-free
  • Provides a matte-finish


  • Contains phenoxyethanol

How To Use Hydrating Moisturizer To Use With Tretinoin Cream

Here are a few crucial steps you should follow once you get the best moisturizer to use with tretinoin;

  1. Apply the tretinoin cream, then wait for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Apply your moisturizer. Avoid applying too much at once
  3. If you're applying tretinoin at night and leaving it to stay overnight, ensure you wash it off in the morning using a gentle cleanser.
  4. Once the face is fully cleansed, apply a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.

What Should You Consider When Purchasing the Best Moisturizer to Use With Tretinoin?

1. Ingredients

While using tretinoin, it is recommended to avoid moisturizers with glycolic acid, lactic acid, harsh alcohols, benzoyl peroxide, and Vitamin C. For a Retin A cream, a mild cleanser and moisturizer are the best. As a result, you should look out for products with ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, aloe vera, antioxidants, oat kernel extract, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid as they come in handy to hydrate and soothe the skin.

2. Skin Type

Like all skincare products, the best moisturizers to use with Retin A depend on your skin type, skin texture, and skin tone. Although most moisturizers can be used for all skin types, there are some designed specifically for some skin types. Before purchasing any moisturizer, it is important to ensure it is compatible with your skin type, especially if you have sensitive skin.

It is also a great idea to consult with your dermatologist if you're not sure about the product's compatibility with your skin. It is also best to conduct a patch test to ensure the product won't react to the skin. Doing this will help you prevent further breakouts and ensure the product is good at soothing irritated skin.

3. SPF Formula

When you're using a Retin A cream, the skin tends to become more sensitive to the sun. Getting a moisturizer with SPF will help protect your skin from sunburns and boost your efforts of treating acne with Retin-A cream.

4. Non-comedogenic and Hypoallergenic

It is recommended to find a moisturizer that is hypoallergenic to prevent allergic reactions, especially if you have extremely sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic products are free of the most common allergens.

Furthermore, if you're using a Retin-A cream for hypersensitive skin, you want to ensure that the formula is non-comedogenic to reap maximum skin benefits. A non-comedogenic formula ensures that the product doesn't clog your pores and worsen your breakouts.

5. Price

Before buying a moisturizer, you should consider the price since they come at different prices. When it comes to a moisturizer, you don't necessarily need to invest in super expensive moisturizers. There are many budget-friendly options available in the market that also work well. Always ensure that the product gives a good value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Moisturizers

1. Can you mix tretinoin with moisturizer?

Yes, it is pretty safe to mix your tretinoin with a moisturizer, although it is not recommended. Dermatologists recommend applying the moisturizer right after the Retin A cream so as to achieve maximum benefits. Since using tretinoin only on the skin can lead to effects like chapped skin or dryness, the best moisturizers to use with Retin A will help reduce the effects. A good moisturizer will, for example, reduce itchiness on the skin, swelling or redness on the skin. If you avoid using a moisturizer, you may be prone to many skin issues while undergoing the treatment.

2. Can you leave tretinoin cream on overnight?

Yes, you can. You can always use the tretinoin as a night cream and leave it overnight. When the morning comes, you need to use a gentler cleanser to wash it off so that it doesn't react with other topical products you will be using during the day.

3. How can you prevent dry skin when using tretinoin?

One of the major and common side effects of using tretinoin alone is the dryness of the skin. To prevent getting dry skin after using this treatment, combining it with a good moisturizer is important. The moisturizer will help reduce the effects of dryness, among other effects like swelling or redness on the skin. However, you should always ensure that the moisturizer is effective and compatible with Tretinoin cream. Find a moisturizer that is free from common irritants and is very hydrating to the skin.

4. How often should you apply Retin-A?

The number of times you need to use Retin A is dependent on a number of factors, including the experience level. If it is your first time using the Retin A treatment, applying it every third night or every other night is advisable. As you become more experienced and your skin starts adjusting to the Retin A treatment, you can then apply it daily or more frequently, as advised by the manufacturer or your dermatologist.


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