4 Tips to Use Retin-A and Hydroquinone for Great Skin

Aging gracefully is the goal of many women. While good genes help, using Retin-A and Hydroquinone together is a simple, low cost, and very effective way to maintain a youthful appearance.

This post will give you a step by step guide on how to use retinol. hydroquinone, and vitamin C serum to refresh your complexion.

If you are beautifying your skin in preparation for a trip, you may be interested in 5 Must Have Makeup Products which include travel sized products to keep your skin looking great on vacation. Other great beauty items can also be found in our 20 Minimalist Travel Accessories.

Retin-A (generic is tretinoin)

Most beauty professionals recommend the of retinoids by women over 35 at least once a week. 

A prescription strength retinol, like Retin-A, increases cellular turnover, improves skin tone and pore size, and increases collagen production. It is highly effective for treating wrinkles, acne, and sun damaged skin too.

Some women are concerned that their skin will  become red and flakey due to Retin-A. It’s true that you will probably have peeling at first, but you can minimize the amount by ramping up slowly and giving your skin time to adjust..

If used correctly these potential side effects will not be present and the results will be glowing skin. Additionally, if you are experiencing break outs or have a teenager in your house, Retin-A may be the miracle you have been seeking.

How to use Retin-A

The thing that is difficult for most people is that they start using Retin-A too rapidly.

Since this medication is prescribed by a doctor, you should always follow your physician’s advice. I am not a physician and this post just includes my experience in using these creams.

Just for reference, I have sensitive skin and I have to be careful about what I use. If you have extremely sensitive skin, this might not be for you and your should trust your doctor’s advice.

On the other hand, if your skin is not sensitive like mine, you might be able to start out using retinol every other day and speed up the process I use below.

I always get peeling and redness in the beginning. Using lotion and sunscreen makes it better. Putting makeup on top only highlights the peeling. Don’t start right before a big event when you have to see lots of people.

This is my process. Always use at night.

  1. First 2 weeks – Apply Retin-A every 3rd day before bed (if your skin is very sensitive, do every 4th day to start).
  2. Weeks 3 & 4 – Apply every other day.
  3. Week 5 and beyond – daily usage.
  4. Make sure you are always wearing sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure because the Retin-A will make your skin more sensitive. Tula makes a great broad spectrum sunscreen that can be worn with to without makeup. EltaMD is a broad spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen that’s great for sensitive skin.


Hydroquinone Cream is a bleaching cream that is used to lighten uneven skin tone and brown spots. You can use Hydroquinone and Retin-A together to brighten your skin.

You can find the cream on Amazon pharmacy.

The 2 creams can be used together for 3 months at a time, then you need to take a break.

Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C Serum rounds out the trifecta of making your skin look amazing. Use every morning under moisturizer and/or foundation. It is a wonderful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and stimulates collagen production.

Retin-A and Hydroquinone Application

  1. At night, wash your face. Once it is completely dry, apply Retin-A. Keep it away from your eyes, nostrils and mouth.
  2. Then apply Hydroquinone cream on top.
  3. Apply moisturizer.
  4. In the morning on clean skin, apply Vitamin C serum.
  5. Apply a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen on top

Get maximum results by using all of these products on the neck, chest, the backs of the hands and the face. The use of these creams can dramatically transform skin quality in as little as a month. The low cost and no downtime makes good skin care one of the best investments you can make.

How to Buy Retin-A and Hydroquinone

Since these are prescription products, your first and best option is to contact your doctor. If you are not currently seeing a dermatologist, there are very convenient options to work with online doctors at a service like or Apostrophe.

For those in Los Angeles, Creative Aesthetics is a full-service medical aesthetics practice that offers injectables, medical chemical peels, microneedling, ultherapy and skin care.

Using Retin-A is one of the things that that will give you most bang for your buck. Since we are not medical professionals, work with your physician to design a plan that is best for you.

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Retin-A Hydroquinone

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  • Reply
    November 11, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Due to hyperpigmentation can I use daily retinal and hydroquinone daily.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2022 at 8:46 pm

      If you are not using retinol and hydroquinone currently, it’s important to start slowly to let you skin adjust before daily use. It is also important to take a break from hydroquinone after 3 months. Most of all, it’s very important to have a dermatologist evaluate your skin specifically and make sure that it is the right choice for your situation. Hope it goes well for you.

  • Reply
    Kara Fox
    September 12, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    always…useful and interesting information!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Do you apply the retina and hydroquinone all over your face or just the dark spots?

    • Reply
      August 25, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      I put it on my entire face.

      • Reply
        August 26, 2020 at 2:27 am

        Thank you! My instructions on the rx are not clear.

        • Reply
          August 26, 2020 at 3:23 am

          Absolutely. Just make sure you don’t use it for more than 3 months in a row.

          • Shelli
            June 6, 2022 at 9:50 pm

            Hi Jennifer,
            So if using Hydroquinone for 3 months how long should I stop for before starting again?

          • Jenifer
            June 7, 2022 at 5:21 am

            Hi Shelli. I don’t want to avoid answering your question but I really recommend that you talk to a dermatologist or esthetician for a qualified opinion about your skin and specific situation.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts.! 😊 I was suffering from acne due to my sensitive skin and severe summer heat. I tried my teenage time acne cream in my late twenties but i felt it was too mild to work on my much matured skin like now. Then one of my friend, was a satisfied user of Retin A, suggested me to use Retin A 0.05%. First 2 weeks my acne breakout little more than the usual. but after that, acne seemed to be decreased. Now I am cured and my skin is glowing. And I am quite satisfied with this 😊.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2020 at 4:56 am

    What if your using the hydroquinone 2x a day along with retin a and vitamin c serum?
    I know what to do it the pm but in the am would I put the serum on first or the hydroquinone?

    • Reply
      April 19, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      I have always put the serum first but you should ask your dermatologist. I’m not a doctor and I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong advice. Be careful about how long you use hydroquinone – not more than a few months at a time. Also, make sure you are using sunscreen and a hat. The retin A will make your skin extra sun sensitive, even on a cloudy day.

  • Reply
    Jessica Brown
    November 22, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Can you recommend a good Vitamin C serum?

    • Reply
      November 22, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      I like Perricone MD
      I included a link to Sephora for you. It’s a little expensive but you use a pea sized amount and it lasts forever.

      • Reply
        Ree kritika
        March 23, 2020 at 5:01 pm

        Use tretinoin n hydroquinone mix together put in hyperpigmentation after i left to use hydroquinone only use tretinoin. Is hyperpigmentation gone?

        • Reply
          March 24, 2020 at 6:17 pm

          If you are asking if this works for hyperpigmentation, I have a friend that did this and it was the only thing that worked for her to get rid of hyperpigmentation. I would guess like most things, it works for some people and not for others. Make sure you don’t use hydroquinone longer than you are allowed to. Also, since I am not a doctor, you should talk to your dermatologist about your specific condition to see what they recommend.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Nice job! Beautiful design. Wishing you much success.

  • Reply
    Ashley W Lewis
    September 27, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Very interesting info – like the lay-out!
    Good job!!

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