Timing is key: Adjusting your skincare routine before a facial procedure

Amir Karam MD Founder / Creator KaramMD

This is a great question I always get: “When do I have to stop using my retinol products before a facial procedure or treatment?” The answer depends on which products you’re using and your skin type. I recently answered this question with an Instagram reel and explained why you must stop using certain skincare products before a facial procedure.

Skincare products to avoid before facial procedure.

Your daily skincare routine could contain ingredients that alter the results of your facial procedure. Some examples include the following exfoliating actives:

  • Retinol

  • Alpha hydroxy acids

  • Beta hydroxy acids

  • Prescription tretinoin

  • Glycolic acid

  • Benzoyl peroxide

That’s because these ingredients increase skin cell turnover. If the cells are prepped for removal and mechanical irritation is added, irritation and redness can occur and ruin the results of your facial procedure.

Superficial dryness may occur two days after using retinol and acids, causing invisible cracks on your skin's surface. Later in a facial treatment or procedure, ingredients can penetrate through these cracks and cause a stinging sensation. Additionally, the flakiness you may be experiencing is probably not ready to be removed during your facial; the exfoliants used may lift away 'live' cells attached to dead, expired cells, leaving the skin red and irritated.

When to stop using skincare products before a facial procedure

I tell my patients to stop using skincare products that contain these actives (specifically retinol) at least three days before their procedure or treatment. Retinol is a powerful exfoliant that can increase skin sensitivity, so stopping use 3-7 days before will reduce the risk of skin irritation. You could even give it an entire week if you have extra sensitive skin. This goes for treatments such as chemical peels, lasers, and microneedling.

Restart with Trifecta

About one week after your facial procedure, you can resume your skincare routine containing the ingredients mentioned above. Ensure the best results post treatment and look as young as you feel by treating your face with KaramMD Skin’s Trifecta, a three-step collection of products designed for easy, daily use. 

I designed the Trifecta to be incredibly effective but also easy to use. A fourth product, Polish, provides weekly exfoliation to keep your skin fresh and vibrant without irritation. I selected ingredients that:

  • Boost collagen production

  • Improve skin elasticity

  • Remove dead, dull skin cells

  • Hydrate and plump the skin

  • Smooth wrinkles

  • Firm the skin

  • Provide a fresh, youthful, renewed appearance

Revitalize Your Skin With Polish

Polish is an enzymatic exfoliator in the form of ultra-fine powders. This product is designed to gently buff away the top layer of dead, dull skin cells to achieve a fresh-faced, radiant appearance instantly. 

Polish is formulated from the following ingredients:

  • Papain

  • Oryza sativa (rice)

  • Camellia sinensis (matcha)

  • Bambusa vulgaris (bamboo) stem

  • Coco Nucifera (coconut) milk

While Polish is being applied, it is digesting the dead skin cells and dull layers of the skin for a brightening and smoothing effect. Polish is a favorite for many people because it achieves immediate, glowing results.

I recommend using POLISH to exfoliate regularly, about 2-3 times a week, to promote long-term hydration and a smooth, glowing complexion. 

Dr. Amir Karam, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon


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