Timing is Key: Guide to Adjusting Your Skincare Routine with Facial Treatments

skincare products

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.

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


These ingredients enhance skin cell turnover, which is beneficial for skin health and appearance.

However, this property can also heighten skin sensitivity and the risk of adverse reactions during facial procedures. If these cells are already primed for removal before your treatment, the addition of mechanical irritation (like laser treatments, chemical peels, microneedling, or microdermabrasion) can lead to irritation and redness, potentially compromising the results of your facial procedure.

After using Retinol and acids, you may experience superficial dryness, resulting in tiny cracks on the skin's surface. During a facial treatment or procedure, these cracks can allow ingredients to penetrate into your skin, causing a stinging sensation.

Also, any flakiness from your products might not be ready for removal during your facial, and the exfoliants used might remove 'live' cells attached to dead ones, leaving your skin irritated and red.

It's essential to consider these factors and adjust your skincare routine accordingly to ensure the best results from your facial procedures.

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. 

Restart Your Skincare Routine 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. 

Amir Karam MD

Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon
Founder / Creator of KaramMD Skin

Dr. Amir Karam is a renowned facial cosmetic surgeon and an authority in his field. With over two decades of experience helping patients achieve a younger, refreshed appearance. In addition to surgical procedures that sculpt a youthfully-defined facial shape, Dr. Karam takes the quality of the skin into account.


KaramMD Customer Support Team

Hi Claire,

Thank you for your message! The trifecta, with a daily SPF on top, will prevent your melasma and sun damage from worsening but it will not completely erase it. The trifecta can help lighten and brighten the skin, because of the active ingredients it contains. If you want to try to completely rid of your melasma and existing sun damage, I recommend the trifecta alongside professional treatments at your local trusted dermatology clinic. They can give you prescription strength hydroquinone (if you are a candidate) that you can use in conjunction with the trifecta as well as recommended treatments in office.

Please keep in mind the melasma is a medical condition and we are no medical experts. Always consult with your physician or qualified healthcare provider before making any changes to your skincare routine, using new products, or addressing specific skin concerns. Your healthcare provider is best suited to evaluate your individual needs and provide personalized advice and recommendations.

Claire Lomibao

Hi Dr, Karam,
My name is Claire and I am a RN, and I truly appreciate how you go above and beyond to make us understand Melasma condition. That way, our compliance attitude is better achieved.
I want to start on your regimen. I have tried all those lasers, hydroquinone from low to the highest dose, chemical peels, etc… I got tired and stopped everything a year ago except just using great sunscreen. I am
now in search of a reliable treatment and doctor who can address my problem with the proper tx. I have watched several of your videos and newsletter, and I admire how you explain/educate people about Melasma.
Do you do consultation prior to use of your product or a photo would be sufficient enough to make your diagnosis?
Please advise.

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