Whether you’re fighting breakouts or trying to prevent skin aging, tretinoin cream can help. Known by its brand name Retin-A, it is one of the most effective prescription acne treatments and is also used to reduce wrinkles, improve spotty discoloration, and unclog pores. It works by speeding up the turnover of skin cells, and it can take weeks or even months before you see noticeable results. However, it’s important to use tretinoin correctly to avoid irritation and other side effects.
Tretinoin is a derivative of Vitamin A and works by changing the way your body produces new skin cells. Unlike over-the-counter retinol products, which work by making your skin more sensitive to sun damage, tretinoin actually enters the cell and changes the way it functions. It increases the rate at which old skin cells are replaced, and it decreases the growth of excess oil and the formation of blackheads. It can also slow the breakdown of collagen in the skin, which helps fight fine lines and wrinkles.
The medication is available in several strengths, and your doctor will advise you on which form to use based on factors like your skin type, sensitivity, and how often you want to apply it (every night, every other night, etc). You should wash your face with a mild cleanser 2 to 3 times per day and pat dry before applying tretinoin. It’s best to avoid facial scrubs, harsh soaps, and hair removal methods such as waxing or electrolysis while using it.
If you notice extreme sensitivity, redness, burning, or blisters while using the medication, stop it immediately and tell your doctor. Avoid direct sunlight and excessive exposure to wind or cold weather. It’s also recommended to use sunscreen daily and cover your face with clothing when outdoors. It’s also best to avoid using other acne medications and topical products containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid while using tretinoin.
While this product can be very beneficial, it is a strong prescription medication. It’s important to start out at a low dose, and only increase your dosage as directed by your physician. If you do not experience results after a few weeks, talk to your dermatologist or doctor for additional suggestions.
Pandia Health’s Editorial Team
This medication is flammable, so do not store it near heat or flame. Keep the container tightly closed when not in use. It’s also a good idea to keep it out of the reach of children and pets.