A topical retinoid made from vitamin A, tretinoin is a versatile medication that helps treat conditions from acne to anti-aging. It works by increasing epidermal turnover, your body’s natural process for replacing old skin cells. This improves the appearance of blemishes, wrinkles, discoloration and rough areas that are common with sun-damaged skin.
Tretinoin is available in two forms, cream and gel. Both perform the same function but the cream formulation may be better suited for dry skin, while the gel is often prescribed for oily or “normal” skin. Both are also typically less expensive than other prescription skincare products.
Initially, tretinoin can cause some irritation to the skin, especially if you’ve used it for the first time or you have sensitive skin. This will likely subside after the first few weeks or months of use as your skin gets used to it. It’s important to note that you should only ever use tretinoin as directed by your dermatologist, as too much can damage or irritate your skin.
When applied properly, tretinoin is an effective and powerful acne treatment for all kinds of skin. Research has shown that it can be used to reduce the number of blemishes, shorten the duration of an outbreak and reduce the severity and redness of any acne you do get. It can also be used to improve the appearance of blemishes that have already cleared up, smoothing the surface of the skin and reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
In addition to its acne-fighting properties, tretinoin can also increase collagen levels in the skin. This reduces the appearance of aging fine lines and wrinkles, increases elasticity and firmness and improves the overall tone and texture of your skin. It can even help to prevent the formation of dark spots or hyperpigmentation, which is commonly seen with long term sun exposure.
While using tretinoin, you’ll want to make sure to protect your skin from UV rays by wearing sunscreen and covering any exposed skin with protective clothing or a hat. Overexposure to sunlight can lead to premature aging of the skin, sunburn, and even skin cancer.
Tretinoin is not recommended for people with certain underlying skin conditions, such as rosacea or eczema, as it can cause sensitivity. It’s also not recommended during pregnancy, as there aren’t enough controlled studies to determine whether the risks outweigh the benefits. You should also avoid contact with other drugs or chemicals that can react negatively with tretinoin. You can check for possible interactions with the RxList drug interaction tool, which is available free online. It’s also best to talk with your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements, before starting a new treatment. tretinoin cream