What to Expect when treating Acne With Tretinoin (Retina)

Use tretinoin to treat acne

Tretinoin, also known as vitamin A, is a retinoid. It stimulates cell turnover. As new skin cells emerge, dead skin cells are removed from your skin faster.

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A faster cell turnover will open your pores and release trapped bacteria or irritants which are causing your breakouts.

Retinoids like tretinoin can also regulate your skin’s natural oil production (sebum), which can help prevent future breakouts. They are also anti-inflammatory and can clear up active acne pustules.

For wrinkles, use Tretinoin

For its effect on visible signs of aging, Tretinoin has been extensively studied.

The appearance of wrinkles can be reduced by using Tretinoin cream. This is why tretinoin has become a very popular ingredient in OTC eye and face creams.

Treatment for acne scarring with Tretinoin

You can also use tretinoin to reduce the appearance of scarring from acne. Tretinoin can stimulate new cell growth by increasing cell turnover.

Multiple forms of Tretinoin have been proven to be effective in treating acne scarring. Sometimes, Tretinoin can also be used to prepare skin for chemical peels that target scarring.

Tretinoin side effects

Side effects can occur when you use tretinoin to treat acne. Side effects may not be experienced by everyone. Some side effects can be more severe than others. Side effects could include:

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  • Itching or burning skin
  • Redness or peeling of your skin
  • Unusual dryness to your skin
  • Your skin feels soft and warm to the touch

Your skin becomes lighter at the site where tretinoin has been applied

You may not see any results for up to 12 weeks after using tretinoin to treat acne. You may notice skin irritation after using it. Consult a doctor to determine if you are in the normal range for OTC tretinoin.

People who are pregnant or nursing should not take Tretinoin.

Use tretinoin with care when you are exposed to the sun. The skin may be more sensitive to the sun for the first few weeks due to decreased skin cell turnover and reduced sebum. This can lead to sunburn and skin damage.

Wear sunscreen when you go outside. Consider additional preventative measures like wearing a hat that has a brim.

Stop using tretinoin if you experience an allergic reaction or severe side effects. Get medical attention immediately.

Interactions with drugs

Other topical acne medication can react with tretinoin. They may irritate or worsen side effects like a burning sensation.

Avoid using any other topical treatments, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, while you are using tretinoin.

Avoid products that dry out your skin such as alcohol-based cleansers and astringents.

How to use tretinoin to treat acne

Start with a cream or gel with a very low concentration (0.025 percent) tretinoin. As your skin gets used to the treatment, you can increase the amount if necessary.

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To safely and effectively apply tretinoin:

Use warm water to wash your skin and then dry it with a towel before applying any topical medication for acne. Before applying any creams or lotions to your skin, wash your hands. Before you apply any cream or lotion to your skin, wait a while.

Use just enough medication to cover the affected areas. It is not necessary to apply a thick layer on your face. You should only need a small amount to cover your entire face.

Use the tips of your fingertips to spread the medication out from your sensitive areas, such as your eyes and nostrils. Apply the cream or gel to your face gently and allow it to absorb fully.

Apply tretinoin at night to get the best results. It will absorb into your skin and interact less with the sun while you sleep. You should not apply makeup within the first hour after this treatment.

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If, after 8 to 12 weeks, you don’t see any improvement in your skin, speak with a dermatologist (a skin doctor) about prescription-strength tretinoin or other treatment options.