Tretinoin Cream is an acne treatment and anti-aging skincare product that resurfaces skin to reduce hyperpigmentation, breakouts, scarring, and rough areas. It works by regulating the speed at which your body replaces old skin cells, allowing your newer, fresher cells to shine through. This is why it’s an effective first-line treatment for acne and aging – it actually treats the root cause of the problem rather than masking symptoms.
Tretinoin is only available with a prescription and cannot be bought over-the-counter (OTC) – it’s far too strong for your skin. It penetrates your skin and quickly changes the way it behaves, directing cell behavior such as what job they should do, how fast they should grow, and when they should die (Yoham, 2020; Zasada, 2019). Tretinoin also minimizes pores, decreases oily sebum, and evens out skin pigmentation. It can also help treat acne by cleaning out clogged pores, and can prevent breakouts and scarring by preventing over-production of oil (Leyden, 2017).
In clinical studies on humans, it’s been found to significantly reduce enlarged pores and improve skin texture by accelerating the turnover of dead skin cells (Zasada, 2019). It also improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, and other cosmetic imperfections like uneven skin tone and discoloration caused by acne (Leyden, 2017).
When applied correctly, tretinoin is very safe and effective. It’s important to avoid excess application or it can cause severe irritation, redness and peeling at the site of the application. It’s also very important to protect your skin from sunlight while using this medication. It can make your skin more sensitive to both natural and artificial sunlight (like that from sunlamps) which could increase your risk of burning or developing early skin aging and skin cancer.
It’s recommended to apply tretinoin gel or cream once a day, before bedtime. Use enough to lightly cover the area of your skin with acne lesions, bumps or scars. It may take 2-4 weeks for you to notice an improvement in your skin. If you have a burning sensation, dryness or itching during this time, stop using the medication and call your doctor.
Some tretinoin gels and creams are made with fish proteins, so be careful if you have an allergy to fish. If you experience an allergic reaction such as a red, itchy rash (hives), discontinue use and call your doctor immediately.
It’s important to moisturize your skin daily while using tretinoin, especially during the first 4-6 weeks of use. It’s also a good idea to avoid using any skincare products that will dry your skin, such as harsh soaps and exfoliators, or any products containing sulfur, lime, resorcinol, and salicylic acid.
Because tretinoin is a powerful medicine, it’s not recommended for pregnant women or people who are taking oral contraceptives. It’s also not safe for children, so it’s important to use two forms of birth control or have a negative pregnancy test before starting this medication and check regularly during treatment (Yoham, 2020). If you are unsure about your contraceptive plan, talk with your provider. tretinoin cream