Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A designed to renew skin. The brand Retin-A is designed to treat acne, while the brand Renova is designed to reduce fine wrinkles and skin discoloration. However, Retin-A can be used for other purposes too.
Retin-A must be used for the duration of time it has been prescribed. Improvement may not become apparent until weeks or months. If you use Retin-A to treat acne, the acne may get slightly worse when treatment first begins. However, contact your health-care provider if you experience severe irritation or if your acne doesn’t improve within eight to 12 weeks.
Use Retin-A exactly as prescribed by your doctor and take note of all written directions. Do not use larger or smaller doses of medicine than recommended. Using more medicine than prescribed or more often will not speed the healing process and may increase side effects.
Wash your hands before and after application. Allow your skin to dry for 20-30 minutes before applying as it is important for your skin to be completely dry before application. Avoid washing or applying other products to the afflicted area for at least one hour after application.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one.
Store Retin-A at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and open flame. Make sure the bottle is tightly closed.
While using Retin-A, avoid sunlight and artificial UV rays, like those used in sunlamps and tanning beds. Retin-A can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight so it may be easier to get sunburnt. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
Avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, nose, and lips, as well as damaged, sunburned, or injured skin. Avoid contact with eczema. Don’t use Retin-A until these skin conditions have healed.
It is unknown whether Retin-A will harm an unborn baby or pass into breast milk. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant, plan to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Retin-A is flammable. Do not smoke until the medication has dried on your skin.
Always inform your health-care provider of all medical conditions, allergies, and other drugs you may be taking.
Find emergency medical assistance if you suspect an allergic reaction, or if you experience severe burning, swelling, redness, stinging, irritation, blistering, peeling or crusting on your skin.
Your skin may be more sensitive to cold and wind when tretinoin is applied.
Other common side effects may include changes in skin color and mild stinging and warmth on the applied area.
This is not a complete list of side effects. Ask your doctor for more information.
Avoid skin products that may be irritating, such as harsh soaps and shampoos, skin cleansers, hair-care chemicals, waxes, and products with spices, lime, astringents, or alcohol.
While using Retin-A, do not use other skin products that contain these ingredients unless your doctor tells you to. Sulphur, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and resorcinol. Let your doctor know the other drugs you take, including vitamins, supplements, herbs, recreational, and over-the-counter drugs.