Treatable

Tretinoin

Retinoid

Tretinoin Oral Capsule

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What is tretinoin?

Tretinoin – also known as retinoic acid – is a synthetic retinoid derived from Vitamin A. It is popular in the skincare world for treating acne and reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark spots, but it is also used medically to treat sun damage.

Tretinoin uses

  • Acne
  • Ageing
  • Dark spots
  • Dermatoheliosis
  • Exfoliation

Tretinoin is used in skincare to treat acne and fight the signs of ageing. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and small wrinkles, as well as brightening the skin and blending dark spots. It is also used to treat long term skin damage caused by the sun.

How does tretinoin work?

Tretinoin stimulates cell regeneration, causing the skin to appear smoother and brighter. It works as an exfoliator, so the older, damaged or discolored cells give way to new cells. In older skin, cell turnover slowing is a leading cause of wrinkles, so speeding up this process can reduce them.

It also helps reduce scarring from acne and sun damage, by stimulating new cell production in the area. In acne, faster cell renewal means less time for bacteria to sit around infecting the skin, so tretinoin can also reduce breakout frequency and severity.

Tretinoin dosage

A thin layer of cream once a day is the usual dose, but a doctor will tell you how much tretinoin to use. Before bed is usually the best time to apply skincare serums and creams because it gives them time to be absorbed without interruption.

Your doctor might give you other advice on how often to use tretinoin, in which case follow their instructions instead.

Tretinoin Side Effects

Tretinoin is safe to use, but the nature of how it works can cause sensitivity in some areas. It may cause redness or sensitivity at the site of use, as well as slight peeling where the old cells are removed to make way for new ones.

Peeling can cause dryness, so use a good moisturizer with tretinoin. Discoloration (lightening or darkening) can also occur from using tretinoin, but these will usually only last for a few weeks from starting treatment.

Tretinoin causes photosensitivity in all skin, so make sure you wear sunscreen after using it.

FAQs

Is tretinoin a retinol?

The difference between tretinoin and retinol is that tretinoin is generally more potent, hence why it is mostly available on prescription only. Retinol converts to retinoic acid once applied, the chemical that tretinoin is already, so takes longer to work.

Does tretinoin expire?

All medications have an expiry date, after which time they may not be as effective. Check the packaging of your tretinoin cream to find out when you should finish it.

Does tretinoin help with acne scars?

Yes. As it stimulates cell regeneration, tretinoin does help to reduce the appearance of scars caused by acne and sun damage.

What strength of tretinoin cream is best for wrinkles?

Studies have found that 0.05% tretinoin and stronger is ideal for removing wrinkles and fine lines, but all strengths can cause irritation. It is therefore recommended to begin on a lower strength and gradually work up to the strength that works for you.

How long does tretinoin purge last?

Despite being an acne treatment, tretinoin can make you break out initially. This is known as a skin purge, and it can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. The purging phase is important for bringing all the bacteria to the surface and removing it from the pores.

What happens if you stop using tretinoin?

If your skin clears, you might be able to stop using tretinoin. Some people do see their complaints reappear on stopping, so work with your doctor or dermatologist to work out what is right for you.

What moisturizer should I use with tretinoin?

You should use a fragrance-free, gentle moisturizer to avoid irritation while using tretinoin. Hyaluronic acid is a good ingredient to look for in a face cream because it is a gentle and effective moisturizer.

Can tretinoin cause acne?

You may experience some breakouts when starting new skincare, which could be the purge phase. Using harsh skincare products can also cause irritation, so check with a doctor or your dermatologist if you are not sure.

Do you put tretinoin on before or after moisturizer?

Tretinoin can irritate the skin, so you might want to apply moisturizer before applying. You might also want to apply moisturizer afterwards to lock it in, which is known as the sandwich method.

Does tretinoin lighten skin?

Yes. Tretinoin does lighten the skin, making it appear brighter and more even.

Can I use niacinamide with tretinoin?

Yes. You can use niacinamide and tretinoin in the same skincare routine.

When does tretinoin purge start?

A tretinoin purge will usually begin during the first few weeks of use, and it can last up to a few months.

Does tretinoin help with blackheads?

Yes. Tretinoin purges the skin of bacteria which might reduce the severity and occurrence of blackheads.

Can I use tretinoin every night?

Yes. You can use tretinoin once a day as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.

Can tretinoin cause hair loss?

Tretinoin should not cause hair loss. If it does, speak with your doctor.

Can you use clindamycin and tretinoin together?

Yes. Your doctor may prescribe you a combination of clindamycin and tretinoin together, but make sure you let them know if you are using any other medications.

Can you use salicylic acid with tretinoin?

No. Unless your doctor or dermatologist advises otherwise, you should not use any other exfoliating medications with tretinoin.

Does tretinoin make your skin peel?

Yes. Tretinoin often causes peeling, which is the old cells being removed from your face.

Do you need a prescription for tretinoin?

Yes. You usually need a prescription for tretinoin.

Can you use vitamin c with tretinoin?

You can use vitamin c while also using tretinoin, but it might be best to use vitamin c in the morning. They are both potent products for one, but vitamin c is also great for daytime use because of its antioxidant properties.

Can you mix tretinoin with moisturizer?

Yes. For anyone with sensitive skin, try starting by mixing a small amount of 0.025% tretinoin with your favorite fragrance-free moisturizer.

Can you use benzoyl peroxide with tretinoin?

Generally, you should not use benzoyl peroxide with tretinoin, but your doctor might prescribe both to be used at different times.

Can I use hyaluronic acid with tretinoin?

Yes. Hyaluronic acid is a good hydrator to use with tretinoin because it is gentle and effective.

Conditions tretinoin might help

Acne

Research consistently shows that tretinoin is an effective treatment for reducing inflammation, pigmentation, irritation and perceived severity of acne in a huge range of participants.

Anti-aging

Multiple studies support the use of 0.05% tretinoin cream for reducing the appearance of ageing skin. More recent studies show that just 0.02% cream is also highly effective at reducing fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration, and is also better tolerated.

Dermatoheliosis

Clinical trials support the use of 0.02% tretinoin cream in reducing the appearance of skin damage caused by the sun.

Tretinoin contraindicated conditions:

Tretinoin desired effects:

  • Decreased Sebaceous Gland Quantity
  • Decreased Epithelial Proliferation
  • Decreased Sebaceous Gland Activity

Tretinoin drug classes:

  • Retinoid

Tretinoin pharmacologic actions:

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Dermatologic Agents

Tretinoin mechanism of action:

  • Receptor Interactions
  • Unknown Cellular or Molecular Interaction
  • treatable

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Last updated: 9/24/2021, 6:12:05 PM