All About Tretinoin: The Facts Your Skin Wants You to Know

All About Tretinoin: The Facts Your Skin Wants You to Know

Tretinoin cream is arguably one of the most talked-about skin care treatments available. Also known as all-trans retinoic acid, tretinoin is part of the retinoid family -- a class of synthetic and naturally occurring Vitamin A compounds and derivatives. Compared to its cosmetic relatives such as retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl esters, tretinoin is the most potent. For important safety Information about tretinoin, please see below.


Tretinoin was originally developed as an acne treatment in the 1960s. But while researchers were studying its powers to resolve breakouts, they noticed that patients who used it were experiencing an unexpected bonus: an improvement in the appearance of photoaged skin, such as fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin texture.



Certain tretinoin products, such as Refissa and Renova have been supported by well-controlled clinical trials in which users experienced improvements in wrinkling, pigmentation and roughness, as well as in the overall severity of photoaging.



What does tretinoin do for your skin?

The exact mechanism of action is unknown. However, it is known that tretinoin encourages rapid epidermal turnover, meaning skin releases dead cells faster than it otherwise would, to reveal a fresh, glowing complexion.


Under the microscope, researchers have seen tretinoin produce significant changes in epidermal and dermal skin cells and tissues. Users often see an improvement in their acne, and with the tretinoins approved for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and roughness, users see an improvement in these signs of photoaging.



How do I use tretinoin?

You should always follow your physician’s instructions. Usually, tretinoin cream is applied once nightly on the affected area, avoiding the corners of the eyes, nose and mouth. Because it can cause sensitivity in the skin, it is often recommended to start slowly, using it once every few nights and working up to more frequent use. Always consult your skin care professional prior to incorporating a new prescription product into your skin care routine.


Does tretinoin help acne?

Prescription tretinoin gel and cream are clinically proven to improve breakout symptoms and prevent the development of acne.


Does tretinoin have any side effects?

Skin dryness, burning, redness, excessive flaking or peeling are all possible side effects of prescription tretinoin. If you develop these symptoms your healthcare provider may tell you to stop using it for a while, decrease the number of applications, or stop using it completely.


Is tretinoin the same as Retin-A?

Retin-A is a brand name for some tretinoin products, and contains the same active ingredient as generic tretinoin.


Tretinoin takes skin care to a new level

Available by prescription only, tretinoin can have significant results when used on its own, and it can also boost any skin care routine. Obagi’s tretinoin formulas are available in multiple strengths, including .025% and .05% creams and 0.5% and 0.1% gel. Ask your healthcare provider ;about the potential advantages of tretinoin for you as an addition to your skin care regimen.




Important Safety Information: For Topical Use Only


Tretinoin Cream and Gel Indication: Tretinoin Cream and Gels are indicated for topical application in the treatment of acne vulgaris.


Contraindications: Use of the product should be discontinued if hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients is noted.


Precautions:Exposure to sunlight, including sunlamps, should be minimized during the use of Tretinoin Cream and Gel, and patients with sunburn should be advised not to use the product until fully recovered. Patients who have considerable sun exposure due to occupation and those with inherent sensitivity to the sun should exercise particular caution. Use of sunscreen products and protective clothing over treated areas is recommended when exposure cannot be avoided. Weather extremes, such as wind or cold, also may be irritating to patients using tretinoin. Tretinoin Cream and Gel should be kept away from the eyes, the mouth, angles of the nose, and mucous membranes. Topical use may induce severe local erythema and peeling at the site of application. If the degree of local irritation warrants, patients should be directed to use the medication less frequently, discontinue use temporarily, or discontinue use altogether. Tretinoin has been reported to cause severe irritation on eczematous skin and should be used with utmost caution in patients with this condition.


Pregnancy: Tretinoin should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.


Adverse Reactions: The skin of certain sensitive individuals may become excessively red, edematous, blistered, or crusted. If these effects occur, treatment should be discontinued or adjusted to a level the patient can tolerate.


To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS contact FDA at or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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