How to Use Tretinoin (Retin-A)

Tretinoin (Retin-A) works to improve skin’s appearance by enhancing and boosting the natural skin renewal process. It also enhances collagen production, decreases dark spots and wrinkles and minimizes pores.

This topical medication requires a doctor’s prescription. It may make you more sensitive to sunlight, increasing your risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

How to Use

Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A that can be found in many over-the-counter skincare products. Tretinoin, on the other hand, is a synthetic version of vitamin A that requires a prescription from your doctor.

To maximize your tretinoin results, wash your face with a mild cleanser twice or three times a day, and moisturize well. It’s also important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a hat while using this medication, as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Those with very sensitive skin should start with a lower-potency tretinoin gel (such as Obagi’s micronized tretinoin 0.05%). It is also recommended to avoid any laser, chemical or waxing treatments while using this medication. Always tell your doctor or skin care specialist if you are going to have these procedures done. This medicine interacts with many different drugs and can increase your risk of side effects if used with certain ones. For this reason, it’s important to keep a list of all the medications and supplements you use.


It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when applying this medication. Do not apply more than prescribed because this can irritate the skin and will not help your acne clear any faster. If you have very sensitive skin, it may be better to use the lotion form of this medication rather than the gel. Do not put this medication on cuts, scrapes, sunburns, or eczema-affected areas of the skin. If it gets into your eyes, rinse well with water. The lotion formulation contains fish protein; if you have a fish allergy, talk to your doctor before using this medication.

This medication should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is not known whether tretinoin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. If you become pregnant while using this medication, stop the treatment immediately and contact your doctor. Use 2 acceptable forms of birth control during treatment and for 1 month after to prevent pregnancy.

Side Effects

The use of tretinoin can cause dryness, redness, or peeling of the skin. This usually begins in the first few weeks of treatment and improves as your skin gets used to the medication. To help minimize these side effects, use a mild soap to wash your face and apply a moisturizer after each washing. Avoid exposure to sunlight, especially when using this medication. If you cannot avoid sun exposure, use broad-spectrum sunscreen products and wear protective clothing.

This medication can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, acitretinib (Afinitor), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and diuretics. It can also increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and may make you more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer.

This medication should not be used during pregnancy. There are no controlled studies of this drug’s safety for use during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Effective birth control should be used for one month before starting tretinoin, and two forms of birth control should be used together during this time.


While the medication is being used, avoid exposure to sunlight. Tretinoin can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and may cause sunburn. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) whenever you go outdoors. It is also important to protect yourself from artificial light sources like sunlamps.

Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 that offers numerous skin benefits such as improved skin barrier function, reduced inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It works well with tretinoin to offer an effective anti-ageing and anti-acne combination.

Each gram of gel contains 0.05% tretinoin. The other ingredients include methylcellulose, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, polyoxyl 40 stearate, sorbic acid and purified water. GELS ARE FLAMMABLE. Do not apply excessively or you may experience redness, peeling and irritation. Unless directed to do so by your doctor, avoid using the gel on areas of the body other than the area being treated. Also, if the medication gets in your eyes, nose or mouth, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. tretinoin gel

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