Tretinoin cream is a medication used to treat acne 1. According to Drugs.com, it is a vitamin A derivative that induces skin-cell turnover and allows the skin cells to stay separated. MedlinePlus says that tretinoin cream causes your skin to peel and helps unclog your pores 12. Tretinoin is available as a 0.1 percent-strength cream and should be applied to the affected region of your face daily or as your doctor prescribes 1.
Common Side Effects
According to Drugs.com, common side effects of tretinoin cream include:
- red skin
- sunlight sensitivity 1
In a double-blind controlled study of 339 patients using tretinoin, the National Library of Medicine says that almost all the patients experienced at least one of the side effects. Specifically, 32 percent developed skin irritation. These side effects aren't life threatening, but call your doctor if these symptoms persist for two to three days. Typically, these side effects should decrease over time.
- According to Drugs.com, common side effects of tretinoin cream include: * red skin
* sunlight sensitivity 1 In a double-blind controlled study of 339 patients using tretinoin, the National Library of Medicine says that almost all the patients experienced at least one of the side effects.
- Typically, these side effects should decrease over time.
Harmful Side Effects
How to Use Retin-A 0.05
Tretinoin cream can cause such harmful side effects as changes in your skin color, sores, blisters and crusting of your skin, says MedlinePlus 12. It may also cause intense redness and swelling. Discontinue retinoin and call your doctor immediately.
It is unknown whether tretinoin can pass into breast milk or affect your child during pregnancy. Tell your physician whether you want to breastfeed or happen to be pregnant. Your doctor will evaluate whether it is risky to continue tretinoin.
Tretinoin is meant for topical use only and shouldn't be ingested 2. Call 911 if you accidentally ingest tretinoin.
The National Library of Medicine recommends that you not combine tretinoin with thiazides, phenothiazines, tetracyclines, flouroquinolones or sulfonamides. Doing so can lead to severe phototoxicity, a condition in which your skin becomes severely irritated due to sunlight exposure. Blistering and swelling can result.
Take caution when using tretinoin if you suffer from eczema, a skin condition characterized by extremely itchy rashes. You may develop severe irritation.
- It is unknown whether tretinoin can pass into breast milk or affect your child during pregnancy.
- Drugs.com warns that you should avoid using other topical creams or makeup while using tretinoin 1.
How to Use Retin-A 0.05
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- Drugs.com: Tretinoin Cream
- MedlinePlus: Tretinoin Topical
- Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. RETIN-A® (tretinoin). Published June 10, 2002.
- Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74(5):945-73.e33. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.12.037
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC. Retin-A Micro (tretinoin) Gel microsphere. Updated January 2014.
- Kircik LH. Evaluating Tretinoin Formulations in the Treatment of Acne. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2014 Apr;13(4):466-70.
- Nohynek GJ. Commentary on the Safety of Topical Vitamin A in Cosmetics. Regululatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2017 Oct;89:302-304. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2017.08.002
- Watson KD, Miest RY, Tollefson MM. Isotretinoin for Acne and Rosacea. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2016 Jun;35(2):79-86. doi:10.12788/j.sder.2016.023
Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and various online publications. She holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's in biomedicine, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Boston College.