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Tretinoin Gel

Tretinoin is an effective topical medication that helps treat acne and renew your skin. It belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids, which treat sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. Acne is a skin disorder in which dead skin cells and oil block hair follicles. Tretinoin contains retinoic acid that loosens and unblocks skin surface pores by decreasing oil secretion in your skin. This further effectively prevents the formation of blackheads, pimples, and whiteheads on your skin. Tretinoin treats rough skin, fine wrinkles, and dark spots on your face caused by damaging sun rays. Several diverse brand names market it, with Retin-A being one of them.

What are the uses of Tretinoin Cream?

Tretinoin cream is highly effective in treating mild to moderate acne. Here are some other uses of Tretinoin cream:

  • Decreasing inflammation linked with acne

  • Exfoliating skin

  • Avoiding follicular plugging

  • Improve skin tone and skin texture.

  • Decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

  • Reduce dark spots

Working Mechanism of Tretinoin Cream

Tretinoin belongs to a class of medications called retinoids. It works by stimulating the peeling of affected skin areas and unclogging pores. This further treats your condition and gives you clean & healthy skin.

How to use Tretinoin Cream?

Follow all directions on your prescription label carefully; if there is any confusion, discuss it with the doctor. Usually, doctors prescribe the use of tretinoin cream at bedtime. Make sure to use this medicine exactly as suggested. Please do not use more or less Tretinoin or use it more often than your doctor directs.

Before applying this medicine:

  1. Wash your skin with a mild cleanser, soap & warm water, and then pat dry. You can also use a particular cleaner if a licensed medical professional suggests it.

  2. Never scrub your face with a washcloth or sponge.

  3. Allow 20-30 minutes for the skin to dry before applying Tretinoin cream.

Applying Tretinoin cream to wet skin may irritate your skin. You need to know that Tretinoin cream is only effective in controlling acne and not curing it. During the first 7 to 10 days of using this medication, your acne might get worse, and there can be an increase in acne sores. But continue using it because acne sores will slowly begin to disappear. Within 2-3 weeks, you will start experiencing noticeable improvement.

Apply enough medication to cover your affected areas like a thin layer. Next, rub in gently. A pea-sized tretinoin cream is enough to cover your whole face. After applying it, wash your hands properly. The doctor might recommend using a moisturizer when using tretinoin lotion form. You may combine Tretinoin with hyaluronic acid, as it will help keep your skin hydrated and soft. Tretinoin can only decrease rough-feeling skin, fine wrinkles, and spotty discoloration but cannot cure them.

To see improvement in your condition, you might have to wait for 3 to 4 months or even 6 months.

If you stop using Tretinoin before the doctor recommends it, then improvement might disappear gradually. Use only non-medicated cosmetics on your cleansed skin as recommended. Avoid using topical cream with menthol, alcohol, or lime. Such topical creams can irritate your skin, mainly when using Tretinoin cream for the first time.


Use Tretinoin cream only on the skin and avoid applying it to the inner lip area or inside the mouth/nose. Doctors recommend avoiding Tretinoin on sunburned, cut, scraped, or eczema-affected skin. Avoid getting this medication in the eyes. If Tretinoin cream gets in your eyes, wash it immediately with water.

Missed dose-

If you forget to apply Tretinoin cream, you can apply it as soon as you remember it. Just use it sparingly or use it in a higher amount next time if you missed using it. And make sure you use it regularly at the same time in the amount advised by your doctor.


If you swallow it accidentally, then it can be harmful. Also, overuse of this medicine can be unsafe and cause excessive redness, peeling, and discomfort. So make sure to use it as directed by your doctor and refrain from using or applying it in a higher amount.

 Side Effects of Tretinoin Cream

Tretinoin cream might also cause some side effects. Call a doctor if any of these side effects worsen or become severe. Some possible side effects of Tretinoin cream include:

  • Red, scaling skin

  • Warmth or slight stinging on your skin

  • Increase in acne sores

  • Skin irritation

  • Darkening or lightening of skin

  • Peeling, pain, redness, burning, or flaky skin in the treatment area

  • Dry skin

  • Swelling, crusting of skin, or blistering

Get emergency medical attention if any unusual problems occur after using it.


Drug interactions can alter the working mechanism of Tretinoin or increase the risk of severe side effects. Avoid using skin products that are harsh, irritating, or drying on treated areas. Also, avoid Products containing alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, soaps, and cosmetics with a strong drying effect. Using tretinoin cream with benzoyl peroxide can decrease its effectiveness.

It would help if you did not use Tretinoin cream with other retinoids, for Eg, Trifarotene, retinol, adapalene, or tazarotene. And if you also want to use salicylic acid or lactic and glycolic acid, apply these products on a different day. This will help you avoid irritation that may occur due to combining interactions.

Some medications can increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight. This can happen if you are taking Tetracyclines, thiazide water pills, phenothiazines, fluoroquinolones, and sulfa drugs. So avoid using Tretinoin if you are using these medications.

Inform the doctor beforehand about all other prescription & non-prescription medicines and herbal supplements you use.

Precautions and Warnings for Tretinoin Cream

Do not apply Tretinoin cream to windburned or sunburned skin or on open wounds. Tretinoin can irritate such skin, and applying it to damaged or broken skin can exacerbate irritation.

Before starting treatment with Tretinoin, inform your doctor if you are allergic to vitamin-A-related medicines or have other allergies. Also, use a small amount first to check for the skin's sensitivity towards its active ingredients. You may start using it properly if it does not cause any allergic reaction.

Inform your doctor about your medical history, especially of eczema, before you start treatment with Tretinoin.

Unless the doctor suggests, do not use other topical medicines, mainly benzoyl peroxide, dandruff shampoos, hair removers, or salicylic acid.

Children should not use Tretinoin cream without medical advice.

Some brands of Tretinoin topical are not approved for people under 18 years.

During your treatment with Tretinoin, avoid exposure to sunlight because it can increase the skin's sensitivity. Make sure to use protective measures like sunscreen or protective clothing.

Doctors recommend avoiding laser treatment and face waxing when using Tretinoin because it can make your skin delicate.

Avoid taking tetracycline, such as doxycycline, as it can reduce the activity of Tretinoin.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then do not use Tretinoin without consulting with a doctor.

Let your doctor know if skin sensitivity or excessive skin dryness happens.

Storage Information

Store Tretinoin cream at room temperature and avoid exposure to heat or fire sources.

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Frequently asked questions about Tretinoin Cream(FAQs)

Does Tretinoin cream make your skin sensitive to sunlight?

Tretinoin cream can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight in the treated areas. Avoid exposure to sunlamps and sunlight. You can use sunscreen with SPF 15 and wear protective clothing.

Can you undergo cosmetic procedures while using Tretinoin Cream?

Avoiding hair removal or laser treatments is advised when using Tretinoin cream.

How long should Tretinoin cream be used?

Get a Tretinoin prescription from a licensed medical professional, and they will tell you how long you should use it. Depending upon the seriousness of the skin condition and the results of tests, the healthcare professional will determine the duration of treatment.

Does Tretinoin cream remove wrinkles?

Tretinoin cream does not remove wrinkles altogether but reduces your fine wrinkles. This topical treatment also treats acne.

Will Using Tretinoin cream make my oily/dry skin worse?

No, it's less likely that Tretinoin cream will make your oily skin worse. However, it may cause skin dryness as its typical side effects.