General Information on Tretinoin
Tretinoin is a topical preparation that comes in a gel, cream and lotion form. It is FDA approved in treating mild to moderate acne. It is also used to treat conditions such as:
- Sun damaged skin
- Reduction of fine wrinkles and dark skin spot
- Rough areas of the skin due to the damaging rays of the sun
Tretinoin belongs to the group of retinoid. It works by increasing the turn-over of the skin cells. It causes the skin to grow and divide more rapidly in order to replace the old skin into a new one. In patients with acne, Tretinoin replaces the existing acne cells with new cells. The rapid turn-over reduces the formation of acne and prevents new acne from forming. It lightens sun damaged skin and reduces fine wrinkles and rough areas on the skin.
How to use it
Use Tretinoin daily typically at bedtime or once every two to three days or as directed by your physician. Follow the steps below when you apply any form of tretinoin:
- Wash your hand and the affected area with mild soap and water. Wait for 20 to 30 minutes before applying to make sure that your skin is thoroughly dry.
- Using your fingertip, apply only a small amount of this medication on the affected area. A small amount can go a long way. Apply the medication on the affected area only. Do not cover the treated area.
- The next morning, wash your face with mild facial scrub to help reduce the noticeable flakes. After washing, use a good water-based moisturizer to make the drying effect more tolerable.
Your acne condition may get worse during the first few days of your treatment. Nevertheless, continue using this medication. Your acne sores will disappear in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Possible Side Effects of Topical Tretinoin
Common side effects of this medication include:
- Crusted, swollen, red and blistered skin
- Changes in skin color
- Stinging, burning, itching, dryness and peeling of the skin
Other side effects include:
- Acne flare up during the first two weeks
- Lightening or darkening of the skin
- Increased sensitivity to the sun
Getting the Best Result from Topical Tretinoin
- Tretinoin can make your skin more susceptible to the sun. Use sunscreen whenever you are in the sun even for a short amount of time.
- Use this medication every other night or every third night during the first two weeks of your treatment. After two weeks, you can apply it more frequently.
- Use facial moisturizer during the daytime to help control flaking.
- Do not apply in your eyes, mouth, inside the nose and inner lip area. Do not apply on scraped, sunburned and skin with eczema.