This medication is used to treat acne. It may decrease the number and severity of acne pimples and promote quick healing of pimples that do develop. Tretinoin belongs to a class of medications called retinoids. It works by affecting the growth of skin cells.
How to use Retin-A Cream
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if one is available from your pharmacist. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
Wash your hands before applying this medication. Gently clean the affected skin with a mild or soapless cleanser and pat dry. Use your fingertips to apply a small amount of medication (about the size of a pea) in a thin layer, usually once daily at bedtime or as directed by your doctor. A gauze pad or cotton swab can be used to apply the liquid. For some preparations, you should wait 20-30 minutes after cleaning your face before applying this medication. Consult the label directions, the Patient Information Leaflet, or your pharmacist if you have any questions.
Avoid getting this medication in your eyes. If this medication gets into your eyes, flush with large amounts of water. Call your doctor if eye irritation develops. Wash your hands after using the medication to avoid accidentally getting it in your eyes.
During the first few weeks of using tretinoin, your acne might appear worse because the medication is working on pimples forming inside the skin. It may take up to 8-12 weeks to notice results from this medication.
Use it regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day. Do not use a larger amount or use it more frequently than recommended. Your skin will not improve any faster, and it will increase the risk of developing redness, peeling and pain.
This medication is available in different strengths and forms (e.g., gel, cream, solution). The best type of medication for you to use will depend on the condition of your skin and your response to therapy. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
A brief sensation of warmth or stinging may occur immediately after applying the medication. Skin redness, dryness, itching, scaling, mild burning, or worsening of acne may occur during the first 2-4 weeks of using the medication. These effects usually decrease with continued use. A daytime moisturizer may be helpful for excessive dry skin (see Notes).
If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Your doctor may want you to decrease how often you use tretinoin, change the strength or type, or have you stop using it.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US –
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.