- Adult Acne Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Acne (Pimples) Quiz!
- Helping Your Teen With Acne Slideshow Pictures
- What is tretinoin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for tretinoin?
- Is tretinoin available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for tretinoin?
- What are the uses for tretinoin?
- What are the side effects of tretinoin?
- What is the dosage for tretinoin?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with tretinoin?
- Is tretinoin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about tretinoin?
What is tretinoin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Tretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A. It is used on the skin (topically) in the treatment of mild to moderate acne and on skin that has been damaged by excessive exposure to the sun. Tretinoin irritates the skin and causes the cells of the skin to grow (divide) and die more rapidly, increasing the turnover of cells. The number of layers of cells in the skin actually is reduced. In patients with acne, new cells replace the cells of existing pimples, and the rapid turnover of cells prevents new pimples from forming. By a similar mechanism, tretinoin can reduce some wrinkles, areas of darkened skin (hyperpigmentation), and rough areas of skin, all of which occur in sun-damaged skin. In patients with sun-damaged skin, improvements in the skin usually are seen within the first 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. Brown spots begin to fade after six to eight weeks. Wrinkles decrease or disappear after three to six months. Following application to the skin, a minimal amount of drug is absorbed into the body. The FDA approved topical tretinoin in 1971.
What brand names are available for tretinoin?
Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita
Is tretinoin available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for tretinoin?
What are the uses for tretinoin?
What are the side effects of tretinoin?
Following the application of tretinoin to the skin, there often is local inflammation. This reaction disappears when treatment is stopped. Mild stinging or a sensation of warmth also can occur when applying tretinoin.
The common side effects of tretinoin are:
- itching, and
Quick GuideAdult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.