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- 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 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
What is the dosage for tretinoin?
Before applying topical tretinoin, the affected area of the skin should be cleansed with soap and dried. Patients should then wait 20 to 30 minutes before applying tretinoin, gently rubbing it into the affected area. The hands should be washed immediately after application. Tretinoin usually is applied once daily, in the evening.
Which drugs or supplements interact with tretinoin?
Combining other topical acne medications (for example, salicylic acid) with tretinoin may lead to excessive skin irritation. Use of abrasive soaps or cleansers, astringents, skin waxes and other products that irritate the skin may add to tretinoin-induced skin irritation. Medications [for example, tetracycline (Achromycin)] that cause sun sensitivity should not be combined with tretinoin because of additive sun sensitivity.
Is tretinoin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of topical tretinoin use during pregnancy. Physicians must weigh the potential risks and benefits before prescribing tretinoin during pregnancy.
It is unknown whether tretinoin is secreted into breast milk. It also is unknown if topically applied tretinoin accumulates to an extent sufficient to be of concern in the infant. Nonetheless, since oral tretinoin is not recommended during lactation, it probably is prudent to avoid nursing during treatment with topical tretinoin.
What else should I know about tretinoin?
What preparations of tretinoin are available?
Gel: 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.04%, 0.05%, and 0.1%. Cream: 0.02%, 0.025%, 0.0375%, 0.05%, and 0.1%. Solution: 0.05%. Capsule: 10 mg.
How should I keep tretinoin stored?
Tretinoin should be store at room temperature, between 15 C - 25 C (59 F - 77 F).
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideAdult Acne (Pimples) Causes and Treatments
Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita) is a topical medication prescribed for the treatment of acne, wrinkles, and skin that has been damaged by excessive exposure to the sun. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.and precautions, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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AcneAcne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
Chemical PeelChemical peels are performed to reduce fine lines, treat wrinkles, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat some types of acne, and reduce age spots. During the treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. The skin blisters and eventually peels off.
FrecklesFreckles are flat circular spots on the skin that may be red, yellow, tan, light brown, brown, or black in color. Lentigo is the term used to describe certain types of darker freckles. Ephelis typically appear during the sunny months. Freckles can be prevented with sunscreens, the use of wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, avoiding peak sun hours, and seeking shade and staying indoors.
Ingrown HairIngrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing, or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs include itching, tenderness, and small red pus bumps. Ingrown hairs usually heal on their own, but topical antibiotics, chemical depilatories, and hair-removal laser may be used in the treatment of ingrown hairs.
Keratosis PilarisKeratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin disorder in which small white or red bumps appear around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. The cause of KP is unknown. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, and the condition may resolve on its own. Gentle exfoliation, professional manual extraction, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, along with topical products, are the best treatments for this condition.
MelasmaMelasma is a patchy brown discoloration of the skin on the face. When it occurs in pregnancy, it's called chloasma. Melasma is commonly treated with hydroquinone creams.
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RosaceaRosacea is a skin disease that causes redness of the forehead, chin, and lower half of the nose. In addition to inflammation of the facial skin, symptoms include dilation of the blood vessels and pimples (acne rosacea) in the middle third of the face. Oral and topical antibiotics are treatments for rosacea. If left untreated, rhinophyma (a disfiguring nose condition) may result.
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