Tretinoin Acne Cream


Topical tretinoin is a prescription retinoid or Vitamin A derivative treatment that is FDA approved for the treatment of Acne vulgaris and Photodamaged skin.

facial acne
Topical tretinoin for acne

Topical Tretinoin Acne Treatment:

How Does Tretinoin Work?

Although tretinoin has been in use over the decades with many clinical studies supporting it, the exact mechanism remains unknown.

Topical tretinoin, a first generation retinoid, effectively treats acne by reducing the build up of skin cells within the hair follicles and cohesiveness of keratinocytes. Thus, it decreases comedomes (whiteheads and blackheads) and congestion within your hair follicles.

From research, topical tretinoin has shown to potently enhance epidermal thickening though keratinocytes proliferation. Keratinocytes are the predominant cells found in the epidermis of the skin. A reduction of melanocytic activity from topical tretinoin may explain the improvement of skin hyperpigmentation either as a result of acne or photodamaged skin. In the dermis, tretinoin induces formation of new collagen and blood vessel formation. 

These functional and structural changes  of topical tretinoin not only improves atrophic acne scars but also improve skin hyerpigmentation, wrinkles and skin roughness.

Topical tretinoin for wrinkles, pigmentation and rejuvenation

Topical Tretinoin Photodamage Treatment:

Tretinoin Side Effects

The most common side effects of topical retinoids include dryness, redness, itchiness and peeling. These initial retinoid effects are common and usually fade after a few weeks of application. It is also common for acne to worsen during the start of your treatment, but again this effect fades over time.

How Do I Use Tretinoin?

There are various doses of topical tretinoin available; 0.01%, 0.025% and 0.5% strengths are commonly prescribed.

A small amount is to be applied lightly to the affected areas in the evening. It may be helpful to apply a moisturizer after the application of the topical retinoids to reduce skin irritation.

How Soon Can I See The Effects?

You may observe your acne starting to improve as soon as 2-3 weeks. However, it may take more than 6 weeks of treatment to see consistent benefits from your topical retinoid use.

Topical tretinoin effectively reduces your wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and skin roughness from photo damaged skin from about 6-12 months.

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  1. Kolli SS, Pecone D, Pona A, Cline A, Feldman SR. Topical retinoids in acne vulgaris: a systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2019 Jun;20(3):345-65.
  2. Leyden J, Stein-Gold L, Weiss J. Why topical retinoids are mainstay of therapy for acne. Dermatology and therapy. 2017 Sep;7(3):293-304.
  3. Darlenski R, Surber C, Fluhr JW. Topical retinoids in the management of photodamaged skin: from theory to evidence‐based practical approach. British Journal of Dermatology. 2010 Dec;163(6):1157-65.

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