Our office carries three different strengths of Tretinoin cream. The strengths we offer are from lowest to highest: 0.02% (Renova), 0.05%, (Obagi Medical) and 0.1% (Obagi medical).
It is important to note that the use of a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen with a minimal SPF of 30 is REQUIRED when under the treatment of a Tretinoin prescription. Tretinoin will not be dispensed from our office unless it is confirmed that the patient either has an approved Sunscreen or purchases a Sunscreen through our office. The use of Tretinoin without using Sunscreen will be counter productive in the treatment and improvement of skin conditions.
Tretinoin cream is a widely used prescription drug that is particularly effective at treating skin blemishes and conditions that affect the appearance of skin. Due to its versatility, tretinoin is one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world.
Tretinoin is an acidic derivative of Vitamin A and has been in use since 1971, when the FDA approved it to treat acne. Tretinoin works by speeding up cell growth so that skin cells “turn over” more quickly as well as increasing collagen production, a vital component for healthy skin. For this reason, it is sometimes used to treat fine wrinkles and any signs of aging. The drug is most commonly prescribed as Retin-A.
From wrinkles caused by old age, to pimples and acne, the ointment has proven to be effective in treating a range of conditions. The lotion can also be used to treat depigmentation and skin discolorations. The cream directly affects the outer layer of the skin by restoring it to its ideal natural condition. Besides being used for its anti-aging properties, the cream is also commonly prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne. Tretinoin cream can treat a wide range of conditions but you will have to consult with your doctor or dermatologist in order to obtain a prescription. While the cream is largely safe and widely used, serious side effects can occur if used inappropriately. It is always best to use it under the supervision of a doctor.
How Retin-A Works
The effect of increased skin cell turnover can be irritation and flaking. For this reason, many people stop using Retin-A after a couple of days to weeks, then think that it didn’t work. It is important to realize that Retin-A is very effective for whiteheads and blackheads, but it may take 6-9 weeks to see a noticeable difference. It takes at least 6 months to see a noticeable difference in wrinkles. The best benefit is seen if Retin-A is used for at least a year.
How to Use Retin-A
Here are some guidelines for using Retin-A that may make sure you experience its full benefit:
- Apply Retin-A in a thin layer at night. A small amount goes a long way.
- In the morning, wash your face with a mild facial scrub or rough wash cloth. This will help reduce the noticeable flaking.
- After washing, apply a good water-based moisturizer. The moisturizer will make the drying effect of the medicine more tolerable.
- If flaking occurs during the day, use a wash cloth to remove it and apply more moisturizer, or just apply moisturizer.
- Try using a moisturizer that also contains a sunscreen. If not, apply sunscreen anytime you are in the sun even for a short amount of time.
- Tretinoin makes you more susceptible to sunburn.
- When you first start using Retin-A, apply it every other night or every 3rd night. The flaking and irritation side effects are usually the worst in the first 2 weeks of application. As your skin adjusts to the medicine, you can apply it more frequently.
- If you notice an increase in the irritation or flaking, it’s okay to take a break for a couple of days. Just don’t stop completely without consulting your health care provider.
The Side Effects of Retin-A
If you have sensitive skin, common side effects of Retin-A include red, swollen, blistered, or crusted skin; burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching, dryness, peeling, or irritation where the medicine is applied; or changes in skin color (darker or lighter). If you experience any of these side effects, discontinue use as Retin-A should not be used on broken skin.
Also, do not use on sunburned skin. Wait for your skin to recover completely from the burn before using. In addition, Retin-A may interact with other topical medications, especially those containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid.
To prevent dangerous interactions, make sure to tell your doctor all medications, topical and oral, that you use.
There is also some risk in using Retin-A during pregnancy; therefore, it should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. In the same vein, caution should be exercised when Using Retin-A during breastfeeding.