Tretinoin is a retinoid, which means it is a form of vitamin A. Retinoids are effective at stimulating cell turnover, speeding up the cell growth and death cycle. The dead skin cells are cleared off the skin faster than usual, while new cells grow and rise to the skin’s surface. Fast cell turnover can open the pores. This, in turn, releases the irritants, like bacteria, dead skin cells, and excess sebum, that cause acne. To that end, retinoids will also aid in sebum production and regulation, which can prevent future breakouts. By tackling several steps in the acne development process, tretinoin treatment can be very effective. Tretinoin can also decrease the appearance of acne scars, making it a good option for people with a history of chronic acne.


Tretinoin can be a very effective acne treatment, but it won’t work for everybody. If you’re interested in learning more about this treatment, schedule an appointment at the Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois. We can work with you to assess your acne, understand what might cause a side effect, and develop a treatment plan to finally clear your acne.


Tretinoin Strengths and Weaknesses

Tretinoin can effectively clear and prevent acne, but it has several other benefits. This ingredient can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Faster cell turnover allows skin to become more buoyant, resulting in a younger-looking complexion. Additionally, it can improve the skin’s texture and tone, the health of sun-damaged skin, and reduce the appearance of dark spots.

Unfortunately, tretinoin takes a long time to take effect – around 12 weeks. Plus, tretinoin may aggravate acne in the first few weeks of treatment, but this should clear soon after. Additionally, this treatment is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. You will also need to be very careful about sun exposure. Tretinoin can thin your skin, making it more prone to sunburn and other types of UV light damage.

The benefits of tretinoin often outweigh the disadvantages, but speaking with a doctor is the best way to find out. If you’re interested in learning about how this acne treatment can work for you, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.


Tretinoin Side Effects

As with most acne treatments, there are certain tretinoin side effects patients should know about. Not everyone who uses this drug will experience side effects, but it is important to keep a close watch over the treated skin. Possible side effects include:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Skin that feels warm to the touch

Treated skin may also turn a lighter color after application. Additionally, other topical acne medications may interact with tretinoin to irritate the skin and aggravate potential side effects. When possible, avoid using products with benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and salicylic acid while using tretinoin. While applying tretinoin, avoid the inner lip area, eyes, mouth, and nostrils.

If your skin appears irritated by tretinoin, check in with your doctor. If you don’t see any acne improvement after 2 to 3 months, visit your dermatologist again. You may need to try prescription-strength tretinoin, or perhaps another treatment option.


Visiting a Doctor for Tretinoin Treatment

Tretinoin can be a very effective, long-term treatment for acne. It is available in a variety of strengths and products, from gels and creams to solutions and cleaners, making it a very versatile option for acne treatment. If you’re interested in trying tretinoin for yourself, talk to your doctor. While this treatment does not require a prescription, it can be helpful to know whether you should avoid any treatment methods before spending money. It can also be helpful to know what concentration or strength will work best for your skin.

Interested in learning about how a tretinoin treatment can work for you? Make an appointment with a dermatologist at the Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.