Acne Treatment Journal

Retin-A Anti-Acne Drug Information
A guide to using Retin-A, a topical tretinoin based retinoid, including side effects, patient precautions, and usage tips.

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Retin-A is one of the oldest and most widely used topical tretinoin based anti-acne drugs in the retinoid family.

Retin-A is derived from naturally occurring Vitamin A and works by increasing skin cell turnover which keeps pores open.

By keeping the pores on the skin open Retin-A allows other topical medications such as Benzoyl Peroxide or antibiotics to penetrate down to the hair follicle and kill the P. Acnes bacteria.

Tretinoins such as Retin-A, Retin-A Micro and Avita usually cause more irritation than the newer retinoids that are derived from synthetic Vitamin A.

The newer synthetic Vitamin A retinoids include the brand name drugs Differin (Adapalene) and Tazorac (tazarotene).

While using Retin-A you should avoid tanning beds and sunlight since the medication can cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Also, do not apply Retin-A to broken skin, where you have cuts or rash, and avoid the eye nose and lips.

Some of the common but mild side effects of Retin-A include burning, stinging, peeling, stinging, itching, and sensitivity to sunlight.

The uncommon but severe side effects that may occur while using Retin-A include allergic reactions that may cause swelling of the face, lips, tongue or having a hard time breathing.

Retin-A is listed by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) on the Category C list which means that this medication can cause harm to an unborn human fetus and also should not be used during breastfeeding because it can pass through breast milk.

As with any topical anti-acne medication, it may take several weeks for your skin to improve and unless you experience severe side effects, don't stop using the product.

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