Tretinoin (also referred to as tretinoin cream) is a popular prescription medication used to treat acne and damaged skin. Its primary effects include the removal of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots on various parts of the body, particularly the face. Tretinoin is classified as a retinoic acid, an essential nutrient that helps cells grow and develop in the embryo. In the following 4-minute article, we discuss the uses, benefits, and side effects of tretinoin. We also answer commonly-asked questions about the medication, including does tretinoin help with acne and is tretinoin a retinoid? Read on to learn more about this acne medication and its many benefits.
The uses of tretinoin cream include the following:
In most cases, it takes about 3 weeks before you will begin to see improvement from taking tretinoin. If you have been taking this medication for longer than 12 weeks and still haven't seen any significant benefit, please talk to a licensed physician who can help you identify possible explanations.
Several clinical studies have shown that tretinoin can reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity in patients of all ages. To better understand how tretinoin reduces wrinkles, it is first important to discuss why wrinkles appear in the first place and how they are usually treated.
Experts estimate that more than 3/4 of aging-related changes to the skin are actually caused by prolonged sun exposure over many decades. Every time your skin is exposed to the sun, it is damaged by both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. Over time, this constant exposure causes the skin to sag and stretch, in a process known as photoaging or premature aging.
Tretinoin slows the photoaging process by helping the body replace damaged skin cells with healthy ones at a much faster pace. As these healthy skin cells begin to populate and the old cells die, skin becomes more smooth and wrinkles begin to disappear.
Tretinoin is one of the most effective long-term treatments for acne. Tretinoin is a retinoid, a form of vitamin A which stimulates dead skin cell turnover. This helps dead skin cells fall off quicker, allowing new, healthy skin cells to rise to the surface. When these dead cells fall off, they unclog pores and open the skin up to air and nutrients, which helps acne fade and disappear.
Yes, tretinoin is very useful in treating and reducing the appearance of acne scars across the face and body. As previously mentioned, tretinoin reduces and removes dead skin cells, allowing the skin to air out and breathe. Tretinoin is also able to encourage new cell growth in these same areas. As these new cells grow, old cells and scars begin to fade away.
Tretinoin is a versatile skin treatment that has a number of benefits. While primarily an acne treatment, tretinoin may also be able to achieve the following:
It is important to remember that it can take up to 12 weeks for positive effects to appear. If you still don't see any improvement after taking this medication for longer than 12 weeks, you should consult a medical professional about possible interactions.
Tretinoin and adapalene are similar medications which are both classified as retinoids. Both have roughly the same benefits and side effects, although tretinoin has been around for much longer and is more popular. If you are unsure of which medication to use, we recommend consulting with a doctor to receive more information on the differences between these two medications.
Yes, tertinoin is a retinoid. In fact, it was the first retinoid to be readily available for public prescription. While initially used as only an acne treatment in the 1970s, tretinoin has since been found to also treat pigmentation and prevent follicular plugging.
Using tretinoin to treat acne and acne scarring can cause some mild side effects. Not everyone will experience these side effects and some may experience more severe symptoms than others. The most common side effects of tretinoin include the following:
If you experience any of the side effects listed above, and believe they may be serious, it is advisable to contact your doctor or primary care physician. Most side effects of tretinoin are very mild and will disappear within a few days.
Before using tretinoin, talk to your doctor about the specifics of your acne or skin condition. Your doctor may prescribe a different treatment that is more appropriate. When speaking with your doctor about tretinoin, it is also important to discuss the following:
If you have acne or sun spots that just won't fade no matter what you try, tretinoin can help. It is a popular prescription medication that is often used to alleviate sun spots and wrinkles, as well as help heal acne. In many cases, tretinoin can also improve the appearance of acne scars.