Acne is inflammation caused by plugged sebaceous glands, small glands that are supposed to lubricate your face and other skin with an oily matter, called “sebum.” This inflammation causes blackheads, clogged pores, and pimples.
Topical tretinoin is the most effective medication for treating acne near the skin surface. Used regularly, it reduces pores clogging at their base and trapping the oil that eventually causes acne.
Exactly what is tretinoin (the generic form of Retin-A™)?
Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that comes in a cream or a gel. It exfoliates your skin and decreases the build up of dead cells within hair follicles, which causes blackheads. Tretinoin also helps to unblock the pores of existing blackheads. Its brand name is Retin-A™.
Tretinoin is also used to improve the overall look of your skin by minimizing lines from photo-aging, tightening up pores, and giving skin a more youthful, resilient look. Tretinoin is an ingredient found in products such as Tri-Luma™ cream, which combines tretinoin with hydroquinone (a bleaching agent) and fluocinolone (steroid medicine) to treat melasma.
Does tretinoin also treat other skin conditions?
Melasma is a broad term for patchy tan or brown pigmentation of the skin, most often on the face. Often this condition is first seen after pregnancy, and it can run in families. Hormonal changes, such as those produced by the use of contraceptives or by pregnancy, and exposure to ultraviolet sunlight and tanning beds can cause melasma.
While careful sun avoidance and protection is the most important aspect of reducing the prominence of melasma, regular application of tretinoin has been proved clinically to further lessen the discoloration.
How to use tretinoin
Use tretinoin cream on clean, dry skin, following your Clear Skin Concierge physician’s orders and your personalized medication regimen. Please remember to gently wash the application site in lukewarm water with a mild cleanser. It is important that your skin is completely dry before applying tretinoin cream, so wait for 10 to 20 minutes before applying it. Also, be sure to wash your hands before and after using tretinoin, and avoid getting it in your nose, eyes, or mouth, or on broken skin. Flush with plenty of warm water if you do.
Apply tretinoin cream once a day at bedtime. Do not change your dosage, unless instructed by your Clean Skin Concierge physician. Remember to wear sunscreen daily––SPF 50, or higher––since tretinoin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Avoid taking vitamin A supplements while on tretinoin. Also, avoid electrolysis, waxing, and the use of chemical depilatories for hair removal.
Tretinoin sensitivity and other side effects
Typically, tretinoin cream is well tolerated, and most users will not experience reactions to it.
However, you may be sensitive to tretinoin. We advise you test tretinoin cream on a small patch of skin, waiting 24-hours to look for adverse effects. Mild side effects include: burning, dryness, itching, peeling, stinging, tingling, mild redness, swelling, or discolored skin. Notify your Clear Skin Concierge physicians if these side effects persist or worsen.
Very rarely, severe side effects from an allergic reaction to tretinoin occur: hives; swelling of the face, lips, nose, and tongue; and trouble breathing. Seek immediate, emergency medical attention.
Please remember to tell your Clear Skin Concierge physicians about your allergies and chemical sensitivities prior to taking tretinoin cream. Inform your doctors if you are taking other skin care medications such as benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid, since these may interact with tretinoin gel.
ALERT your Clear Skin Concierge physician if you are allergic to fish. Also, let us know if you have a history of eczema, dermatitis, or if you are sunburned.
If you are pregnant, if there is the possibility that you are pregnant, if you believe you may become pregnant while on this medication, or if you a nursing your baby, please stop using it immediately, since this medication has not been demonstrated to be safe for the fetus. Then, contact your Clear Skin Concierge physicians.