Tretinoin is a type of vitamin A, used to treat sun-damaged and ageing skin. It has been shown to reduce pigmentation and wrinkles.
Tretinoin is a type of vitamin A, used to treat sun-damaged skin.
It has three main effects:
Tretinoin helps remove dead skin cells, allowing new cells to rise to the surface more efficiently. This stimulates collagen production and helps to reverse the effects of long-term sun exposure. (Baumann 2007)
Tretinoin should be used for at least 6 months for maximum effect. (DermNet NZ 1997) After two years of continuous tretinoin treatment, there is marked improvement in fine and coarse wrinkles, lentigines (“age spots”) and mottled pigmentation. There is also an increase in the production of collagen, which improves the texture of the skin. (Kang 2012).
There is some evidence that it helps to treat and prevent solar keratoses, a common pre-cancer skin condition, but this evidence is not conclusive. (Ianhez 2013)
Do not use tretinoin if you are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Do not use tretinoin on broken or sunburnt skin, or skin affected by eczema, psoriasis or other rashes.
In the early stages of using tretinoin, your skin may become dry, red and irritated. To minimise this side effect, start by applying tretinoin for a short time and gradually increase the length of time it remains in contact with your skin. Start with a lower concentration and increase to 0.1% tretinoin if the lower concentration is well tolerated.
Following night 6, if your skin is not red, sensitive or irritated, you can leave tretinoin cream on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
Tretinoin cream is usually well tolerated but consult your doctor if you experience side effects. Some redness and irritation may be expected initially. Some types of skin will be too sensitive for tretinoin. If severe irritation occurs, especially in the early stages of treatment, discuss with your doctor.
Protect your skin when you are in the sun. If you are outdoors, wear protective clothing and apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30+sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen regularly.
Avoid exposure of the treated area to excessive sunlight,sunlamps, strong wind, dry air, skin peels, harsh soaps and exfoliants. (iNova Pharmaceuticals 2018b)
Reactions to tretinoin are common but usually minor. The most common side effects are:
These effects are normal. If they are troublesome, try using tretinoin less often, or stop using it for a few days and then start again.
Rare side effects include:
If any side effects become severe, notify your doctor. (iNova Phamaceuticals 2018a)
Tretinoin cream should be stored at less than 25°C
Route of administration:
Apply at night. Wash the skin to be treated and pat dry. Dispense a small amount (the size of a pea for the face and neck) and apply a thin film to the area to be treated.
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Medications that make the skin sensitive to sunlight, e.g. doxycycline. Other vitamin A derivatives such as retinol and Roaccutaine.