Retin-A Gel (Tretinoin)
Retin-A (Tretinoin) Dosage and Side Effects
RETIN-A is prescribed to treat acne, and to make wrinkles and fine lines smoother and less noticeable. RETIN-A is also given to people that have hyperpigmentation due to aging skin.
Proper Use of this medication
RETIN-A is available in a variety of strengths, ranging from 0.01 to 0.1 percent, and a variety of forms, such as creams, gels, and solutions.
No matter which form you're using, it's best to apply a pea-sized amount to the affected areas each night after you wash your skin.
Don't expect to notice the difference right away since it might take weeks or months before you see any visible improvements.
Use RETIN-A gel, cream, or liquid once a day to the affected area on your skin before going to bed.
If you are using the liquid, apply it with your fingertip, a gauze pad or cotton swab. Don't let the liquid run into non-affected areas.
Use RETIN-A exactly as prescribed. Don't use it longer than you are supposed to or increase the frequency or amount. This won't make it work faster, but it could lead to more side effects.
Before applying RETIN-A, wash and dry the area you plan to treat and wash your hands before and after you apply it.
Don't wash the treated area again or use other skin products on the treated area for at least one hour after RETIN-A is applied.
RETIN-A is not likely to cause overdose symptoms, but if you think you have applied too much get emergency medical attention right away.
Missed Dose of RETIN-A
Never use extra medication to make up for a missed dose.
If you forget to use RETIN-A, put it on as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for the next dose.
If that is the case, then skip the missed dose and resume your regular schedule.
If you have sensitive skin, you may experience excessive redness, or your skin could become swollen, or develop blisters or crusting.
If any of these occur, you should either stop using RETIN-A until your skin returns to normal or ask your doctor to adjust the dose.
RETIN-A might also produce temporary discolored skin in the form of hyper- or hypopigmentation, and some people will become very sensitive to sunlight.
So far, all reported problems have been reversed when the medication is discontinued.
Some of the less serious side effects that people have reported are burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching and peeling of the skin.
Allergic Reaction to RETIN-A
If you have any of the following signs of an allergic reaction to RETIN-A, stop using the medicine and get emergency help immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Warnings and Precautions
Don't use this drug if you are allergic to the cancer medication tretinoin (Vesanoid).
If you're using RETIN-A to treat acne, you should be aware that your condition might get slightly worse for a short period of time after you have started using it.
Contact your doctor if you have severe skin irritation or if your acne doesn't improve in eight to 12 weeks.
While on RETIN-A, it's important to avoid sunlight as well as sunlamps or tanning beds.
The medication might increase your sensitivity to sunlight, resulting in sunburn. Be sure to use an SPF 15 (or stronger) sunscreen and wear protective clothing if you're out in the sun.
Don't get RETIN-A in your eyes, mouth, or nose or on your lips. If this happens, wash the area with water immediately.
Never put RETIN-A on sunburned, wind burned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin, and try not to get it on wounds or places where you have eczema.
It's best to wait until such conditions have healed before using RETIN-A.
To help your doctor decide if RETIN-A is appropriate for you, it's important that you disclose any and all health conditions.
It's particularly important that you mention whether you have allergies, sunburn, or other skin disorders like eczema since these are all indications that RETIN-A may not be the right choice for you.
Pregnancy and RETIN-A
RETIN-A is in FDA Pregnancy Category C, meaning that harm to a developing fetus can't be ruled out.
Some reports have suggested using it during pregnancy may be associated with birth defects, but no definitive link has been established.
Researchers also don't know if RETIN-A will pass into your breast milk and/or harm a breastfeeding child.
Let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding so you can decide together whether you should use this drug.
Interactions with this medication
You might think RETIN-A won't interact with other medications because it is used topically, but that's not the case.
Provide a comprehensive list of all medicines you're taking, including topical and oral prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, minerals and herbal products, to your doctor to avoid interactions.
Unless advised by your doctor, never use skin products containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid. Using these with RETIN-A could cause your skin to become severely irritated.
Diuretics or water pills might interact with RETIN-A, causing your skin to be more sensitive to both natural and artificial sunlight.
Other medications might also have the same effect, including:
- Tetracycline (Sumycin, Panmycin or Robitet)
- Minocycline (Minocin)
- Doxycycline (Doryx or Vibramycin)
- Demeclocycline (Declomycin)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Ofloxacin (Floxin)
- Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim)
A similar interaction may result from those listed below as well:
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Prochlorperazine (Compazine)
- Fluphenazine (Permitil or Prolixin)
- Promethazine (Phenergan or Promethegan)
- Perphenazine (Trilafon)
RETIN-A and Other Interactions
Since RETIN-A can make your skin more sensitive to natural and artificial sunlight, it's important that you avoid sunlamps or tanning beds.
If you are going out in the sun, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 along with protective clothing.
In addition to sunlight, your skin might also become more sensitive to cold weather and wind while you are on RETIN-A.
It's also important that you try not to use skin products that might lead to irritation like harsh soaps, shampoos or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, as well as skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.
Never use other medicated skin products unless told to do so by your doctor.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.