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Generic name:Retin A
Drug class: Topical acne agents

What is Retin A?

Retin A is a vitamin A form that helps renew the skin.Retin-A, Avita, and other brands of tretinoin can be used to treat acne. Renova brand tretinoin can be used to smooth rough skin and reduce fine wrinkles.This medication guide does not list all possible uses for Retin A.


Avoid exposure to artificial UV rays, such as sunlamps and tanning beds. Retin A can make your skin more susceptible to sunlight, and sunburns may occur. If you have to be in the sun, wear protective clothing and a minimum of SPF 15 sunscreen. Retin A should not be applied to your lips, eyes, nose, or mouth. If you do get it in any of these places, rinse with water. Retin-A should not be used on sunburned or windburned skin, as well as chapped, irritated, or broken skin. Avoid using this medication on wounds or areas of eczema. Retin A should not be used until the condition has healed.Even if it doesn't seem to be working, continue using the medication as prescribed. You may need to use the product for weeks or even months before you see any improvement. When you start taking Retin A to treat acne, you may notice that your condition gets worse for a few days. If your skin irritation is severe or your acne doesn't improve in 8–12 weeks, call your doctor.Inform your doctors about your allergies, medical conditions, and medications.

Before you take this drug

Retin A should not be used if you have an allergy to tretinoin.Retin A is not known to harm unborn babies. If you plan to get pregnant or are already pregnant, tell your doctor.There is no way to know if tretinoin passes through breast milk or if it can harm a baby who is nursing. You should tell your doctor if your baby is breastfed.

Similar/related drugs

Prednisone, Doxycycline, Clindamycin topical, Topical Erythromycin, Tetracycline, Topical Tretinoin, and Temovate

How to take Retin A?

Follow the directions on your prescription label. Please follow all the instructions on the prescription label. Use this medication only as directed. Do not exceed the recommended dosage or use it for an extended period.Use Retin-A only on the skin. Retin A is only for skin use. This medicine should not be used on wounds, sunburned, windburned, or chapped skin.It will not work faster if you use more or apply it more frequently than recommended. You could experience additional side effects.Hands should be washed before and after using Retin A. After washing your skin, gently dry it. Wait between 20 and 30 minutes before applying any medication. It is important that the skin be completely dried to avoid irritation.After applying Retin A, do not wash the treated skin for at least an hour. After applying Retin A, avoid using any other products on the affected area for 1 hour.Avoid putting the medication near the eyes, nose, mouth, and any open wounds.If you apply too much Retin-A Gel, it may cause the medication to "pill". Use a thin layer of Retin-A gel the next time.

Retin A should be part of an overall skin care regimen that includes wearing protective clothing, avoiding the sun, and using sunscreen.Even if it doesn't seem to be working, continue taking the medication as prescribed.Expect results to take several weeks before becoming noticeable. Continue to use the medication according to instructions, and let your doctor know if you do not see improvement in your symptoms. Retin A can make acne worse. This is normal when first starting to use the medication.If your acne doesn't improve in 8–12 weeks or your skin irritation is severe, call your doctor.Store away from heat and moisture at room temperature. When not in use, keep the bottle tightly shut.Retin-A gel is flammable. Avoid using near-open flames or high heat. Smoke only after the gel is completely dry. Keep the tube tightly shut.

What happens if I miss the dose?

As soon as possible, take any missing dose. However, if your next scheduled dosage is approaching soon after taking this one. If so, simply skip it altogether. You should not take extra medicine to compensate for a missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Call 1-800-222-1222 for poison help or seek immediate medical attention.

What should be avoided?

Avoid tanning beds or exposure to the sun. Retin A can cause you to sunburn more quickly. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater when outdoors.Do not get this medication into your eyes, your nose, your mouth, or the creases in your nose.Avoid skin products that can cause irritation. These include harsh soaps or shampoos; permanent hair dyes and chemicals; hair waxes or removers; or products containing alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.Do not use other medications to treat the same areas that you have treated with Retin A unless you are told to by your doctor.

Side effects of Retin-A

If you experience any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop using Retin A and contact your doctor immediately.

  • The skin may experience severe irritation, burning, or stinging.
  • Severe redness, swelling, or blistering.

While using this medication, your skin may become more sensitive to extreme weather conditions such as wind and cold.

Some of the most common Retin A side effects include:

  • The application of the medication may cause mild discomfort or stinging.
  • Changes in the color of treated skin

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor.Contacting the FDA directly is also possible by dialing 1-800 FDA-1088 and reporting adverse effects.

Interaction with other drug

If your doctor has not prescribed otherwise, do not use any skin products containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, or resorcinol. When used in conjunction with Retin A, these products can cause severe irritation of the skin.Other drugs that you may take orally or even inject are unlikely to have any effect on tretinoin applied topically. Many drugs interact. Inform your healthcare providers of all the medicines you take, including vitamins, herbal products, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and other drugs.