Retin-A is often used to improve the appearance and texture of the skin. It produces a mild, superficial peel of the epidermis. Retin-A has effects on the both the superficial (epidermis) and the deep (dermis) parts of the skin. The major benefit is to decrease the effects of sunlight caused aging by increasing the speed with which the surface cells are replaced.
Apply a thin layer to affected area once a day at bedtime. Use a gauze pad or cotton swab to apply the liquid. Wash your hands immediately after use. Using this medication more frequently or in excessive amounts does not improve the results, but may increase side effects. Avoid applying near the eyes, mouth, or open cuts since this medication can irritate sensitive skin. Acne may appear to worsen when the medication is first used; continue therapy. It may take three to six weeks before the full benefits of this medication are seen. Use mild soap when washing your face. Do not wash face excessively. Abrasive soaps, cleansers, medicated creams or lotions can increase skin irritation. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about their use. Use other acne preparations with caution while using this medication.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Tretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A. Topical Tretinoin is used in the treatment of mild to moderate acne and on skin that has been damaged by excessive exposure to the sun. Tretinoin irritates the skin and causes the cells of the skin to grow (divide) and die more rapidly, that is, it increases the turnover of cells. The number of layers of cells in the skin actually is reduced. In patients with acne, new cells replace the cells of existing pimples, and the rapid turnover of cells prevents new pimples from forming. By a similar mechanism, Tretinoin can reduce some wrinkles, areas of darkened skin, and rough areas of skin, all of which occur in sun-damaged skin. In patients with sun-damaged skin, improvements in the skin usually are seen within the first 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. Brown spots begin to fade after six to eight weeks. Wrinkles decrease or disappear after three to six months. Following application to the skin, a minimal amount of drug is absorbed into the body. The FDA approved topical Tretinoin in 1971.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as remembered; do not use if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from sunlight. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.