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Generic Name: tretinoin

It is used on the skin to treat mild to moderate acne
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What is this medicine?

TRETINOIN (TRET i noe in) is a naturally occurring form of vitamin A. It is used on the skin to treat mild to moderate acne.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • eczema
  • excessive sensitivity to the sun
  • sunburn
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to tretinoin, vitamin A, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for use on the skin. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Gently wash your face with a mild, non-medicated soap before use. Pat the skin dry. Wait 20 to 30 minutes for your skin to dry before applying in order to minimize the possibility of skin irritation. Wash hands before and after use. The liquid may be applied to the skin where the acne lesions appear, spreading the medicine over the entire affected area using your fingertip, a gauze pad, or cotton swab. To avoid dripping the liquid onto areas that do not need treatment, do not soak the cotton or gauze. Avoid applying this medicine to your eyes, ears, nostrils, angles of the nose, and mouth. Do not use more often than your doctor or health care professional has recommended. Using too much of this medicine may irritate or increase the irritation of your skin, and will not give faster or better results.

Talk to your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 12 years of age for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, skip that dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not use extra doses, or use for a longer period of time than directed by your doctor or health care professional.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • medicines or other preparations that may dry your skin such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  • medicines that increase your sensitivity to sunlight such as tetracycline or sulfa drugs

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your acne may get worse initially and should then start to improve. It may take 2 to 12 weeks before you see the full effect.

Do not wash your face more than 2 or 3 times a day, unless directed by your doctor or health care professional. Do not use the following products on the same areas that you are treating with this medicine, unless otherwise directed by your doctor or health care professional: other topical agents with a strong skin drying effect such as products with a high alcohol content, astringents, spices, the peel of lime or other citrus, medicated soaps or shampoos, permanent wave solutions, electrolysis, hair removers or waxes, or any other preparations or processes that might dry or irritate your skin.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths. Avoid cold weather and wind as much as possible, and use clothing to protect you from the weather. Skin treated with this medicine may dry out or get wind burned more easily.

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All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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