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Retin-A is a topical medicine (applied directly on the skin) used to treat acne. Retin-A is available as a cream and gel.
How does this medication work?
Retin-A is thought to work by enhancing peeling of the affected skin areas, helping to unclog pores that are affected by acne.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
What: By helping clear your acne, Retin-A may improve the appearance of your skin.
When: You may begin to notice an improvement in your acne after 2 to 3 weeks of starting treatment with Retin-A. However, more than 6 weeks may be needed before you see definite beneficial effects.
How do I know it is working?
You may start to notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin after starting treatment with Retin-A. This is a good indicator that your medication is working.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: skin redness, swelling, blisters, or crusting.
Less common side effects may include:
Temporary changes in your skin color.
Do not use Retin-A if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Retin-A. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have eczema (an inflammation or irritation of the skin), sunburned skin, or if you are sensitive to sunlight.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: Apply to the affected area(s) once a day, before bedtime.
Use Retin-A exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not apply more or use Retin-A more often without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Apply Retin-A to clean, dry skin. Wash your skin with mild, non-medicated soap and dry your skin gently.
Use enough cream to cover the entire affected area(s) lightly.
You may use cosmetics with Retin-A, but the areas to be treated should be washed before applying the medicine.
Your acne may get worse during the early weeks of treatment with Retin-A. This is normal and should last only a short while. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a problem for you.
If you are using Retin-A gel, the medication should become invisible almost immediately after applying it. If it is still visible, or if dry flaking occurs within a minute or so, you are using too much.
Do not expose your skin to excessive sunlight and ultraviolet lights (such as sunlamps or tanning beds) while using Retin-A. Use a daily sunscreen, protective clothing, and a wide brimmed hat to protect your skin from sunlight.
Do not expose your skin to extreme cold weather or wind, as it may dry out or make your skin more prone to wind burn.
Do not use skin products that can dry or irritate your skin because skin dryness and irritation are increased with Retin-A.
If Retin-A is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Retin-A with the following: acne medications that contain sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid; medicated soap or skin cleansers; or products that contain alcohol, astringents, spices, or lime.
The effects of Retin-A during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
If you miss a dose of Retin-A, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply two doses at once.
Store at room temperature.
Keep Retin-A gel away from heat and flame. It is flammable.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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