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How to Use Retin-A Cream for Good Skin

What Is Retin-A Cream?

Retin-A Cream (tretinoin) is a topical retinoid used to improve acne vulgaris. In acne vulgaris, hair follicles become blocked by dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil (sebum). This results in skin blemishes, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts.

Tretinoin stimulates the production and shedding of skin cells (cell turnover). This aids in the unclogging of pores and the prevention of future clogging.

Tretinoin is available with a prescription as a topical cream, gel, or lotion in a variety of strengths and brand names. Generic versions are also available.

How to Use Retin-A Cream

To use topical tretinoin, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider. Here are some general tips for application:

  • After thoroughly cleansing the skin, apply retin cream 0.05 to the affected areas in the evening. This cream is available to buy tretinoin cream. After washing your face, wait at least 20 to 30 minutes before applying it.
  • This medication is only for the skin; avoid getting any product in your eyes or mouth. If this happens, thoroughly rinse with water.
  • After applying the product to the affected areas, wash your hands.

While on treatment, protect your skin from natural or artificial sun rays. This medication may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. As a result, while outdoors, apply sunscreen (look for an effective SPF) and wear clothing and a hat that cover your skin.

If you do get a sunburn, wait until your skin is fully healed before applying tretinoin to the affected area.


Storage suggestions include the following:

  • Tretinoin cream should be stored at temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tretinoin cream: keep below 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tretinoin cream: Store at room temperature (between 68 and 77 °F). Do not allow it to freeze.

How Long Does It Take Retin-A Cream to Work?

It takes time for Retin-A Cream to work. Some people will see results in two to three weeks. However, you may experience a temporary worsening of acne approximately three to six weeks after starting. You can expect improvements in 12 weeks with continued and consistent use.

If your skin condition does not improve after 12 weeks of consistent use, consult your healthcare provider to determine whether you should discontinue this medication.

What Are the Consequences of Retin-A Cream?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you experience any other side effects. Common Adverse Effects

Topical tretinoin can cause skin irritation, with signs such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Peeling

Topical tretinoin treatment can also make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. To avoid sunburn, protect your skin from the sun as much as possible.

Serious Side Effects

If you notice any serious or worsening side effects, such as severely irritated skin, contact your healthcare provider.

You can expect some acne to worsen after you begin treatment. However, if the skin irritation persists or worsens, you may need to discontinue use of this medication.

Repeated application can also cause hyper- or hypopigmentation (discoloration) of the skin. However, this is only temporary.

Dosage: How Much Retin-A Cream Should I Use?

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the label’s instructions. This information only includes the average doses of this medication. If your dose differs, do not change it unless your doctor instructs you to.

The amount of medicine you take is determined by the strength of the medicine. Furthermore, the number of doses you take each day, the time between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine are determined by the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.


Because of the potential side effects of this medication, its administration may be altered. As a result, when using Retin-A Cream, users should be aware of the following:


There have been no human studies to determine whether using Retin-A cream during pregnancy is safe. One published meta-analysis comparing outcomes in pregnant women exposed to topical retinoids in the first trimester to those who were not exposed found no significant increase in the rates of major congenital malformations.

This information should reassure women who used topical retinoids before discovering they were pregnant. However, this evidence is insufficient to support the routine use of topical retinoids during pregnancy. For this reason, it is generally advised to avoid topical tretinoin during pregnancy.


It is not known if tretinoin is excreted in human breast milk. Because tretinoin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream after topical administration, experts consider it a low risk for a nursing infant. 7 After application, wash your hands and avoid exposing your baby to direct skin-to-skin contact with the treated areas.


Retin-A Cream’s safety and efficacy in children under the age of 12 have not been established.

Retin-A Cream clinical trials did not include a large enough number of adults aged 65 and older to determine whether they experienced more side effects than younger adults.

Missed Dose

If you miss a Retin-A Cream dose, skip it and resume the next dose at your usual time the next day. To make up for a missed dose, do not double the medication.