Retin-A is a topical form of vitamin A. It helps the skin to renew itself more quickly and therefore reduces pimple and blackhead formation, and may improve the appearance and texture of skin. The Retin-A and Avita brands of tretinoin topical are used to treat acne. The Renova brand of tretinoin topical is used to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and mottled skin discoloration, and to make rough facial skin feel smoother.
Use Retin-A exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you. Wash your hands before and after applying this medication. Retin-A is usually applied once daily at bedtime. Follow your doctor's instructions. Clean and pat dry the area of skin where you will apply Retin-A. Applying Retin-A to wet skin may cause skin irritation. If you are using Renova, wait approximately 20 to 30 minutes after washing your face before applying the medication. Apply a light covering of the cream, gel, or solution to the area. Do not wash the treated area for at least 1 hours after applying Retin-A. Avoid the use of any topical products on the treated area for at least 1 hour following application of this medication. Do not apply Retin-A to eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, angles of your nose, mucous membranes, open sores, or irritated skin. If you get medication in any of these areas, rinse it off with water.
Serious side effects are not likely to occur. Stop using Retin-A and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives). You may experience some burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching, redness, swelling, dryness, peeling, or irritation while you are using Retin-A. If these side effects are excessive, talk to your doctor. You may need a lower dose or less frequent applications of Retin-A. If you notice a change in your skin color, contact your doctor. Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (e.g., sunlamps). Retin-A may increase the sensitivity of your skin to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing when exposure to the sun or UV rays is unavoidable. Do not use Retin-A on skin that is sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or irritated. Also avoid using this medication in wounds or on areas of eczema. Wait until these conditions have healed before using Retin-A. Your skin may be more sensitive to weather extremes such as cold and wind. Protect your skin with clothing and use a moisturizing cream or lotion as needed. Avoid as much as possible products that can increase skin irritation such as other skin medicines (unless prescribed by your doctor); medicated or abrasive (rough) soaps or skin cleansers; permanent wave solutions; chemical hair removers or waxes; electrolysis; products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime; cleansers, shampoos, or cosmetics with a strong drying effect; or other products that may irritate your skin.
Do not use Retin-A without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines: a thiazide diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Esidrix, Microzide, Oretic), chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Hygroton, Thalitone), indapamide (Lozol), metolazone (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn), and others; a tetracycline antibiotic such as tetracycline (Sumycin, Panmycin, Robitet, others), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin, Vectrin), doxycycline (Doryx, Monodox, Vibramycin, Vibra-Tabs), demeclocycline (Declomycin), and others; a fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin), and others; a sulfonamide antibiotic such as sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol), sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin), sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim), and others; or a phenothiazine such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), prochlorperazine (Compazine), fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin), promethazine (Phenergan, Promethegan), perphenazine (Trilafon), and others. The medications listed above may increase the sensitivity of your skin to UV rays from sunlight or artificial light (e.g., sunlamps). Generally, tretinoin topical should not be used with any of the medicines listed above. Do not use products containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid during treatment with Retin-A unless otherwise directed by your doctor. The combination could lead to severe skin irritation. Avoid as much as possible products that can increase skin irritation such as other skin medicines (unless prescribed by your doctor); medicated or abrasive (rough) soaps or skin cleansers; permanent wave solutions; chemical hair removers or waxes; electrolysis; products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime; cleansers, shampoos, or cosmetics with a strong drying effect; or other products that may irritate your skin. Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Retin-A. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
If you take too much:
An overdose of this medication is unlikely to occur. If you do suspect an overdose, or if Retin-A has been ingested, call an emergency room or poison control left near you.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not apply a double dose of Retin-A.
Store Retin-A at room temperature away from moisture and heat. The gel formulations of Retin-A are flammable, keep them away from open flame.