What Is Tretinoin And How Is It Used To Treat Acne?

Topical tretinoin is a generic type of Retin-A acne medicine. Tretinoin may be purchased online or over-the-counter in the form of cream or gel, but not in the same concentration as Retin-A. In the United States, the purchase of topical tretinoin at the same concentration as Retin-A requires a prescription.

Usually, topical tretinoin is both a short-term cure and a long-term treatment choice for the removal of active breakouts. It is used for hard-to-clear acne blemishes on your skin.

Tretinoin is successful for many people, but it isn’t for everybody. Keep reading to find out what you need to do before you try tretinoin for your acne.

What is Tretinoin?

Tretinoin is a retinoid drug that was initially formulated to treat acne. It was invented as a medicine in the late 1950s and licensed for medical use many years later. Nowadays, Tretinoin is sold under a range of brand names and is available worldwide as a generic medicine.

Tretinoin is most widely marketed in the United States as Retin-A ®, Tretin-X ®, Refissa ®, Renova ® and Avita ®. Tretinoin contains a variety of drugs internationally, such as Stieva-A ® cream. Tretinoin comes in a number of different dosage forms. It is most commonly sold as a cream, but it is also available as a liquid solution, as a gel and as a jelly.

Tretinoin is chemically related to vitamin A as a first-generation retinoid. By affecting the manner in which skin cells grow, tretinoin (and other retinoids) can minimize the development of acne and avoid many common cosmetic signs of aging.

How Does It Work?

One curious feature of tretinoin is that scientists are not fully aware of how it avoids acne, but that it does. Tretinoin works by affecting the development of skin oils, although the precise mechanism by which the drug works is not currently understood. By modifying the way the skin grows and reducing oil levels, tretinoin makes it substantially more difficult for pimples to grow on the face and body.

Tretinoin for Acne

People who take tretinoin for acne normally use the cream for a number of months until they see noticeable improvements. In the short term, tretinoin can possibly make acne worse (a duration widely known as “tretinoin purge”) until the acne improves.  However, over the long term, tretinoin is highly effective in reducing the formation of acne and enhancing facial skin.

Several studies have shown that tretinoin is an effective acne treatment:

In one 2009 trial, groups of randomized participants aged 10 years and older with acne ranging from mild to moderate were given daily tretinoin gel or non-therapeutic substance over a span of 12 weeks.

Tretinoin gel groups (one used tretinoin gel 0.05 percent and the other used tretinoin gel microsphere 0.1 percent) both showed substantially higher levels of acne improvement than the control group, with only mild to moderate skin-related side effects.

In another study , patients with facial acne received one of three separate therapies, one of which was a mixture of tretinoin cream and one percent gel of clindamycin.

Over a 12-week duration, participants in the tretinoin cream and clindamycin one percent gel group observed a substantial reduction in acne from a baseline level of 13.70 ± 4.80 facial skin lesions to 1.30 ± 2.95 after a complete 12 weeks of treatment.

Statistical analysis of the study data suggests that the combination of tretinoin and clindamycin one percent gel exceeded benzoyl peroxide 2.5 percent gel and nadifloxacin one percent cream — another common treatment for facial acne.

However, tretinoin cream and clindamycin one percent gel were less effective when used in combination than benzoyl peroxide 2.5 percent gel and clindamycin one percent gel, which resulted in the greatest reduction in acne over the 12-week study period.

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