Tretinoin (vitamin a acid)
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What is Tretinoin?
Tretinoin, or Vitamin A acid, stimulates cell division in the epidermis, allowing old skin cells to be removed so that new ones can present themselves. The effect of Tretinoin on the skin could be compared to that of chemical peels. The result: smoother skin and fewer impurities. Tretinoin is available as a cream or lotion.
What is Tretinoin used for?
Tretinoin is used to treat various skin conditions, including:
- Acne, also known as adolescent spots. This skin disorder is characterised by clogged pores, pimples and, in some cases, subcutaneous infections.
- Rosacea: a skin condition where redness appears on the cheeks, tip of the nose and forehead.
- Skin damage due to exposure to UV light: manifests as wrinkles, dark, freckle-like patches or rough lesions.
- Striae: a form of scarring of the skin due to stretching. Striae, commonly referred to as stretch marks, can occur due to pregnancy or weight changes.
- Hyperpigmentation: shows on skin, often on the face, in the form of uneven brown spots. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by hormonal changes (pregnancy mask), old age or medicine use.
Tretinoin stimulates the renewal of healthy skin cells, erasing impurities such as scars, patches and other marks on the skin. It also keeps the pores open, which reduces the chance of infections.
How to use Tretinoin
Tretinoin cream or lotion should be applied to clean, dry skin. Apply only to the affected areas, not to the surrounding, healthy skin. Avoid contact with eyes, nose or broken skin. Rinse thoroughly with water should this occur. Wash hands after application. Tretinoin cream or lotion is usually applied at night, before bedtime. Wait at least 30 minutes before applying face cream or make-up.
Unless otherwise advised by the doctor, the usual dose in adults is:
- a thin film to the affected areas once daily, preferably before bedtime.
The doctor will tell you how long you need to use the cream or lotion. This medicine is not suitable for use in children.
Medicines may cause side effects, although some people may not experience any. The side effects that are known to be associated with Tretinoin include:
- Skin irritation at application site;
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to UV light. Tretinoin reduces the amount of pigment in the skin, which makes the affected areas more sensitive to sunburn. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and sunbeds.
For more information on possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Tretinoin
Tretinoin cream or lotion is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to tretinoin or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You are pregnant or planning to conceive.
Vitamin A acid (tretinoin) may cause serious birth defects. Do not use this product if you are pregnant or planning for a baby. Tretinoin cream or lotion should not be used by breastfeeding women without medical supervision. Do not apply this product to the nipple area prior to nursing. This product does not affect your reaction time or interact with alcohol or food.