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fourfivesix

tretinoin cream vs. tretinoin gel

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Hey guys, I've been using tretinoin cream (0.05%) for about 3 months and am still going through the initial breakout phase. Recently I've been reading about how the gel is better suited for acne while the cream is better suited for fine lines/wrinkles. I'm planning on sticking with the cream for another 3 months, but I'm basically wondering if anybody has tried both the cream and gel forms --- and whether they had different reactions/results with it. Does the gel really work better for acne? And if I switch, will I have to endure another couple of months of purging?

I have combination skin that reacts in a bipolar way to the tretinoin--- my t-zone is SUPER oily, while my cheeks are extremely dry and flaky. My cheeks (the dry parts) are very itchy as well, and my entire face is still pretty red too (thank god for makeup). Basically, I'm experiencing a ton of side effects. My main concern is how much worse my cheeks might react if I do switch to the gel form (which is more drying).

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I actually did use both the cream and gel forms. I used the cream for about a year, and never noticed any difference. I don't even recall having an IB on the cream. My acne was only getting worst, so my doctor upped me a dose and prescribed me the gel. I'm only about three weeks in. No horribly IB yet, but there is definitely some peeling already. To me it seems like it's working better, if only because I didn't get any reaction at all from the cream!

I think it would be worth trying the gel, since it is more for acne as opposed to wrinkles. You might just want to use it very sparingly at first, in case it irritates your skin more!

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My derm told me to get the gel and not the cream for .025% don't know the differance, but he did say NOT to get the cream. SO I would stick with the gel unless your erm. says otherwise

Edited by Dudeman4444
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The cream is comedogenic, meaning it has an ingredient in it that will cause acne. It is better suited for someone who is NOT at all acne prone, old or young. The gel doesn't have a comedogenic ingredient and is thus for acne-prone skin, young or old.

EITHER one will help with wrinkles, just the gel's better for acne prone skin.

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That is what I thought!! My daughter, who is 15 and has been battling persistent acne since she was 11, has been prescribed the cream version(generic tretinoin 0.025%) just last week and I really am nervous about it making things worse(or not improving at all) because of the second ingredient--ISOPRPYL MYRISTATE. A known pore-clogger. Why would her derm prescribe this?(she has over-the-top oily skin, but also very sensitive)

The cream is comedogenic, meaning it has an ingredient in it that will cause acne. It is better suited for someone who is NOT at all acne prone, old or young. The gel doesn't have a comedogenic ingredient and is thus for acne-prone skin, young or old.

EITHER one will help with wrinkles, just the gel's better for acne prone skin.

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The cream is comedogenic, meaning it has an ingredient in it that will cause acne. It is better suited for someone who is NOT at all acne prone, old or young. The gel doesn't have a comedogenic ingredient and is thus for acne-prone skin, young or old.

EITHER one will help with wrinkles, just the gel's better for acne prone skin.

I agree. The gel kind is usually prescribed for oily, acne prone skin. The creme kind is supposed to be not as drying, and prescribed for ageing, dry skin.

In my country we only have the cream formulation though.

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I believe it is isopropyl myristate (not sure if it is spelled exactly like that, but similar). It is extremely pore clogging.

Fatty Acids & Derivatives Isopropyl Myristate 5 3

The 5 is how much it clogs pores (on a scale of 5). The 3 is irritation wise.

Here is the link so just scroll down.

http://www.zerozits.com/Articles/acnedetect.htm

Edited by Warrior of Acne
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I believe it is isopropyl myristate (not sure if it is spelled exactly like that, but similar). It is extremely pore clogging.

Fatty Acids & Derivatives Isopropyl Myristate 5 3

The 5 is how much it clogs pores (on a scale of 5). The 3 is irritation wise.

Here is the link so just scroll down.

http://www.zerozits.com/Articles/acnedetect.htm

eek! if the isopropyl myristate is that pore-clogging then I would prefer to stay away from it. I've managed to control the peeling a lot more during the day by switching to a moisturizing cream instead of using regular moisturizer, so that's less of a concern for me now.

I don't know what's wrong with my dermatologist, though. When I told him I wanted to try the gel instead, he interpreted it as "I want stronger medication," and wouldn't listen to me when I told him my skin was too sensitive for the stronger retinoids. Obviously, I need to switch dermatologists.

My face is still breaking out regularly in painful pimples so I'm definitely going to stop using the tretinoin cream for now and try a different retinoid (gel of course). Thanks for the input!

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Some docs get all huffy when the patient suggests a medicine change. *sigh*

I do suggest (also) that you find a new doc, one who is willing to listen to you.

You could try one more time, explaining that the cream has isopropyl myristate in it and that's comedogenic for acne-prone skin. Remind him/her that the gel doesn't have that ingredient. That you don't want to switch because of the strength, you want to switch only because you don't want your treatment to make your skin worse instead of better. :P Explain you understand that there's a risk of an initial breakout but that you're willing to deal with it, but not with the cream.

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To fourfivesix:

Yes, if you can't convince your derm that you want to switch to the gel version, then you really should switch dermatologists. I mean, you are paying them--they work for YOU.

And, really, don't you think a derm would know about isopropyl myristate?

When I finally contacted my daughter's derm about wanting her to use the gel instead of the cream and why, she called right back and said it was a good idea(probably didn't know the cream version had the pore-clogging ingredient?) and she went along with my suggestion that my daughter apply a thin layer of CeraVe or Solvere cream over or under the gel.(visiting Acne.org and other sites online has increased my understanding of the treatment of acne so much). I know some doctor's have this ego and don't want a patient telling them what to prescribe, but luckily this doctor is not like that.

Good luck with using the gel version and finding a better dermatologist and good luck with some good results for your skin.(I have noticed my daughter's already looking 80% better in the two weeks since she started her new regimin)

Edited by Augusta
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I switched from the cream to the gel and I still breakout, am red, and my skin "breaks." I want to use just a gentle cleanser, but have started using Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser to kill bacteria. I also use Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 30 moisturizer. I stopped using Cetaphil because I was thinking I needed something stronger to prevent the breakouts. Is this the right step? I have been on Retin-a since May. Anyone know??

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kaleygirl,

I am sorry you are still breaking out and your skin is red and itrritated even though you have been using the Retin A since May. I would say stick with a very mild cleanser(maybe the Pore Cleanser is too irritating on top of everything else). If not Cetaphil, try Olay Face Wash Sensitive. Good stuff! Cleans off all dirt and makeup without leaving a tight feeling afterwards.

You don't want to add anything harsh to your face.

But definitely talk to your derm about how the Retin A is affecting your skin .

My daughter, who I thought had very sensitive skin, has suprisingly, not gotten red and irritated by it, so I guess her skin on her face is more tolerant of this type of medication(and her face is slowly improving, too). I think everyone will respond in their own way(personal chemistry), so maybe your derm might prescribe a different topical(Differin?) for you.

I switched from the cream to the gel and I still breakout, am red, and my skin "breaks." I want to use just a gentle cleanser, but have started using Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser to kill bacteria. I also use Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 30 moisturizer. I stopped using Cetaphil because I was thinking I needed something stronger to prevent the breakouts. Is this the right step? I have been on Retin-a since May. Anyone know??
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I used an entire tube of the cream per the DRs instructions to "prepare" my face for the gel...She told me this is what she does with all her patients because the 0.025% strength doesn't come in gel form? She prefers to start at 0.025% instead of 0.04%..So to move up to the .1% you have to go through two tubes instead of one..but my face is completely clear now and i'm still using 0.04% (too lazy to go to the DR and have her put in the Rx for .1%...) so the method worked for me I guess.

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