Topical Retinoid
1969 Reviews
Topical Retinoid
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
Topical Retinoid
Side Effects
Topical Retinoid’s Real World Take
Works about the same as the other two topical retinoids, tazarotene and adapalene, and lands in the middle of those two when it comes to side effects. Should provide partial clearing, but comes with sensitivity when you first start using it. It probably won’t be a total game changer but it should help reduce acne.
Topical Retinoid
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist? Make an appointment to get this medication. Don't have a dermatologist? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find one.
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May 9, 2018
Keep Going! IT WORKS
I got an IUD a year ago, and my skin went from completely clear to horrible in a matter of 6 months. The acne I had was hormonal and cystic, and deep beneath my skin. I started Tretinoin 0.025% paired with Spironolactone about two months ago. The first month was HORRIBLE. I felt like things were getting worse instead of better, my skin was so dry and itchy, and I was basically molting every morning, makeup and moisturizer burned to put on (Plain old Cetaphil face/body moisturizer did wonders to help this - it's super gentle but also very rich moisture that is long lasting). During my period, things got to the point where my skin hurt to touch. At a month and a half though, I turned a corner. Things began to calm down, my skin was less dried out, I didn't break out on my period. At two months in, my skin is completely clear. No bumps, nothing beneath the surface, no tiny bumps. I actually think it's clearer than it was before I got my IUD. Just when I thought I couldn't take another day of burning, bumpy skin, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going!
April 27, 2018
I had suffered from comedones since I was about 16, and it just kept getting worse; nothing could fix it. My derm prescribed tretinion as a topical, and she warned me about the side effects (which all came true). At first, it's really bad. Not only will your skin be itching you constantly (because it's 'shedding', if you have blackheads/whiteheads like me they will probably turn into pimples and you HAVE TO WAIT FOR THEM TO ALL POP. That horrible phase lasted me about 3-4 months. But it's completely worth it. Looking back, I'm so grateful I didn't stop it (even though it got really realllyyy bad) because I finally got rid of something that was really bothering me. Just hang in there, it will get better and you'll be so happy you didnt stop midway
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1 user(s) found this helpful

April 11, 2018
3 months in tretinoin 0,025 + clindamycin
I tried Epiduo Forte gel and it left lot of hyperpigmentation and devloped a cystic acne from it. My derm prescribed tretinoin and it works wonders with scarring and getting rid of acne. The biggest change i made in my skin care routine was NOT PUTTING anything besides tretinoin, moisturizer and sunscreen (it is difficult to find one that wont break you out). I know from desperation we tend to buy cleansers, face wash and all those kind of anti-acne products, but tretinoin is already strong so do not put anything harsh on your skin otherwise acne will just worsen from skin irritation (happened to me with epiduo). How to start? At the beggining i put tretinoin during the night for only 10-15 min, next day 30 min, then 1 hour and after that i started putting it maybe three times a week until i built up to every night, the reason why your skin may react bad to it, it`s because you dont let your skin get used to the product. IMPORTANT: I only wash my face with water (as recommended by my derm) and if i am wearing makeup or sunscreen i just put it off with Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water as it is superrr gentle to the skin and then wash with water to put away more impurities. So in the first place you should try to use only tretinoin and whatever helps your skin recover from the strong effect of the medication. If your skin ever feels tight after a product, skip it! The moisture of your skin is the most important thing when in anti acne regimen.
March 20, 2018
I am writing this review after 2 and half years of using a tretinoin .025% cream (not stevia brand, but for some reason would not let me review the general brand. But I wanted to leave a review for anyone out there that may be feeling like nothing is helping like I did for a very long time.) For the first year, I applied the tretinoin cream by itself after waiting 30 minutes to dry and my skin was an absolute disaster. However, I have extremely dry, sensitive skin. So one day I decided to apply moisturizer before the tretinoin and it has worked wonders. Yes, I still break out occasionally, but it is NOTHING like it used to be. I used to have dime-sized, red, inflamed pimples all across my forehead and now when I break out it is tiny and only lasts a couple of days. My advice is to get to know your skin and what it can handle. Obviously mine was becoming way too dry and broke out more as a result, but applying the moisturizer before the tretinoin was the fix. I hope this can help anyone as I know I looked at reviews religiously when my skin was at its worst. Years later, I have nothing but positive things to say about this cream.
February 24, 2018
Didn't work long-term
I used generic tret for about a year and a half, did 3 months on .025%, 9 months on .05% and 4 months on .1%. Initially it really cleared me up, not 100% but I was comfortable leaving the house without makeup for the first time in nearly 10 years. However, after my last period all my acne came back, even using the ,1% every night. I haven't had my levels tested yet but I have a strong suspicion that I have a hormonal imbalance causing my acne that topical treatments are only going to be marginally useful in fighting.
January 9, 2018
Definitely helps!
I've been using Tretinoin .025 for about 3-4 months now. I haven't been consistently using it every night. Maybe 3 nights a week and other nights as a spot treatment. But I must say, this cream is a little wonder cream isn't it. Although I still get pimples on my face, this cream helps them dissolve into nothing after 1 or 2 days and nothing is left behind. The size of my pimples have been substantially smaller. And my scarring has cleared up a lot. Over all my complexion just looks a whole lots clearer and smoother. The reason I'm only giving this 3 stars is because is doesn't actually stop acne from coming - so far. So let's see what happens. I'll still continue to use it. Would anybody recommend I go to .05? Is that stronger? Peace and love to all my beautiful little acne angels xxxxxx
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3 user(s) found this helpful

December 21, 2017
Tretinoin Gel
I do not usually take the time to write reviews but I felt compelled to as I heavily relied on reviews to make a decision for my skin. I am 27 and although not constant, I would frequently get deep, very swollen, under the skin blemishes that would result in weeks of redness/marks and they would often never come to the surface. Id say this has been going on for about 7 years. I have tried everything but nothing has made this problem better. I, like many of you was worried about the horrible "purge" on tretinoin however, I am in my 3rd week and My skin is more beautiful than ever. I cant say I am even experiencing any dryness or redness. (I am using CeraVe Am moisturizer with sunscreen) I am very happy with the results so far. I will add that I began taking generic Yasmin for birth control at the same time. My doctor said it has an aldactone derivative so, one may experience spiro benefits without having to take spiro alone. I hope this helps someone, I know having bad skin can send you into a very low place. There is hope. :)
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6 user(s) found this helpful

December 11, 2017
This works but its a spot treatment, doesn't get the source of the acne
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1 user(s) found this helpful

July 10, 2018
No retin-a isn't for spot treating acne. You have to use it consistently to get results.
December 5, 2017
Awful month but there is a light at the end of the tunnel
I faced problems with acne through all my life and now, with 26 years old, I'm still with the same issues (the only notable difference is where the pimples grow). I have adult acne (hormonal acne) and this condition started to really bother me at the beginning of October; I was with 5-6 cystic pimples in my chin and left cheek. So I decided to seek for a 'birthcontrol pill' free treatment (side effects sucks) and went to the dermatologist. She prescribed me 100 mg of spironolactone and topic tretinoin 0,25mg/g with clindamycin fosfate 12mg/g. I was really excited to get rid of this problem, but actually, It just get worse. I've had the WORST breakout ever (a lot of cystic acne and some pustules), and was facing dizziness and fainting sensations due spironolactone. The conclusion: the side effects of spironolactone&tretinoin were worse than taking birthcontrol pills. Through all the month, I was sad, kind of depressed and with painful acne. Last week I visited my dermatologist and my gynecologist, I'm now taking Diane-35 (hopefully I'll switch the pill in the future), a lower dosage of spironolactone (50 mg), doxycycline (100 mg) and topic tretinoin. Since then, I had zero breakouts and the appearance of my skin is slowling improving, so yes, I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Apart from the prescribed drugs, I've made some daily changes that also seem to have helped. I'm using FPS 60 (I was using FPS 30 before) and I always manage to cover my face when I'm outdoor, I'm really engaged in moisturizing my skin and this really helps!!!!! I'm using this gel moisturizer with thermal water, 2 times a day. Also, it's REALLY important that your skin is completely dry when you are applying tretinoin. Finally, I'm trying to avoid dairy products (so sad). To put it shortly: if you're having a bad time with tretinoin, try to moisturize your face frequently, use high FPS sunblocks and apply tretinoin only when your skin is dry. And also, keep in mind that stress affects your acne situation and the picture can really get worse (try to relax). Hope it helps. (Sorry for my english, I'm from Brazil :) ).
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7 user(s) found this helpful

December 22, 2017
What is the moisturizer called that you use?
October 13, 2017
Good stuff
Tretinoin cream works pretty well for me when I've used it. I'm fortunate not to get much peeling skin and redness from it- just some dryness, but I don't always use the the product straight up on my skin (I mix it with a bit of moisturizer if my skin already feels a bit dry). It never cured my acne completely but when I've used it I've noticed a big difference in the number and severity of my acne lesions- enough for me to really recognize the difference in my skin.
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4 user(s) found this helpful

August 23, 2018
Watch out with using it together with a moisturizer! It's recommended to apply the tretinoin without anything else because it could interfere with each other and make the tretinoin less efficient

Finding a Doctor

The right dermatologist can make a big difference to your patient experience and the success of your acne treatment plan. Here are the steps to find a dermatologist who is a good fit:

  1. Use the search feature on the American Academy of Dermatology website to look for board-certified dermatologists in your area, and filter the search results for doctors with a special interest in treating acne.
  2. Read online patient reviews of any dermatologists you are considering and ask people you know whether they have any experience with these dermatologists.
  3. Do your research and go to your first appointment with questions prepared.
  4. Listen to what your gut feeling tells you once you see a dermatologist in person. If you are not completely comfortable, try a different dermatologist.

Finding a Doctor

Only a select few plastic surgeons specialize in acne scar revision surgery. Be certain to find a provider who specializes in acne scar repair and who is passionate and experienced in this area.

Be sure to:

  • Look at before and after photos, the more the better, especially patients with similar scarring to your own.
  • Be realistic about results. Look for improvement, not a cure.

Questions to ask a potential scar revision specialist:

  • Are you board certified? Be certain that they are board certified.
  • How long have you been performing these procedures? Normally, the more experience the better, however, some younger surgeons may be more on top of the latest procedures.
  • Can I speak to some of your other patients? Ask for references for several patients who had similar scarring and speak to them about the process and their satisfaction with results.

Red flags:

  • Their story changes: As you discuss different treatment options, if they tend to change their mind easily, or agree with whatever you say, consider this a red flag. A confident, experienced surgeon will possess strong, unwavering opinions.
  • Your gut tells you "no": Trust your gut. If you just don't feel that the doctor is the right fit, trust that and move on. On the other hand, if you feel they are the perfect specialist for you, trust that feeling.