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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Used Tretinoin? Rate It:

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January 13, 2019

i'm sure this is not better than b.p for sensitive skin

it's so irritating and it makes skin more sensitive


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.
May 9, 2017
Is IT WORKING or is it NOT?
I'm a female student, almost 15 years old and I HAVE REALLY TERRIBLE ACNE. A lot of acne scars, deep clogged pores and freakin loads of whiteheads. Decided to opt for the retin-a treatment. I did some research before getting myself two small tubes (0.025% strength) for $16. It would have been $50+ for already two tubes if I were to get it from a doctor here in Singapore. So I used a Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser recommended by some people here before waiting for another 25/30mins and applying the tretinoin. Applied moisturiser for the first two nights before realising that it does nothing. [BTW, applying the cream was like applying a regular cream. No stinging/irritation. This continued for almost a week where I DO NOT EXPERIENCE REDNESS, PEELING/BREAKOUTS LIKE OTHERS CLAIM TO. My skin was still the same. I could also be outside with the sun facing at me without experiencing terrible sunburn and no sunblock/moisturiser with SPF is needed at all! What is happening? Is there something wrong with my skin or is it the RETIN A? [BTW, the retin-a isn't expired, the seller who sold it to me got it recently from somewhere in THAILAND]
June 9, 2017
the tube you got is not strong enough, you need to go see your doc and get a prescription for .10 strength, and I got the gel it is strong and your face will definitely peel and look BAD for several weeks, your face will be very sensitive and every time you apply the gel it will STING. my face look horrible right now i'm on week 5 but I can tell the medicine is doing what its suppose to do.
September 24, 2016
After more than 5 months of use, no more
I started using Retin-A 0.050% in April and it is now September, so I've waited a while to see if it really works. Unfortunately for me, this does not seem to have helped at all. Week 1: major peeling Week 3: still peeling + HORRIBLE BREAKOUTS (worst I've had in my life - I'm 33 and have suffered through acne since my teens) Week 5: no more peeling, but very bad purging phase. I can't even go out anymore :( Week 6: I went back to the doctor to ask for an antibiotic to use while my skin is still purging while on Retin-A because I couldn't take looking like Frankenstein's bride anymore. Week 8: Skin got better, but probably due to Minocycline, which has always worked for me but gives me the worst side effects. I was willing to go through the side effects just to have clear skin this time. Week 18: Finished my course of Minocycline. Skin is still better. Week 20: Started breaking out again because I've stopped Minocycline. Week 22: Skin looks worse than before I started Retin-A and I'm almost finished with my first tube. I won't continue with this anymore. I'm sure this works for some people, but it didn't for me. I went through a horrendous purging phase that was not worth it at all for me because even after 5 months, the medicine hasn't worked. I know a lot of people are saying to stick it out, but that will only really work for some. I don't want to give false hope. I only give it 2 stars because it is very affordable (I do live in Canada).
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September 22, 2016
Dried my face out!
Derm put me on this RX. I learned quickly this wasn't for me. Not sure if it's bc I have sensitive skin, but it made me peely. She switched me to another cream that works better for my skin!
July 19, 2016
It cleared me up for about a week. It's great for Anti-aging, but not for my stubborn, hormonal acne.
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5 user(s) found this helpful

May 26, 2016
12 weeks on retin a
I've been using Retin-A (generic brand tretinoin) for around 12 weeks now. I don't want to sound pessimistic but I don't know what to do anymore. I only really break out right smack dab between my eyes and above my eyebrows, but for the past few months I am still left with pimples and pih left over from pimples that are super stubborn and won't go away. I've become very discouraged because I thought 12 weeks was when I would see improvement, but I haven't. In need of advice and encouragement... I only use once every other day right before I go to sleep, always at least 30 minutes after I have dried my face from showering. I just can't look people in the eyes because all I can think about is them staring at the mess all around my eyes. I hope to continue retin-a but I'm scared it won't be worth it
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May 28, 2016
Maybe you should start using it everyday now.
May 31, 2016
I have started using it everyday but I know it's too soon to know if it's really improving. If anything though, I'm just breaking out even more. I want to continue but it's been 3 months with no improvement. I feel stuck.
June 4, 2016
Are you using the cream or the gel? What strengh?
June 12, 2016
I am using the cream, .025%
May 6, 2016
it works
Works for a while, then I got acne back on my chin and back. Not worth it.
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May 10, 2016
how long did it take to see improvement?
August 12, 2015
Doesent work
I've had this product for about a month and it haven't seemed to help at all. Yes it will clear up existing pimples in about 4 days but does nothing to prevent getting pimples. And doesent get rid of blackheads.
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1 user(s) found this helpful

January 14, 2015
Not Worth It
Tretinoin was prescribed to me after clindamycin which did absolutely nothing. Started with tretinoin .025% and then bumped up to .1% and still nothing. I think its not worth it
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1 user(s) found this helpful


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.