Tretinoin

Topical Retinoid

The following side effects are expected to occur with the use of tretinoin. Contact your doctor if these symptoms are severe and/or do not go away:

How Common (based on clinical studies)

Dryness of skinUp to 68% of all users
Skin warmth and/or rednessUp to 64% of all users
Burning or stinging sensationUp to 55% of all users
Peeling, scaling ,or flaky skinUp to 52% of all users
Skin tightnessUp to 43% of all users
ItchingUp to 35% of all users
Skin irritation, blistering, and/or crustingUp to 35% of all users
Discoloration of skinUp to 35% of all users
Sunburn / PhotosensitivityUp to 3.8% of all users
Increase in acne lesionsUp to 0.7% of all users
Increased risk of skin infectionUp to 0.3% of all users

Tretinoin may cause some side effects that are serious. If you experience any of the following uncommon side effects, get in touch with your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:

  • A sudden appearance of swelling and rash (known as hives)
  • Severe itching
  • Severe local discomfort or pain 

Tretinoin may also cause other side effects that are not mentioned here. Contact your doctor if you experience any other troublesome symptoms when using tretinoin.

References
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  2. Lucky AW, Cullen SI, Jarratt MT, and Quigley JW. Comparative efficacy and safety of two 0.025% tretinoin gels: results from a multicenter, double-blind, parallel study. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 38(4), S17-23 (1998).
  3. Berger R, et al. Tretinoin gel microspheres 0.04% versus 0.1% in adolescents and adults with mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a 12-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, phase IV trial. Clinical therapeutics. 29(6), 1086-97 (2007).
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  8. Shalita AA, et al. A comparison of the efficacy and safety of adapalene gel 0.1% and tretinoin gel 0.025% in the treatment of acne vulgaris: a multicenter trial. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 34(3), 482-5 (1996).
  9. Ellis CN, et al. Comparison of adapalene 0.1% solution and tretinoin 0.025% gel in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Br. J. Dermatol. 139 (suppl 52), 41-47.
  10. Grosshans E, et al. Evaluation of clinical efficacy and safety of adapalene 0.1% gel versus tretinoin 0.025% gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris, with particular reference to the onset of action and impact on quality of life. Br. J. Dermatol. 139 (suppl 52), 26-33.
  11. Tu P, Li GQ, Zhu XJ, Zheng J, and Wong WZ. A comparison of adapalene gel 0.1% vs. tretinoin gel 0.025% in the treatment of acne vulgaris in China. J. Eur. Acad. Dermatol. Venereol. 15 (Suppl 3), 31-36 (2001).
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  13. Jarratt MT, and Brundage T. Efficacy and safety of clindamycin-tretinoin gel versus clindamycin or tretinoin alone in acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled study. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD. 11(3), 318-26 (2012). 
  14. Tirado‐Sánchez A, Espíndola YS, Ponce‐Olivera RM, and Bonifaz A. Efficacy and safety of adapalene gel 0.1% and 0.3% and tretinoin gel 0.05% for acne vulgaris: results of a single‐center, randomized, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled clinical trial on Mexican patients (skin type III–IV). Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 12(2), 103-7 (2013).
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