Trifarotene (Aklief®)

Topical Retinoid
Compare To Other Treatments

What Is It?

Trifarotene, sold under the brand name Aklief®, is a vitamin A derivative called a topical retinoid. It helps clear acne by promoting skin cell turnover and reducing inflammation in the skin.


Strength of Evidence
Average 60% reduction in acne after 12 weeks
  1. Del Rosso, J. Q., Lain, E., York, J. P. & Alexis, A. Trifarotene 0.005% cream in the treatment of facial and truncal acne vulgaris in patients with skin of color: A case series. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 12, 2189–2200 (2022).
  2. NCT03915860. A multi-center study to evaluate subject reported outcomes with use of trifarotene 50 μg/g cream in the treatment of moderate facial and truncal acne vulgaris. (2021).
  3. NCT01616654. A randomized, multi-center, investigator-blind, vehicle- and active-controlled, Phase 2 study to assess the efficacy and safety of different concentrations of CD5789 cream applied once daily in subjects with moderate to severe acne vulgaris. (2021).
  4. Tan, J. et al. Randomized phase 3 evaluation of trifarotene 50 μg/g cream treatment of moderate facial and truncal acne. J Am Acad Dermatol 80, 1691–1699 (2019).

Side Effects

Low-medium side effects and adverse reactions's Real World Take

Trifarotene is the newest retinoid to hit the market. It’s very expensive and not usually covered by insurance. It works in a slightly different way from the other retinoids (adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene), and may provide slightly better results with a lesser chance of side effects. It should provide noticeable clearing of the skin, but is unlikely to completely clear you up on its own.


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