Generic Name: Tretinoin

Brand Name: Altreno, Atralin, Avita, Retin-A

Popular medicines with Tretinoin

What is Tretinoin

Tretinoin is a trusted ointment to treat acne or other skin diseases as prescribed by your doctor. 

It works primarily by keeping skin pores clear.

This acne cream is available only with a doctor’s prescription.

Tretinoin Cream Uses

The cream is primarily prescribed to treat acne and other skin problems. 

It may lower the number and severity of acne and promote rapid healing of pimples. 

Tretinoin cream belongs to a class of medications called Retinoids. It works by unclogging the pores and increasing skin cell production. 


A small amount of medicine is absorbed into the body after application to the skin. 

Tretinoin works by controlling the skin cell turnover process. 

It irritates the skin, causing skin cells to divide and die more rapidly, increasing cell turnover. 

Tretinoin cream helps improve skin issues, including acne, prevent anti-aging, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

It also acts to treat  hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and rough regions that are frequent in sun-damaged skin by eliminating dead skin cells and replacing them with new skin cells.

The acne cream begins to work in 2-3 to 6 weeks.


You may follow the following step while applying Tretinoin.

  • Wash your hands and affected skin area thoroughly with mild soap and water. To be sure that your skin is thoroughly dry, wait for 20 to 30 minutes before applying the medication
  • Use clean fingertips to apply the medication
  • Use enough medication to cover the affected area with a thin layer
  • Apply the medication to the affected skin area only. Do not let Tretinoin for acne get into your eyes, ears, mouth, corners along your nose, or vaginal area. Do not apply on areas of sunburn

Tretinoin side effects

Like other medications, the acne cream, if not used as instructed by your doctor, can show side effects which include,

  • Warmth or slight stinging of the skin
  • lightening or darkening of the treatment area
  • Redness in the skin
  • Flaky skin 


Tretinoin cream can interact with other medications or diseases to show adverse effects.

You should primarily inform your doctor about your complete medical history and the medications that you are currently taking. 

Doing so can avoid the risk of any side effects in the future. 

Drug Interactions 

Avoid using other skincare products that are harsh, irritating, or cause dryness in the treatment area. 

These products include haircare solutions, lime/alcohol/menthol-containing products, medicated soaps or cleansers, cosmetics with a strong drying effect, and products containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid.

Another ingredient, Benzoyl peroxide, if applied with Tretinoin, can be very irritating and may decrease the effectiveness of the medication.

Disease Interactions 

Tretinoin can interact with other diseases to show side effects. Hence, inform your physician about your medical history before using the acne cream. The diseases include,

  • Eczema
  • Sunburn

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Non-chemotherapy treatment option for other pulsated therapy.  The cream can cause mild redness on the treatment area
Available in a lower-cost generic formIt can sometimes cause itching and irritation in the area
Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Improve the health of sun-damaged skin


Keep this medication at room temperature and away from excessive heat and moisture. Do not allow the medicine to freeze.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does Tretinoin do for the skin?

Tretinoin is prescribed to treat acne or other skin diseases. It works primarily by keeping skin pores clear. 
It is also used to treat wrinkles, dark spots, or harsh skin on the face caused by UV rays. 

Is Tretinoin stronger than Retinol?

Tretinoin may be regarded as a more concentrated version of Retinol in skin care. 
This suggests that Tretinoin is more effective than Retinol. 
When selecting a skincare product, this variation in strength might influence your selection.

Who should not use Tretinoin?

You should not use Tretinoin cream if you are allergic to it.
Some products containing Tretinoin topical are not approved for use by anyone under 18.

Should I use Tretinoin every night?

Yes, you can use Tretinoin every night. 
However, Tretinoin can cause skin irritation and peeling, particularly when first used.

Can Tretinoin cream be used daily?

Yes, Tretinoin cream can be used daily, but you should follow your physician’s instructions for better results. 

What are the side effects of Tretinoin cream?

Tretinoin cream can cause redness or itching in the treatment area. It can also cause stinging on the skin and sometimes darkening of the skin as well. 

What does Tretinoin cream 0.05% do?

Tretinoin cream is a prescribed treatment for acne. 
It unclogs the pores and is also used to treat dark spots or rough skin on the face caused by the sun’s damaging rays.