Tretinoin is typically used to treat acne, although other uses, such as wrinkle reduction treatment, are becoming more common. This is due to the resurfacing effect that tretinoin creams have on the skin – promoting the peeling of affected skin and unclogging pores. Tretinoin improves skin changes associated with prolonged sun exposure (fine and coarse wrinkles, roughness, freckles, and pigmentation). If you feel that a topical tretinoin is right for you, please contact our office at (210) 698-6777 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ghohestani. He can discuss your particular skin desires and make recommendations for a treatment plan that may help you achieve the look you desire.
How should Tretinoin be used?
Tretinoin can come in many forms (i.e. liquid, cream, and gel) that can be applied to the skin. In most cases, tretinoin creams are applied once daily or once every 2-3 days. These directions will vary depending on the recommendations of your physician. Regardless of the recommendation, using the cream exactly as directed is important in order to achieve the desired results.
Many patients have noted that after initial application the skin got worse before completely improving. In most cases improvement was seen within 2-3 weeks of use. Medicated cosmetics and other topical preparations that have alcohol, menthol, spices, or limes (i.e. perfumes, astringents, after shave) should be avoided, especially in the early phases of treatment. Other topical medications should also be avoided unless specifically instructed by Dr. Ghohestani. If you are using any topical medications, please inform the doctor, and he will make appropriate recommendations to avoid negative side effects.
Before using tretinoin, make sure to tell Dr. Ghohestani all the other medications you are taking, including vitamins, as they may have negative side effects if combined with tretinoin. Also, tell your physician if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, if you are breast-feeding, and if you are allergic to tretinoin. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided as Tretinoin can make your skin sensitive to the harmful rays of the sun.
When applying Tretinoin, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Using a mild, non-abrasive soap and water, wash your hands and the affected skin area thoroughly. Make sure to completely allow the skin to dry. This may take 20-30 minutes.
- The medication should be applied with a clean sterile instrument (i.e. clean hands, gauze pad, cotton swab).
- Cover the affected area with a light layer. Be careful not to over-saturate.
- If you miss a treatment, do not double-dose to cover the missed treatment.
What are the side effects?
The following side effects have been associated with taking Tretinoin. If any of these persist, you should immediately contact your physician:
- warmth or slight stinging of the skin
- lightening or darkening of the skin
- red, scaling skin
- increase in acne sores
- swelling, blistering, or crusting of the skin
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