Retin-A (tretinoin) is a form of vitamin A that helps the skin renew itself.

The Retin-A and Avita brands of tretinoin are used to treat acne. The Renova brand of tretinoin is used to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and mottled skin discoloration, and to make rough facial skin feel smoother.

Retin-A may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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  • Altinac, Atralin, Avita, Refissa, Renova, Retin-A, Tretinoin Emollient Topical, Tretin-X
  • More frequent side effects include exfoliation of skin, stinging of the skin, localized warm feeling, and mild erythema.
    See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

    For the Consumer
    Applies to tretinoin topical: topical cream, topical gel/jelly, topical liquid, topical solution

    In some animal studies, tretinoin has been shown to cause skin tumors to develop faster when the treated area is exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight or artificial sunlight from a sunlamp). Other studies have not shown the same result and more studies need to be done. It is not known if tretinoin causes skin tumors to develop faster in humans.

    As well as its needed effects, tretinoin topical (the active ingredient contained in Retin-A) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

    If any of the following side effects occur while taking tretinoin topical, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

    More common
    Burning feeling or stinging skin (severe)
    lightening of skin of treated area, unexpected
    peeling of skin (severe)
    redness of skin (severe)
    unusual dryness of skin (severe)
    Rare
    Darkening of treated skin
    Some tretinoin topical side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

    More common
    Burning feeling, stinging, or tingling of skin (mild)—lasting for a short time after first applying the medicine
    chapping or slight peeling of skin (mild)
    redness of skin (mild)
    unusual dryness of skin (mild)
    unusually warm skin (mild)
    The side effects will go away after you stop using tretinoin. On the rare chance that your skin color changes, this effect may last for several months before your skin color returns to normal.
  • Retin-A (tretinoin) gel, cream General dosage information for the active ingredient contained in Retin-A: Tretinoin Topical (topical liquid, topical cream, topical gel, topical kit) Please confirm that the medication forms on the dosage document(s) above are relevant for the specific drug you are interested in.