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Retinoids / Retin A

These medications are the mainstay of topical acne treatment. They decrease oil production helping skin become “less sticky” and slough off better decreasing the number of pores that are clogged.

Retinoids / Retin A


What are Retinoids/Retin A?

Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A. They include Differin, Retin A, Tazorac and the generics of these.

What are Retinoids or Retin A used for?

These medications are the mainstay of topical acne treatment. They decrease oil production, helping skin become “less sticky” and slough off better, decreasing the number of pores that are clogged. They decrease the inflammation that is commonly found in acne. Lastly they increase collagen, which may help with acne scarring.

What are the side effects of Retinoids or Retin A ?

They are sometimes drying, even if used correctly, but especially if used incorrectly. Retinoids or Retin A cannot be used in pregnancy or nursing, they may be dangerous.

What can I do to decrease the irritation from Retinoids or Retin A?

Here are a few tips for appropriate use of this medication to decrease irritation.

  • Wash your face with an oil free, gentle soap such as Cetaphil
  • Wait 20-30 minutes after you have washed your face and allowed it to dry
  • Put a small amount (the size of a frozen pea) on one finger
  • Use that finger to put five small dots on your face – forehead, nose, each cheek and chin – and rub in this thin film
  • Do not apply to the sensitive skin around your eyes or mouth
  • Apply an oil-free moisturizer to your face 15 minutes later and as often as needed during the day

What medications interact with Retinoids or Retin A?

If you have been prescribed a benzoyl peroxide product such as a wash or a gel, please do not apply these at the same time of day as your retinoid. Apply one in the morning and one in the evening. If you are using the generic versions of retinoids, make sure you use these at night because the generic versions may become inactive in the sun.

Dr. Jennifer Janiga would be happy to speak to you regarding the suitability of Retinoids or Retin A for your specific circumstances. For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Janiga in our Reno/Tahoe dermatology and cosmetic surgery office, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600. Appointment length varies but is usually not more than 15-30 minutes.

Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.