Retinoids were originally used to treat acne but are now common in the treatment of wrinkles and sun damage repair. Doctors also prescribe them to treat other skin conditions, such as plaque psoriasis. Retinoids are only available by prescription. Because they cause irritation, the skin becomes more sensitive to the sun, therefore sunscreen is recommended when using retinoids. All retinoids are compound derived from vitamin A. According to the medication information website Original Drugs, retinoic acid, tazarotene and adapalene are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration and thus considered the best retonoids available.
Tretinoin (Retinoic Acid)
Best known under the brand names Retin-A and Renova, tretinoin is one of the most popular retinoids in the market today, according to Original Drugs, an informational website on medications. Tretinoin is also referred to as all-trans-retinoic acid, and is available in three strengths: 0.025, 0.05 and 0.1 percent as well as in three forms: topical liquid, cream and gel. What type and strength you’re prescribed depends on the severity of your problem and your skin type. Your doctor might need to adjust dosage and strength during the treatment period, depending on whether you develop a reaction or are seeing results. Tretinoin can cause a number of side effects, including peeling of the skin, stinging or burning and changes in the coloration of the skin, according to MedlinePlus.
Tazarotene, which goes by the brand name Tazorac, belongs to a third-generation, newer form of retinoid. It’s more expensive than other retinoids but also consider to more effective in treating acne, according to Original Drugs. The website also points out that it causes more irritation than other retinoids as well. Aside from treating acne, tazarotene is also a popular treatment for plaque psoriasis, dark skin patches and fine wrinkles, according to Drugs.com. When using this drug, avoid all exposure to sunlight or use an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
Sold under the brand name Differin, adapalene is ideal for people with sensitive skin, as it causes less irritation than other retinoids, according to Original Drugs. Used mainly to treat acne, it works by preventing pimples from forming under the skin. During the first few weeks of treatment, conditions can get worse, as the drug will cause pimples to come to the surface, exposing them. With continued use, the condition of the skin will improve. Redness, itching and scaling are common during use.