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Atralin for Acne

author image J.M. Andrews
J.M. Andrews has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. She specializes in health and medical content for consumers and health professionals. Andrews' background in medicine and science has earned her credits in a wide range of online and print publications, including "Young Physicians" magazine.
Atralin for Acne
A woman is looking in the mirror at her face. Photo Credit: South_agency/iStock/Getty Images

Zits, pimples, lesions or blemishes, no matter the name there's no denying that most teenagers have acne. The American Academy of Dermatology calls acne the most common skin condition in America, and up to 50 million teens and adults cope with it each year. While over-the-counter products may work for some acne sufferers, many who have moderate to severe acne will need assistance from a prescription medication. Atralin, a newer formulation of a proven acne fighter, can help clear your acne.

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Pimples erupt when the skin's sebaceous glands make too much oil. The oil, in combination with dead, sloughed-off skin cells, can clog pores and irritate hair follicles, according to the Mayo Clinic. The oil also can nurture bacteria, which cause inflammation and infection in bad cases of acne. Atralin attacks one of these root causes of acne--the clogged pores.


Atralin's active ingredient is an acne-fighting natural derivative of vitamin A called tretinoin. Tretinoin, which was the first such vitamin A derivative approved for use in acne treatment, works by encouraging the skin to rejuvenate and produce new skin cells, according to the AAD. This slowly unclogs your pores, which prevents new acne lesions from forming. Although earlier medications containing tretinoin tended to dry and irritate the skin, Atralin's manufacturer maintains that the drug's formula contains moisturizers that help hydrate the skin and prevent dryness.


Although your physician may give you special instructions on how to use Atralin, in general most people use it once a day before bedtime. According to the manufacturer, you first should wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry. Next, apply a small, pea-sized amount of Atralin to your forehead, both cheeks and chin. Avoid getting it on your mouth, near the corners of your nose or near your eyes.

Side Effects

Although Atralin has been formulated to cause less irritation and dryness, the drug's manufacturer warns that it's common for acne treatments--including Atralin--to cause peeling and redness along with irritation and dryness. In addition, the tretinoin in Atralin can make your skin very sensitive to the sun, so you should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every time you venture outdoors.


Tretinoin-based prescription medications such as Atralin tend to be very effective in combating acne, according to the AAD. However, the manufacturer warns that it can take up to three months to see results from Atralin treatment. While under treatment, every acne patient should avoid harsh scrubbing, since it can irritate the skin and cause worse pimples to form. Also, don't pick or pop your zits, since that can lead to infected acne and even scarring.

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