Retin-A, the brand name for the generic drug tretinoin, is a topical anti-acne medication dispensed in gel, cream or liquid form, in concentrations ranging from 0.025 to 0.1 percent. Retin-A 0.05 percent is a medium-strength formulation only available in cream form. According to dermatologist Andrea L. Zaenglein, professor of dermatology at the Pennsylvania State School of Medicine, Retin-A is a potent skin irritant, so it’s important to use all forms of Retin-A as directed. Unlike the gel and liquid preparations, Retin-A 0.05 percent cream is subject to “piling” or over-application, which increases the risk of irritation.
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Each night before bed, wash your hands and the affected area with mild, fragrance-free, unmedicated soap and water using a non-abrasive cloth.
Pat dry and wait 20 to 30 minutes.
Dispense a small amount of Retin-A 0.05 cream onto your clean fingertips. Ask your pharmacist or doctor how much you should use.
Pat Retin-A 0.05 percent cream lightly onto the affected area. Do not reapply to areas you have already covered.
In the morning, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Apply sunscreen formulated for sensitive skin to the affected area. Sunscreen serves as a moisturizer and provides sun protection, since people who use Retin-A are more sensitive to sun.
- "Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th Edition"; F. Wolff et al.; 2008
- Retin-A: Prescribing Information