Tretinoin cream is a medication used to treat acne. According to Drugs.com, it is a vitamin A derivative that induces skin-cell turnover and allows the skin cells to stay separated. MedlinePlus says that tretinoin cream causes your skin to peel and helps unclog your pores. Tretinoin is available as a 0.1 percent-strength cream and should be applied to the affected region of your face daily or as your doctor prescribes.
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Common Side Effects
According to Drugs.com, common side effects of tretinoin cream include red skin, irritation, swelling, peeling, stinging and sunlight sensitivity. In a double-blind controlled study of 339 patients using tretinoin, the National Library of Medicine says that almost all the patients experienced at least one of the side effects. Specifically, 32 percent developed skin irritation. These side effects aren't life threatening, but call your doctor if these symptoms persist for two to three days. Typically, these side effects should decrease over time.
According to MedlinePlus, your acne will get worse within the first seven to 10 days of tretinoin use. Continue to use this medication as this side effect will typically resolve on its own.
Harmful Side Effects
Tretinoin cream can cause such harmful side effects as changes in your skin color, sores, blisters and crusting of your skin, says MedlinePlus. It may also cause intense redness and swelling. Discontinue retinoin and call your doctor immediately.
It is unknown whether tretinoin can pass into breast milk or affect your child during pregnancy. Tell your physician whether you want to breastfeed or happen to be pregnant. Your doctor will evaluate whether it is risky to continue tretinoin.
Tretinoin is meant for topical use only and shouldn't be ingested. Call 911 if you accidentally ingest tretinoin.
The National Library of Medicine recommends that you not combine tretinoin with thiazides, phenothiazines, tetracyclines, flouroquinolones or sulfonamides. Doing so can lead to severe phototoxicity, a condition in which your skin becomes severely irritated due to sunlight exposure. Blistering and swelling can result.
Take caution when using tretinoin if you suffer from eczema, a skin condition characterized by extremely itchy rashes. You may develop severe irritation.
Drugs.com warns that you should avoid using other topical creams or makeup while using tretinoin. Tretinoin may become less effective with the presence of these products.