Generic name: Tretinoin.

Other brand names: Retinoic Acid, Vitamin A Acid.

Retin-A is an acne preparation. It works by increasing the regenerating skin cells.

Quick Facts About Retin-A


Used to treat acne.

Retin-A Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed. Avoid eyes, mouth, angles of the nose, and mucous membranes.

  • Usual adult dose: apply once per day at bedtime, covering affected area lightly. Avoid oversaturating area. Should observe results in 2 to 3 weeks, and 6 weeks before major results. May experience slight stinging or warmth upon application. Now comes in gel.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: resume schedule next day.

Retin-A Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

redness, peeling, or discomfort. If you suspect an overdose, immediately notify your doctor.

More common side effects: excessively red, puffy, blistered, or crusted skin.

Less common Retin-A side effects: darkening or lack of color of the skin.


Inform your doctor before combining Retin-A with:

preparations containing sulfur; resorcinol (used in ointments to treat acne); salicylic acid. Doctor may advise “resting” skin before using any of these skin preparations.

No known food/other substance interactions.

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Not known if Retin-A appears in breast milk.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Use with extreme caution if you have eczema.
  • Use caution during Retin-A therapy when using: other topical medications; medicated or abrasive
    soaps and cleaners; drying soaps and cosmetics; products with high amounts of alcohol, astringents, spices, or lime.
  • Immediately notify your doctor if you experience sensitivity reaction or irritation.
  • Acne may worsen initially after starting Retin-A therapy, inform your doctor if this occurs.
  • Keep away from heat and flames; this medication is flammable.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and sunlamps when using Retin-A.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Retin-A side effects, please contact your healthcare provider