Tretinoin Side Effects

Like all medications, tretinoin has some side effects. In general, tretinoin is a safe and effective medication. However, some users experience side effects ranging from minor skin irritation that goes away with long-term use to more severe adverse effects.

The most common side effect of tretinoin use is a warm, stinging sensation in the skin directly after the medication is applied. This is often accompanied by dry and itchy skin, skin redness, mild scaling and a slight burning sensation.

Tretinoin can also potentially make your acne get worse before it gets better -- a phenomenon known as a “purge” that we’ve covered in greater detail. Usually, the “purge” is temporary and goes away after two to four weeks of tretinoin use.

Many of these minor side effects resolve on their own, while others are easily fixed by using a moisturiser or other skincare products to counter the dryness produced by tretinoin.

More serious side effects of retinoids for acne include facial swelling and burning, conjunctivitis, swelling of the eyelids, skin discoloration and blisters. These side effects are uncommon and should be treated immediately by a medical professional.

The skin care wars, explained - Vox

Finally, a small number of tretinoin users may experience allergic reactions to the medication, resulting in rashes, swelling, trouble breathing, severe itching and dizziness. These side effects are very uncommon and require immediate medical treatment.

On the whole, severe side effects from tretinoin are very uncommon. Minor side effects from the medication tend to be temporary and often disappear on their own or through the use of regular, over-the-counter skincare products such as facial moisturiser.

Would you like to learn more about the potential side effects of tretinoin? Our guide to common and uncommon tretinoin side effects goes into more detail about the side effects of tretinoin as an acne and anti-aging treatment, as well as the best ways to deal with side effects as a user.

Learn More About Tretinoin
Our guides to using tretinoin for acne and for anti-aging cover the two primary uses of topical tretinoin. You can also learn more about the safety and potential side effects of tretinoin in our guide to tretinoin safety, dosages and toxicity.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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