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Acne is a difficult problem, because it has so many different causes and a large variety of treatment options. One of the treatments that works well for a lot people with medium to severe acne is Retin A, a specific cream or liquid formula.


What is Retin A?

Retin A is often used to refer to a specific type of cream, but it’s actually the name of a natural vitamin A compound found in your skin. This form of vitamin A is one of the nutrients that helps your skin to renew itself when it’s damaged. It’s officially called tretinoin, though many people know it as Retin A or Retinoid A.
Usually, you can find Retin A in cream or gel form. It’s not typically sold in other forms, since the creams and gels are the most effective way to preserve and apply the formula to your skin. This is a compound generally used to treat acne, though it can also help with some signs of aging, roughness, or skin discoloration.

How Does Retin A Work on Your Skin?

The way Retin A helps your skin is by improving regrowth and healing in your skin. It’s only ever applied topically, and it should never be ingested. There are a lot of complex healing processes taking place every day in your skin as it regenerates and replaces itself constantly. Using Retin A increases the speed of that regeneration and helps your body to regrow skin cells even faster than normal.
It’s useful for anti-aging because of this regrowth function. When the skin cell healing starts to slow down as you age, Retin A may increase it enough to keep your skin looking healthy while removing signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps to prevent them from popping up again while you’re still using the treatment.
The reason it’s also useful for acne is because it helps the skin to health from bacterial acne infections. Acne and pimples are formed because the skin is infected around a clogged pore or hair follicle. So, when you use Retin A, it will promote healing from that infection and cause the skin to more easily repel further infections that might create another outburst of acne. Pimples that do form will disappear more quickly than they normally would, because they will heal faster.

Where Can You Get Retin A?

Retin A is a prescription-only medication in the US. Some other countries have it available from a pharmacy, but in most cases, it’s a controlled substance. The problem with Retin A is that it can be harmful to your skin if you use it improperly, so you need to get a doctor’s prescription to instruct you on how to use it right. It shouldn’t be your first option for acne treatment or anti-aging; you should try a few other methods before looking into Retin A.


Once you get your prescription, you’ll be able to find Retin A cream or gel from most pharmacies within the US. It’s a common medication that’s used by many different people, so it’s widely available for sale as long as you have your prescription ready!

How to Use Retin A?

You should always read over the prescription instructions before you use your Retin A cream or gel. Remember that it’s only a topical medication and it shouldn’t be ingested or used around your eyes, mouth, nostrils, or any open wounds.

Most prescriptions will tell you to use your Retin A cream or gel once per day at the same time every day. It can be useful to put it on before you go to bed, since there are a few other requirements that go along with using it. For the medication to really be able to do its work, you shouldn’t put water or any other skincare product on your face for at least one hour after you’ve applied the Retin A.
Before you put on the Retin A, wash your hands and your face gently to remove dirt. Use a soap-free cleanser for your face if possible. All you need is a thin layer of the cream or gel to cover the whole affected area of your face. You may not need it all over your face, but that’s something that you and your doctor should discuss when you are getting your prescription. Once you’ve applied the medication, wash your hands thoroughly to remove any excess.It’s important to understand that Retin A is not an instant gratification solution. You won’t see many good results from this medication for up to 8 – 12 weeks after you’ve added it into your skincare routine. In fact, many people say their skin got worse for the first two weeks or so after they started using the medication. It works the heal the skin from the inside out, so it can sometimes bring infections up to the surface when they were below the skin before. This is completely normal and not a bad sign.
Be careful when you’re applying Retin A to your skin. You should avoid the crevices around your mouth and eyes to avoid ingestion or irritation. Also, avoid your nostrils or the inside of your nose. If you have cuts, scrapes, sunburn, or eczema on your skin you should not apply the Retin A onto those areas.
The last thing to be aware of is that Retin A makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. For those with fair skin, it might make you more easily sunburnt. It’s wise to wear sunscreen or protective clothing more often if you’ll be out in the sun. Do NOT use a tanning bed if you’re applying Retin A anywhere on your skin, because you may cause bad skin damage to the weakened skin.

Does Retin A Work for Everyone?

Not everyone can use Retin A well. It doesn’t work for all types of acne or pimples. Retin A shouldn’t be your first option for acne control. It’s better to make sure your acne is the type that may respond to tretinoin before you try to use it. That’s something your doctor may be able to help you find out.
If you’re allergic to tretinoin, you should avoid Retin A completely. You may not know if you’re allergic, and you may find out if you use it. Don’t use it anymore if you get severe burning, stinging, or itching of the skin or if you get severe redness, swelling, peeling, blistering, or crusting in the area you applied the cream. It’s not uncommon to have some mild side effects after you apply Retin A, including warmth or mild stinging where you applied it. Your skin may also have a slight change in color for a short time.


Retin A is a great way to treat moderate to severe acne or to help with the signs of aging. It’s a strong medication that really works wonders on some people’s skin! But, it’s also something you should be careful using to make sure you’re doing it right. When you get a prescription for Retin A, make sure you follow all of the directions to get the best results from your cream or gel.

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