What should I watch for?
Your acne may get worse initially and should then start to improve. It may take 2 to 12 weeks before you see the full effect.
Do not wash your face more than 2 or 3 times a day, unless directed by your doctor or health care professional. Do not use the following products on the same areas that you are treating with this medicine, unless otherwise directed by your doctor or health care professional: other topical agents with a strong skin drying effect such as products with a high alcohol content, astringents, spices, the peel of lime or other citrus, medicated soaps or shampoos, permanent wave solutions, electrolysis, hair removers or waxes, or any other preparations or processes that might dry or irritate your skin.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths. Avoid cold weather and wind as much as possible, and use clothing to protect you from the weather. Skin treated with this medicine may dry out or get wind burned more easily.
Common and Rare Side Effects
In some animal studies, tretinoin has been shown to cause skin tumors to develop faster when the treated area is exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight or artificial sunlight from a sunlamp). Other studies have not shown the same result and more studies need to be done. It is not known if tretinoin causes skin tumors to develop faster in humans.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Burning feeling or stinging skin (severe)
lightening of skin of treated area, unexpected
peeling of skin (severe)
redness of skin (severe)
unusual dryness of skin (severe)
Darkening of treated skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Burning feeling, stinging, or tingling of skin (mild)—lasting for a short time after first applying the medicine
chapping or slight peeling of skin (mild)
redness of skin (mild)
unusual dryness of skin (mild)
unusually warm skin (mild)
The side effects will go away after you stop using tretinoin. On the rare chance that your skin color changes, this effect may last for several months before your skin color returns to normal.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.