Skip to Content

Retin-A (Gel)

Generic Name: Tretinoin Gel (TREH tih noyn)
Brand Name: Avita, Retin-A

Medically reviewed on Sep 5, 2018

Uses of Retin-A:

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Retin-A?

  • If you have an allergy to tretinoin or any other part of Retin-A (tretinoin gel).
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are taking any drugs that may make your skin more sensitive to light. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
  • If you sunburn easily.
  • If you have sunburn or other skin problems, talk with your doctor.
  • If you are pregnant.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Retin-A (tretinoin gel).

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Retin-A (tretinoin gel) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Retin-A?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take Retin-A (tretinoin gel). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • It may take several weeks to see the full effects.
  • Do not use more than what your doctor told you to use. Do not use more often or longer than what you were told. Doing any of these things may raise the chance of very bad side effects.
  • Do not put on sunburned skin.
  • Do not put on cuts, scrapes, or damaged skin.
  • Practice good skin care and avoid the sun.
  • You may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
  • Some weather conditions may irritate the skin. Talk with the doctor.
  • Use of other skin products while using Retin-A (tretinoin gel) may cause more irritation.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs or products on your skin.
  • You may use make-up unless your doctor has told you not to. If you will be using make-up, clean the area to be treated before putting this drug on.
  • This medicine may cause harm if swallowed. If Retin-A (tretinoin gel) is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking Retin-A (tretinoin gel), call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

How is this medicine (Retin-A) best taken?

Use Retin-A (tretinoin gel) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Do not take Retin-A (tretinoin gel) by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
  • If you get Retin-A (tretinoin gel) in any of these areas, rinse well with water.
  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
  • Put on at bedtime.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Wash affected skin and pat dry.
  • Wait 20 to 30 minutes before use.
  • Put a thin layer on the affected skin and rub in gently.
  • This medicine may catch on fire. Do not use near an open flame or while smoking.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not put on 2 doses or extra doses.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Skin reaction that is very bad, bothers you, or does not go away.

What are some other side effects of Retin-A?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Feeling of warmth.
  • Stinging.
  • Change in color of skin.
  • Some skin reactions may happen with Retin-A (tretinoin gel). These include dry skin, redness, swelling, blisters, and peeling. If these skin reactions happen, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to stop using Retin-A (tretinoin gel) for some time, change how much you use, or change how often you use Retin-A (tretinoin gel).

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Retin-A?

All products:

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • Protect from heat or open flame.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Pump:

  • Store upright with the cap on.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Retin-A (tretinoin gel), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide