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User Reviews for Tretinoin topical to treat Acne

Also known as: Retin-A, Altreno, Retin A Micro, Renova, Atralin, Avita, Refissa, Altinac, Obagi Retin-A and Renova

Tretinoin topical has an average rating of 7.7 out of 10 from a total of 401 ratings for the treatment of Acne. 71% of those users who reviewed Tretinoin topical reported a positive effect, while 14% reported a negative effect.

Tretinoin topical Rating Summary

7.7/10 average rating

401 ratings from 425 user reviews.

Compare all 326 medications used in the treatment of Acne.


Reviews for Tretinoin topical

tret22 · Taken for 1 to 6 months April 12, 2021

“hi everyone, I just wanted to write a review in hopes that it motivates people to continue their tretinoin journeys. I began tretinoin over 18 weeks ago. I purged for the entirety of those 18 weeks. I had painful, under-the-surface cysts and my face was red and inflamed. I stuck to my simple skincare routine and now, at 18 weeks, my skin is beginning to heal. Don't give up hope! Keep going - it absolutely gets better. Also, I found that salicylic acid was causing my inflammation and dryness. After I stopped using a SA face wash, my skin began to heal at a faster rate.”

7 / 10
My skin hates me... March 25, 2021

“After just one week off of oral Isotretinoin (Epuris) my skin started getting small tiny bumps along the hairline and then gradually started moving to the rest of my face. At two months post isotretinoin I was terrified of my before skin returning and asked my derm for help. He gave me Aklief, 0.025% Tretinoin... because of my age (37) he said it works for wrinkles too. How excited I was to start! I have read every single blog and post there is on how to correctly apply tretinoin. I was given one of the lowest doses and after 5 months my skin is dry, red, flaky and the worst part... my acne is as bad as before my 8 months of oral isotretinoin. I’ve never felt so defeated. I would take red, dry, flaking, painful skin - if I had no acne -but it’s continuing to get worse and I’ve given it WELL over the 6-12 week trial. I am done. Tretinoin is not for me. I will be begging my derm to put me back on oral isotretinoin, the magic pill.”

1 / 10
N. March 22, 2021

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I've been using retin A for months and saw no true results. I won't recommend this.”

4 / 10
ryan April 29, 2020

Retin-A (tretinoin): “prior to using this cream, I checked reviews. I saw a lot of negatives; people complaining about a face-purge. I was highly discouraged. After a while, I said screw it. I’ve been struggling with acne for a long time now. I’m a 22 year old african male, been struggling with acne since I was 11; that is half of my life. I ignored the negatives and decided to give it a shot. Week 1 and 2 were calm. The purge started on week 3 and it was horrible! I couldn’t leave my house, my face was a mess. I was nearly compelled to quit but I persevered. The purge lasted through till week 8. On the 9th week, I noticed little less break outs. I’m on my 11 week now and man! my face is as smooth as a baby’s. I honestly can’t believe this. This is the best my face has been in more than a decade. I'd highly recommend. The purge period is absolutely hectic and discouraging but do not give up. stick to it I promise. advice: Take pictures to track your progress”

9 / 10
Cali lady June 23, 2015

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I wanted to take the time to write a review in the hopes to give at least one person the self confidence boost they need to keep going with Retin-A. I've been waiting for the day I get to write my own review. I officially started using Retin- A .25 just under 4 months ago today. My first day was 3 weeks before my birthday. I remember contacting my Dermo in advance with a million questions and mostly the fear of going through THE PURGE during this busy time filled with celebrations, events, etc. I thankfully, made the gamble and started! I decided it was always be... I'll start next week, next month. Let's be real, when is there ever a good time for acne?! I can only describe the last 4 months as a roller coaster. There will be good days. There will be days you hide inside. At some points I thought I was done purging, then it would come back. IT TAKES TIME. Painful cysts too, that do not go away. I would rather have 20 white head pimples all over than 1 deep painful cyst on my face! It was the most challenging thing I've gone through. It will test your patience. To the point of tears, and why me's! At one point I scheduled an emergency Dermo appt to receive Cortizon injections on 3 cysts that were almost the size of dimes!! I couldn't take it anymore. This was 2.5 months. He sat me down and said it takes 3-4 months for results to be reached and you will hate your dermo for that time and gave me the push to continue to go forward. Here's the good news! I am at my 4 month mark, and I have never been more happy. I haven't had a break out in 1.5 weeks. I don't know the last time I've been able to say that. I can take on the CALI summer and not feel like I'm hiding. My biggest advise is be strong! Tell yourself everyday, it's only 4 months of the rest of your life. Get past the 4-5 month mark and it will all be worth it! The past will be a blur! Good luck and you can do it!”

9 / 10
Alexis Moore November 20, 2014

“My experience with Tretinoin Cream, USP .025%, has been awesome! I'm a 16 year old who started, from breaking out every day, black spots on my face everywhere, extreme cystic acne, I felt terrible. I remember looking in the mirror and feeling that I was beautiful BUT if only my acne could go away, there was always a but. In fact, I even cried at one point at how horrible my skin was, it seemed as if everyone noticed. I remember one girl even referring to me as "spotted bump face," in which she then proceeded to laugh, making a joke off of my insecurities. NOW 3 months later my face is absolutely smooth, I rarely ever wear make up, my spots are barely visible, and the acne? IT'S GONE! It's like a miracle. I recommend anyone to stick it out!”

10 / 10
M.M · Taken for 1 to 6 months August 21, 2020

Retin-A (tretinoin): “33 yo/female. Had acne since I was 13 yo. Was diagnosed with PCOS. Took birth control for about 15 years also Spironolactone. My acne is very persistent and mainly comedonal especially jaw line/cheeks/upper neck. I stopped birth control and was tired of Spironolactone as taken alone it didn't do much for me. Went on Accutane which was a horrible experience to clear my acne for it to come back just 6 months later. Have been using Retin A 0.01% for 2.5 months and I can see a lot of improvement. My skin is still purging as it's really congested but I can see it's improving gradually and clearing up. It was a real mess in the first 6 weeks. I'm getting less painful acne around my jaw area now and my skin is much softer, the scars are also fading. Will continue the treatment for the rest of my life I believe. Highly recommend it to anyone with hormonal acne who doesn't want to take medication.”

10 / 10
Nii · Taken for 1 to 6 months February 1, 2020

Retin-A (tretinoin): “Okay, been on Retin A since early November. Prescribed by my primary care physician prior to seeing a dermatologist. When I first began, I started using the gel two times a week. Making sure to always wash off in the morning and use sunscreen throughout the day. I was afraid of the purging period which THANK GOD, I never had. It almost felt like the medication wasn't working. I had no burning or stinging sensations just minor peeling which was not bad AT ALL. This could be because I am on the lowest dosage (0.025). I upped my usage to three times a week and keep using despite "feeling like anything was working". Fast forward to today, three months later and my skin is sooooooo smooth. I still have fading dark marks but they are significantly lighter. I have ZERO ACTIVE ACNE bumps. Smooth skin and very shiny. I am a 25 y/o African American female and THIS PRODUCT IS GREAT. Patience is KEY!!!!!”

9 / 10
Hormone monster · Taken for 6 months to 1 year December 21, 2014

“Tretinoin 0.025 helped me tremendously. 1 hour after cleansing I put it on, no peeling. Took 2 months to see results. First tone of the skin improved, then smaller and smaller break outs. I had like lumps under my skin before. If skin dries too much I use all natural products like shea butter to moisturise. Works. Now after 6 months of bi-daily use NO ACNE!!!! Whohoo! Did not think a cream would work for a severe acne I had. I don't even need the stronger version 0.05%. Skin is plump and not dry. Scars begin to fade, too.”

10 / 10
Bnoon · Taken for 1 to 6 months April 22, 2020

Retin-A (tretinoin): “When I was 5 weeks into using this topical Retin-A I headed to the internet to figure out why my acne was 5 times WORSE than when I started it. I would honesty just look in the mirror and cry, I picked at all my pimples and it made it even worse. The purge is real but If you can make it past it I promise it’s worth it. Do some research on why the purge happens. I am 10 weeks in and all that I have on my face is scaring due to the picking which will go away over time and with the help of other topicals. My advice is to stick with it, do not pick and trust the process!”

8 / 10
Liv August 1, 2020

Retin-A (tretinoin): “Retin is all I can say. This product is amazing. I had small stubborn little bumps (clogged pores) and just overall comedonal acne. Retin A has completely cleared my skin and made it look even better than it did before I had acne. My skin so smooth and it just continues to boost my skin confidence. I've been on Retin A for about a year and hse “Retin A micro pump gel 0.06%”. I did purge a lot and had SLIGHT dryness/irration in the beginning but I didn’t mind it because I WANTED to get rid of the small bumps that were clogged pores. MY TOP ADVICE about this product is using it consistently! This product works slowly (but effectively) and will take some time to produce the wonderful results. Also, I still get a pimple occasionally but no where near what I had. The pimple will usually come and go quickly with this product. I use a mosturizer and a good SPF sunscreen. This is the BEST so stick it out during the purging phase because it is WORTH IT.”

10 / 10
Pear October 11, 2019

Retin-A (tretinoin): “This medication Retin A has been a life changer for me. I was at an appointment and I was complaining about hormonal acne flares before my period. My doctor started telling me about what Retin-A had done for her hormonal acne. She has flawless skin! She said on top of clearing up those breakouts it would help with the aging I was starting to see. I've been on this for two months now and wow the results are amazing! I have zero breakouts and the fine lines and pores are shrinking. I will leave the house without makeup now. My complexion is glowing and even! My uneven skin and breakouts were a big source of embarrassment for me. I did have peeling but this was expected. I also had worsening of acne for a few weeks as my skin purged what was already building in the pores. I pushed through and I am so glad I did. When the dryness flares I skip a night of Retin-A and use a heavier moisturizer. I also use an oil free moisturizer every morning.”

10 / 10
DDF · Taken for 10 years or more April 30, 2018

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I am a 72 year old woman who has been using Retin-A for thirty-four years. I started using it because I had adult acne at the same time my teenage son had acne. I routinely am mistaken for being twenty years younger than I am. I have very few wrinkles. My skin still has dry patches occasionally but they are short lived. I have tried to get several people to use it but they always get discouraged with the redness and peeling in the beginning. This phase does not last forever. Please continue to use it, you will never be sorry.”

10 / 10
carlyyyyy · Taken for less than 1 month July 2, 2014

“I had cysitic acne that would pop up mainly around my chin and sometimes my cheeks. I've been to many dermatologists and have tried so many solutions. I've tried Proactiv, Acayna cream, and antibiotics, but nothing seemed to show a significant improvement. Once I was prescribed Tretinoin Cream, 0.025%, I was truly skeptical as to how much it would improve my scarring and acne. Now, after about only 3 and a half weeks of using it, I couldn't be more pleased. My scars have significantly faded, I have 0 pimples. My face looks amazing. I can literally walk around without makeup. I don't remember the last time I could do that! I HIGHLY recommend this product to anyone who has bad scarring, or acne.”

10 / 10
EPPNYC March 9, 2014

“I started breaking out when I got to college. I decided to address the problem before it got worse, even though the acne wasn't that bad. She gave me a prescription for Tretinoin X cream. I put it on every night. The first week, I felt like someone had rubbed sandpaper across my face. It was AWFUL. My skin was red and irritated and it hurt like hell even when nothing was touching it. The next week, the pain and irritation slowly subsided. The following, my face erupted in pimples. That lasted into the fourth week. It was worse than it had ever been. After that, my face magically cleared up. It was amazing. Except for a very few minor spots, my skin is nearly flawless. The beginning sucks, but STICK IT OUT. You won't regret it.”

9 / 10
Masha7 November 10, 2014

Atralin (tretinoin): “Amazing! It was very difficult at first -- had a lot of peeling, dryness, and breakouts but I stuck it out. After about 4-5 months I starting seeing a major improvement and now my skin is very smooth. Not only does it take care of acne but it smooths out fine lines. Great product, highly recommend. Try to stay patient through the first couple of months.”

9 / 10
R · Taken for 1 to 6 months June 4, 2020

“The first few weeks you feel like giving up. Made my skin look very shiny in a weird way, peeling was hard to cover and the initial purge sucked. That said, like everyone has mentioned on here, it gets better. The purge is cleaning you out, so keep this perspective. I did not feel good about my skin during that time, but so glad I stuck with it. I'm now at week 9 and have 3-4 pimples on my face, skin is super smooth and looks really glowy. Every day keeps getting better. I'm still peeling on and off but its less than it used to be. Just ease in slowly so you don't get crazy red or peely. I did about 2-3 a week to start and now at 4x a week. Love that this gets rid of hyperpigmentation quickly.”

9 / 10
Coco November 28, 2019

Retin-A (tretinoin): “trust me this stuff works and I learned the hard way so PLEASE READ. I started Retin-A for acne in the summer. My skin got red and I felt like it was just making it worse! So I stopped using it... wrong mistake! I went by to dermatologist 3 months after and she advised me to stick through it ( I wish she told me this at our first appointment, I has no idea there was something called the “purge”). Sooo fast forward to now my skin is great!!!! It really does work! It just takes time, and learn from my mistake you MUST STICK THROUGH THE PURGE!! It will get better. I regret having to start all over again, but my skin has never looked better”

10 / 10
Registered nurse November 6, 2016

“I am an RN, I NEVER write reviews but thought I would clear up some confusion. Tretinoin should be use at first every other or every 2 nd night to start with depending on how red, irritated & dry your skin is and work up to nightly application. Yes, your skin will look worse before it gets better. Stick with it. If you start the product and stop your results will be like starting all over again each time you stop, terrible. Apply only at night, use gentle cleanser or just water in the morning with a good moisturizer. I recommend ceravae it has ceramides essential in maintaining moisture. I've had acne for years I'm 47 and have used tretinoin for 2 years now. My skin has never looked better. Follow the steps, be patient you'll be glad.”

10 / 10
Josh112788 December 29, 2013

Retin-A (tretinoin): “So about five months ago or so I asked my esthetician for some Retin-A (tretinoin) cream and she gave me the 1% concentration. I had moderate acne when I was younger, but I didn't leave it alone. Haha. I picked at it, and so I have some "mild" (Or so I'm told -I think it's terrible!) scarring now even though my acne went away with age. I'm 25 now. Acne went away at about 19. Some are pockmarks, and others just discoloration and a little uneven texture. I jumped straight to everyday use. Expected irritation and redness, but none came. My (sensitive) skin handled it awesomely. Product works great. Skin peels off every morning. Haha. Scars are fading nicely. Pockmarks much less depressed. I get compliments on my skin now!”

10 / 10
angi3 September 9, 2013

“This is amazing. I have used it for 2 weeks and I'm shocked at how nice my skin looks. I haven't had to wear any concealer! I have fair, extremely sensitive skin and I think most of the horrible reactions people are getting from this are due to the person not using it correctly. At night after I wash my face I wait 20 mins so my skin is dry and has calmed down, and then apply a tiny amount of the cream to my problem areas (cheeks, nose, chin, around my mouth, forehead). You do NOT want to slather this stuff like benzoyl peroxide and you don't want to put it on a wet, inflamed face...then yes it will sting and burn.”

10 / 10
Courtlayne February 19, 2020

Retin A Micro (tretinoin): “I’ve been using Retin A Micro for about 4 months now. In the first week of use I experienced dry flaking skin. If any area was super irritated I put aquafor on it was healed over night. The first 2-5 weeks my skin broke out worse than before I started using, however the pimples were smaller than usual and would clear up quickly. Weeks 6-7 my skin looked like it was finally clearing up with the exception of two stubborn areas. Those areas didn’t improve in this time but didn’t get worse. Weeks 8-10 my the two problem areas cleared up almost completely but unfortunately I was left with hyperpigmentation. I had minor breakouts on my chin. Weeks 10-12 breakouts stopped. No more purging. Skin clear with the exception of blackheads on nose and chin. Weeks 13-16 still have the blackheads although they seem to be dissipating. Skin texture feels AWESOME. Still have the hyperpigmentation on my cheeks. All in all I LOVE this stuff.”

10 / 10
newskin January 29, 2021

“I've been on tretinoin for 1 year and four months now, and I am SO pleased with my skin. I wanted to comment this for whoever is going through these reviews and needs reassurance. This WORKED for me. I had awful acne on my forehead and my derm recommended I use Tretinoin at night and Adapalene in the morning. It took four-six months of purging for my skin to slowly improve. My skin was the worst I've ever seen at month 4-5, but since then it's only gotten better! Some tips: 1) Use Cerave moisturizing cream and apply it to your face BEFORE Tretinoin. Leave your moisturizer on for at least 30 mins before applying the medication. 2) Don't over exfoliate your face and don't wax your face! You could tear off skin. 3) Only use a pea-sized amount each time. Any more and you'll just dry out your skin and purge even more. It will get better. Trust the process, and know you're not alone on this skincare journey.”

10 / 10
College Girl · Taken for 6 months to 1 year October 28, 2014

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I'm a young woman in my early twenties with moderate acne. If you're just starting Retin-A, STICK WITH IT I started using Retin-A (0.01%) every night in December of 2013. I was very frustrated because my acne became worse for about 2 months. However, I stuck with it and by July 2014 my acne had noticeably decreased. It is now October 2014 and I've been getting compliments on how great my skin looks! For the first time in years, I don't feel like I have to wear liquid foundation to cover up my acne. If you experience flaking, remember that moisturization is key if you're using Retin-A!”

9 / 10
FAC419 · Taken for 1 to 6 months March 16, 2015

“This stuff is amazing. Not only for acne and acne scars, but for its anti-aging benefits too. I experience moderate hormonal acne breakouts on my chin/jaw area. While Tretinoin doesn't exactly stop my breakouts completely, it helps control my skin when I do have a breakout. I feel any pimples clear up and heal much quicker and any spotty discolouration that occurs after spots heal disappears much quicker. This stuff has especially done wonders for fine lines around my eyes and between my brows. My skin tone is more even, pores are smaller and condition of my skin/complexion is far nicer. My skin peeled a lot during the first few weeks- use once every few nights until your skin adjusts. I use nightly now with no problems.”

9 / 10
yesmeen January 24, 2015

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I have only been using this with benzaclin for about 2 months and I can already see an improvement. My pores are smaller, skin is smoother and my tone is more even. I am 25 and have tried almost everything! I use benzaclin in the morning and Retin-A at night. For the first month I noticed 0 improvement, but now im starting to see it!”

9 / 10
Gambit · Taken for less than 1 month July 9, 2014

“I'm a 20 year old male and I have what they call "mild acne". My face was covered in small bumps and little whiteheads. I've been on tretinoin .025% for 3 weeks and my face is already 90% clear. I never went through an initial breakout and so far my face hasn't become sensitive to sunlight. I even went sunbathing a few times with no trouble. This worked very very fast and cleared about 60% of my hyperpigmentation so far. I swear it even reduced some wrinkles! My complexion looks a lot healthier and I'm proud to finally say that I can look in the mirror without fear anymore! I couldn't have asked for a better product. Highly recommended for mild adult acne.”

10 / 10
Mellie · Taken for 1 to 2 years June 5, 2019

Retin-A (tretinoin): “I started using Retin-A about a year and a half ago. It's life changing. Just stick with it! It was hard the first month or so. My side effects were just extremely dry skin. Also lotion and makeup stung a bit in the beginning. I had mild acne but lots of scaring over the years and spots that made my skin look uneven. I also have fairly large pores all over my face. My pores look considerably smaller now and I hardly ever get a break out. If I do it heals fast. I still use it every night even though my skin looks good, just now mainly to continue to have nice looking skin and for its anti aging properties.”

10 / 10

This information is NOT intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews might be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge and judgement of healthcare practitioners.

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