Tretinoin topical Side Effects
More frequently reported side effects include: exfoliation of skin, stinging of the skin, localized warm feeling, and mild erythema. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to tretinoin topical: topical cream, topical gel/jelly, topical liquid, topical solution
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, tretinoin topical 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 while taking tretinoin topical:
- 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 of tretinoin topical 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.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to tretinoin topical: topical cream, topical gel, topical kit, topical liquid
Very common (10% or more): Severe skin irritation (Up to 32%)
Frequency not reported: Mild irritation, peeling/skin exfoliation, erythema, pruritus, blistering, pain, crusting, tenderness, dry skin, burning/warmth/stinging, photosensitivity/increased sensitivity to light
Postmarketing reports: Temporary hyper/hypopigmentation, rash, skin atrophy
Very common (10% or more): Dry skin (Up to 16%), peeling/scaling/flaking skin (Up to 12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Burning sensation, erythema, pruritus, skin pain, sunburn
Frequency not reported: Blistering/crusting skin
Postmarketing reports: Temporary hypo/hyperpigmentation, increased susceptibility to sunlight
Common (1% to 10%): Skin irritation, skin burning, erythema, dermatitis
Frequency not reported: Peeling, dryness, stinging, itching
Postmarketing reports: Temporary hypo/hyperpigmentation[Ref]
Erythema, peeling, dryness, burning/stinging, and/or itching occurred most frequently during the first 2 weeks of therapy.
Most of the dermatologic side effects were mild in severity (approximately 63%), and approximately 34% were of moderate severity.
Dry, peeling, scaling, and/or flaking skin occurred most often in the gel formulation.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Reversible liver function test changes (bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, ALT, AST)[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Thymol turbidity elevations, increased flocculation[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Allergic contact dermatitis
Postmarketing reports: Allergic reaction[Ref]
1. "Product Information. Retin-A (tretinoin)." Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, Raritan, NJ.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
3. "Product Information. Renova (tretinoin topical)." Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Titusville, NJ.
4. "Product Information. Avita (tretinoin topical)." Penederm Inc, Foster City, CA.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.
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