What Is Tretinoin Cream Used For?

Man Applying Facial Cream

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Tretinoin Cream is a vitamin A derivative effectively used to help smooth and soften facial skin. Tretinoin is the generic name of this product -- a popular brand name for tretinoin cream is Renova. Tretinoin is a prescription cream used to smooth roughness on the face, to lessen appearance of fine lines, to even the skin tone, decrease wrinkles, even out pigmentation variations, treat acne, decrease size and amount of blackheads, and improve the overall appearance of facial skin.


Tretinoin cream works by speeding up facial skin-cell replacement and building the capacity for collagen development in facial skin. It takes about six months for the full effect to occur on the facial skin. After six months' use of tretinoin, facial skin will appear less wrinkled, more even in skin tone and less dull. The cream has a light floral scent and is white. A small pea-sized amount of cream is spread over the face well after the face was washed -- at least 30 minutes.

Side Effects

Side effects from the use of tretinoin cream may include facial peeling, redness and itch. This cream should be used only on the face. Do not use tretinoin cream if pregnant or planning a pregnancy. This cream will be found in breast milk if used while pregnant or in the time before becoming pregnant. Tretinoin may also cause sun sensitivity and increased risk of sunburn.

Anti-Aging Strategies

Tretinoin cream may be used as part of a beauty regimen to help prevent the appearance of facial aging. This cream helps slow down the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It helps to beautify the overall appearance of facial skin and add a youthful glow to the face.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of decades of use of this cream are as of yet unknown. Use any product on the skin with due caution as unknown systemic effects may occur. Always ask your doctor about any possible long-term effects of any prescription product before starting on daily or frequent use of the product.

Use in Combination With Other Products

Tretinoin cream may be used with regular makeup products. Apply tretinoin cream after washing the face, and wait at least 30 minutes to apply the cream. Then wait 10 more minutes for the cream to settle into the face. Then makeup application may begin as usual. Using makeup that contains a sunscreen is a good idea to protect the face from the sun.