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How Long Does It Take for Tretinoin to Work?

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For many, Tretinoin is a miracle skin rejuvenator that cuts through acne and reduces wrinkles and age spots fast! Great… how fast?

How long does it take for Tretinoin to work?

  • Tretinoin takes about 4-6 weeks to show early results
  • Your skin may get worse before it gets better
  • After 12 weeks or so, Treinoin should improve your skin

The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the circumstances of your skin conditions before you start, and how faithfully you stick to your treatment regimen.

And you should also know that before you hit the Peak of Restored Skin, you may have to travel through the Valley of the Tretinoin Purge (more on that later).

So, please keep reading to learn everything you need about Tretinoin and how long it takes for this powerful medication to work its magic.


Tretinoin 101

Tretinoin is a prescription Retinoid that is applied topically to the skin. It is most commonly used to treat acne but can also treat other conditions, such as fine wrinkles, dark spots, or rough skin. 

Tretinoin belongs to a class of medications known as retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. Its constituent includes all-trans-retinoic acid and other stereoisomers.

While Tret is a prescription medication, there are over the counter versions known as Retinol products. Many skin care products contain retinol as an ingredient at different concentations, and you can think of Retiol as a stepping stone to Tretinion.

If you have hit the peak of benefit from Reitnol products, it may be time to call your doctor and get a prescription for Tret.


It is available in both over-the-counter and prescription-strength formulations. 


How Does Tretinoin Work?

Tretinoin increases cell turnover, which helps unclog pores and prevents oil buildup and dead skin cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the redness and swelling associated with acne.

In addition, Tretinoin helps to increase collagen production, resulting in firmer, smoother skin.

Tretinoin helps to increase collagen production, resulting in firmer, smoother skin. 

In addition to its use in treating acne, Tretinoin is also sometimes used to treat other skin conditions such as psoriasis and photoaging. Photoaging is the process by which the skin becomes thin, dry, and wrinkled from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Tretinoin can help improve the appearance of photoaged skin by increasing collagen production and reducing static and dynamic wrinkles.

New skin cells are produced more quickly, and old damaged cells are shed faster. The result is that the overall appearance of the skin improves.


How Long Does It Take for Tretinoin to Work?

Generally, it takes 4-6 weeks of regular Tretinion use before results are seen. For some people, it may take longer to see results, and some may never see significant improvement.

It is also important to note that it could even take someone up to 12 weeks for the full effects of Tretinoin to be seen.

It is essential to be patient when using Tretinoin and to continue using the medication as prescribed, even if the results are not immediately apparent.

And many people find their skin gets worse after they start using Tretinion, before it eventually gets better.

Many people find their skin gets worse after they start using Tretinion, before it eventually gets better.


Tretinoin Side Effects: The Tretinoin Purge

Tretinoin definitely has some downsides, for a while. The most common side effects are itching, burning, stinging, redness, and peeling of the skin.

These are known as the Tretinoin Purge (when it comes to Retinol, they’re referred to as the Retinol Uglies).

If you’re lucky, this peeling and flaking of the skin is mild, and will go away shortly. But many people may also experience skin dryness, scaling, or crusting. 

Rarely, Tretinoin can cause more severe side effects, such as blistering or crusting of the skin, changes in skin color, hives, and difficulty breathing.

The purge usually goes away completely after 2-3 months, but for some it can last longer than that. Generally speaking, the worse your acne, the worse your Tretinoin purge will be. It’s tough to live through it, but most people find that their skin is way better after they’ve gotten through the purge and let Tret do its thing.

Generally speaking, the worse your acne, the worse your Tretinoin purge will be.

If you experience severe side effects, seek medical attention immediately. 

Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions before using Tretinoin, including eczema or psoriasis, sunburn easily, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Also, inform them about all other skin care products you use (e.g. products containing Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide do not go well with Tret) , including vitamins and herbs. 

And while you’re on Tretinion (or any Retinol), your skin will be very sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to protect it!


Which Tretinoin Cream Should You Use?

When it comes to Tretinoin, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The right strength and formulation depend on your skin type and what you’re trying to accomplish.

When it comes to Tretinoin, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The right strength and formulation depend on your skin type and what you’re trying to accomplish.

For example, someone with dry skin may do better with a cream formulation, while someone with oily skin may prefer a gel or lotion. Your doctor will help you to choose the right Tretinoin product for your needs. Remember: Tretinoin is a prescription treatment. 

It’s also important to note that these creams have different concentrations of Tretinoin. The lower strength creams contain 0.025% or 0.01% tretinoin, while the higher strengths contain 0.05% or 0.025% tretinoin. This is similar to Retinol products, which also have various strength levels.


How To Use or Apply Tretinoin Cream?

Tretinoin is usually applied to the skin once or twice a day. It should be applied to clean, dry skin. If your skin is damaged, inflamed, or broken, talk to your doctor before applying Tret.

Here are the basics of Tretinoin application:

  • Use a mild cleanser to wash your face and then pat dry. 
  • Give your skin about twenty minutes to completely dry before applying Tret. 
  • Apply only a pea-sized amount of the cream or gel to your entire face, and gently spread it evenly across your face. 
  • Be sure to apply Tretinoin over the entire treatment area, not just on individual spots. 
  • Don’t wash the treated area for one hour after application. Wait at least 30 minutes before applying makeup or other skincare products. 
  • It is vital to use Tretinoin as prescribed by your doctor. Higher amounts can increase the risk of side effects. 
  • If you miss a dose, apply it immediately and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply two doses at one time. 

FAQs

What Happens When You Stop Using Tretinoin?

If you were using Tret to target wrinkles, your skin will gradually go back to its original state when you stop using Tret. No surprise there.

But if you were using Tretinoin primarily to treat acne, and the acne is now gone, if you’re lucky, the acne will not come back once you’ve stopped use. But some find that their acne returns.

Can you use Tretinoin if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?

You should not use Tretinoin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about other options if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and need acne treatment. 

What is the best tretinoin cream for your skin?

The right strength and formulation of Tretinoin will depend on your skin type and the condition you are treating. Your doctor can help you choose the right product for your needs. 


Conclusion: Ride the Roller Coaster

It can take two to three months of regular Tretinoin use before you see the full effects, and your skin may get worse before it finally improves. While you’re in the depths, waiting for Tret to finally clear up your skin, you need to hang on and care for your skin.

Tretinoin is available in different strengths and formulations, and your doctor will help you find the right one for your needs.

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