Tretinoin is a pharmaceutical form of Retinoic acid, which is a metabolite of Vitamin A. It is a carboxylic acid form of Vitamin A and is also known as ATRA (all-trans retinoic acid).
The medication is used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions also to promote quick healing of skin lesions so as to prevent recurrence.
The skin conditions that Retin- a- Tretinoin is used for are-
Acne is a common skin condition that can be treated with retin- a- tretinoin. And the results that the drug has are amazing, not only in treating acne but also in preventing recurrence of acne.
Pimples stand no chance against tretinoin, the drug is very effective in treating pimples and has been known to stop recurrence.
Tretinoin will affect the growth of skin cells and collagen and will thus change the way that wrinkle formation and aging take place. Tretinoin creams come in various strengths (0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%) and they can be used preventively as well.
What doses do you use? The usual practice is to use as much of a concentration as your body will allow without having side effects.
Other diseases where the drug has its uses-
1. Leukemia (Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia)
Tretinoin is used in the oral form in the treatment of leukemia in patients where regular drug therapy has failed, the drug is not used as a maintenance drug and should be avoided in pregnant women.
At a molecular level, the drug stops APL cells from multiplying and thus prevents cancer from becoming more severe.
Here are some known side effects of the drug. Side effects for topical use include-
1. Irritation- Prolonged use of tretinoin can lead to skin irritation that is exacerbated by dryness.
2. Redness- Redness is another symptom that accompanies irritation of the skin.
3. Swelling- When you use a concentration of the drug that is higher than your tolerance for the drug, swelling can occur.
4. Blistering- This is rare but in some cases, tretinoin might cause small blister formation that will heal with the withdrawal of medication.
5. Sunburn- Tretinoin will also leave skin more prone to sun damage because of the very effect that makes it great for your skin. New skin cells and collagen are more susceptible to skin damage and thus need to be protected from it.
Side effects of orally ingested form are-
5. Peripheral oedema
7. Chest discomfort
And many others, the list shows that the drug is safer to be used topically and should only be prescribed orally when expressly indicated.
Some precautions that you must take when you use retin-a-tretinoin are-
1. Never take the drug when pregnant
The drug is absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream and therefore, should not be consumed by pregnant and lactating women.
2. Never use the drug on dry skin
The drug has a skin drying effect. Tretinoin can cause further dryness of the skin which can cause the skin to break.
3. Never apply the drug on eczema
Eczema is a condition which leads to dry skin, applying tretinoin on the lesion will just make it worse and lead to ruptured and broken skin.
4. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun
Tretinoin will leave skin exposed to sun damage because of all the new skin cells (including collagen) that it helps create.
5. Never apply on sunburnt skin
Never apply the medication on sunburnt skin. Wait until the burn is fully healed.
6. Use a sunscreen daily
Tretinoin is a night cream, but the effects carry on the whole day long. You need to make sure that you use a sunscreen daily during the morning and the noon hours.
7. Don’t drink alcohol
Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic which will dehydrate your skin. Never drink alcohol when you are using tretinoin.
8. Don’t use aspirin with the drug
Salicylic acid and tretinoin will react and have adverse drug reactions. Avoid mixing the combination.
9. Wash your hand before each application
This is true not just for this particular drug but for all emollients, cream, and gel-based topical applications. You should wash your hands before each application to prevent cross contamination.
Retin a tretinoin is a drug that works great on wrinkles, recurrent acne, and pimples and has been shown to have great results. But the use of the drug should be monitored and supervised by an experienced dermatologist.
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