Everything you need to know about tretinoin's acne fighting and anti-aging benefits

Learn about tretinoin's pore-cleansing, acne-treating and anti-aging benefits

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We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.

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Derived from vitamin A, tretinoin is a potent retinoid. It stimulates the growth of healthy new cells while weeding out damage. Tretinoin - aka Retin-A - is the gold standard in skincare. It's knowing for treating acne, unblocking pores and for its anti-aging benefits.

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Tretinoin for treating acne and clogged pores

In healthy skin, skin cells naturally turn over. Old ones die and and new ones replace them. Acne can strike when there's a glitch in the process and dead cells stick around, blocking pores.

If you think of your skin as a garden, think of tretinoin as the weed killer. It weeds out old dead skin cells and replaces them with fresh ones. Clogged pores can lead to blackheads and inflamed cysts. Tretinoin helps prevent blocked pores, improves skin texture and reduces dark spots.

Tretinoin's anti-aging benefits

In 1971, FDA-approved tretinoin to treat acne. While using it for acne treatment, doctors also saw an unexpected improvement. Tretinoin also helped improve the skin's texture and firmness.

Tretinoin works by promoting collagen production in the skin. Collagen is a protein that holds skin cells together and gives skin firmness. That’s why tretinoin is one of the top prescribed ingredients to help with wrinkles and fine lines.

Tretinoin for improving skin tone

Tretinoin also stimulates healthy blood flow beneath the surface of your skin. This process can help improve the skin tone, adding warm "glow." So there’s actually a scientific basis to the coveted "glowing skin" look.

Where can I get tretinoin?

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Tretinoin is only available by prescription. It’s powerful enough that the FDA classifies it as prescription-only. You’ll need to chat with a dermatology provider — in person or online through curology.com.

How long does it take to see results with tretinoin?

You may need to use tretinoin for 6–8 weeks before you see results with acne, and even longer for anti-aging.

Tretinoin side effects

If you’re experiencing sun sensitivity, flakiness or redness, get in touch with your provider about how to manage these side effects.

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More acne-fighting and anti-aging ingredients

Curious about other acne-fighting or anti-aging ingredients? For acne, go to our guides on ingredients like clindamycinzinc pyrithione, and azelaic acid. For anti-aging, we recommend ingredients like azelaic acid (working double-duty!) or niacinamide.

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