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Topical Tretinoin, Retin-A, Renova & More


Topical tretinoin is a form of vitamin A available only through a prescription from your physician.

Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A commonly called all-trans retinoic acid. This topical medication is known by many brand names including Retin-A and Renova. In skin care, this cream is clinically proven to enhance skin cell maturation after skin has already been damaged. Tretinoin cannot reverse abnormal cell growth caused by sun damage, but it can help damaged cells behave more like normal, healthy cells. 

Tretinoin cream is commonly prescribed to treat acne, the visible signs of aging and other skin care concerns.

Ideal for acne-prone and mature complexions, this cream works to increase the rate of cellular turnover and boosts collagen synthesis. Topical tretinoin formulas are often prescribed in dermatology to improve the appearance of: 

  • Blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age spots and other forms of discoloration
  • Uneven skin texture

After six months of continued use, your complexion will be more luminous with less visible fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. 

Tretinoin may cause side effects like peeling, itching and redness. This topical cream also increases sun sensitivity, so daily use of a sunscreen is recommended. 

This topical medication is only available through a prescription, but carries a selection of great alternatives.

Because tretinoin cream is a prescription-only product, it cannot be sold anywhere online. Websites that advertise for these creams should not be trusted. To obtain a prescription for tretinoin, you should consult your physician. also carries several excellent retinol alternatives that many customers use in place of prescription tretinoin. Retinol, another form of vitamin A, offers your complexion many of the same benefits as tretinoin with less irritating side effects. A few of our favorite retinol products include: 

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  • Encourages cell turnover
  • Smooths crow's feet
  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles
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  • Fades signs of aging
  • Improves tone and texture
  • Promotes cell turnover
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  • Best-suited for mature, sensitive skin
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Improves skin tone and texture
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About the Author

Kristen is a copy editor for LovelySkin who loves catching up on the latest in skin care and beauty trends. Her favorite things include cats, concerts and Harry Potter.

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