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    Acne
    1234 · 20 min read

    How long does Tretinoin take to work?

    If you're dealing with acne, wrinkles, or other skin concerns, you may have heard about Tretinoin. Tretinoin is a topical medication that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne, sun damage, and fine lines. But how long does tretinoin take to work, and how can you make it more effective? In this article, we'll explore the timeline for tretinoin results and share some tips on how to get the most out of this powerful medication. 

    How many weeks will it take before Tretinoin cream starts to improve acne?

    The amount of time it will take before Tretinoin cream starts to improve acne will vary from person to person. Generally, it takes between 6 to 12 weeks before users will start to see noticeable improvements in the skin. Some people may experience results earlier, and some may experience results later. It is important to remain patient during the first few weeks of use.

    Will my acne get worse before it gets better in the first few weeks of using Tretinoin?

    Unfortunately, it is possible that your condition may worsen during the first few weeks of using Tretinoin. This time is known as the Tretinoin purge phase. This phase is caused by Tretinoin increasing the number of acne breakouts you experience. Tretinoin works by increasing the rate of skin cell turnover, which will cause clogged pores and spots to surface quicker than they normally would. Although this period can be frustrating it is actually a sign that the medication is working properly. 

    What early symptoms might I experience when I start using Tretinoin?

    When you first start using Tretinoin you may experience symptoms of the purge phase. Some of the early symptoms you may experience include:

    • Dryness and peeling

    • Increased sensitivity to the sun (it is recommended you use a high SPF moisturiser such as Purifide.)

    • Mild stinging and burning

    If you believe that any of the symptoms you are experiencing can be considered as serious then you may wish to consider speaking to your healthcare provider. 

    Should I expect to see improvement in my acne after 6 weeks of using Tretinoin?

    Despite all skin being different you can typically expect to see an improvement in your symptoms after around 6 weeks of using the medication. After this period, you should be past the initial purging phase. The results you experience will also vary on other factors including your individual condition and how strictly you are following your skincare regime. 

    Can it take longer than 6 weeks for Tretinoin cream to work?

    Yes, it is definitely possible that Tretinoin could take longer than six weeks before you start to notice any improvements. It is important to remember that the time it takes to experience results will vary from person to person and that you should stick with your medication. Whilst some people may experience results sooner than 6 weeks, it typically takes between 6-12 weeks before people experience benefits. 

    Could it take longer than 12 weeks for Tretinoin cream to work?

    It is also possible for it to take longer than 12 weeks for Tretinoin cream to work. The effectiveness of Tretinoin will depend on the severity of the condition it is treating. If your condition is particularly bad it may take a significant amount of time before you notice an improvement. 

    Will how often you use Tretinoin cream affect how effective it is?

    Yes, how often you use Tretinoin will affect how effective it is. To get the best results from using Tretinoin you will need to use it every day. As a rule, the more often you use the cream (at max once a day) the better results you will get. 

    How long should I wait to speak to a doctor if I don't see an improvement in my acne when using Tretinoin cream?

    If you have been regularly using Tretinoin cream for over 12 weeks without seeing any improvement in your symptoms you may wish to discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider. 

    How long does Tretinoin take to work? - Summary Table

    2-4 WeeksDry cells are exfoliated. Oil glands shrink. Skin proteins activated. May experience mild dryness or flaking. 
    4-6 WeeksSkin will be noticeably smoother. The irritation will settle down.
    3+ MonthsNew zones of actively repairing collagen that stretch the skin. 
    6+ MonthsSkin improves with new collagen and fresh blood vessels bring in nutrients.
    1+ YearSkin maintains collagen and smaller pores. Continued improvement in tone and pigment.

    How to make Tretinoin more effective?

    Here are some frequently asked questions people ask about how you can make Tretinoin more effective. 

    Can washing my skin before applying Tretinoin cream affect how long it takes to work?

    Yes, you will need to properly cleanse your face before you apply it to your skin. By doing this you will be ensuring that there is no dirt or oil built up underneath the medication that will stop it working as well. 

    Can using other topical medication affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    When you are using other topical medications you may be changing how effective Tretinoin is. When Tretinoin is used in combination with other topical medications they may interact with one another and change their effectiveness.

    Can using skin products with alcohol affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Using skin products that contain alcohol can also change how long it takes for Tretinoin to take effect. Alcohol is a commonly used ingredient in skin care products. These should be avoided if you are starting to use Tretinoin to ensure the cream works properly. 

    Can using skin cleansers affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Using a skin cleanser may potentially affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work. Proper cleansing of the skin is important to ensure that the medication will work correctly. A skin cleanser will help to ensure you have removed dirt, oil or other impurities from the skin prior to putting the cream onto their skin. 

    Can using cosmetic products affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Using different cosmetic products can affect how well Tretinoin works. Some cosmetic products will not affect this, especially those formulated for sensitive skin. Other products may, such as those that contain alcohol. 

    Can using soaps affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    It will depend on the type of soap you are using whether or not it changes how long it takes Tretinoin to work. Sensitive soaps will not change this, however harsher soaps may as they will strip the skin of its natural oils. 

    Can using shaving cream affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Using shaving cream may affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work. Some shaving creams include alcohol and fragrances that can mean it takes longer for Tretinoin to work. You may wish to use a sensitive shaving cream whilst using Tretinoin. 

    Can using after-shave lotion affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Again, some after-shave lotions may include ingredients, such as alcohol and fragrances that can affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work. These ingredients can interfere with how Tretinoin absorbs into the skin. 

    Can using hair products affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    Whilst hair products in general are not likely to affect Tretinoin, they potentially can if they come into contact with areas of the skin that you are applying Tretinoin to. Some hair products contain irritating or pore-clogging ingredients that can affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work.

    Can overexposure to sunlight affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    When you are using Tretinoin your skin will become more sensitive to sunlight. Overexposure to the sun can mean your skin becomes damaged, which can greatly affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work. 

    Can sunblock/sun lotion affect how long it takes for Tretinoin to work?

    As Tretinoin can make your skin more sensitive to the sun you will need to use a sunblock to keep your skin safe when you are outside. It is recommended that you use a high-SPF moisturiser to keep your skin moisturised and protected against sun damage. Purifide is a great option. 

    Sources

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    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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