1234 · 20 min read

    What Happens If You Stop Using Tretinoin?

    In the ever-evolving world of skincare, few topical treatments have garnered as much attention and acclaim as tretinoin. Tretinoin has become part of skincare routines for many people all over the world thanks to the incredible results it can provide. However, as with any skincare regimen, questions often arise about what happens when one stops using tretinoin. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions people ask, including what happens when you decide to discontinue using tretinoin? Does the skin revert to its original state, and are there any long-lasting effects?

    Key Takeaways

    Varied Reactions and Purge Phase:

    Not everyone’s skin reacts the same to tretinoin. It can cause an initial worsening of acne, known as the purge phase, before improvements are seen. It's important to continue using it as prescribed during this time.

    Temporary Effects:

    The positive effects of tretinoin, such as reduced acne and improved skin texture, are not permanent. If you stop using it, your skin will gradually return to its pre-treatment state.

    Stopping Tretinoin:

    People may stop using tretinoin due to skin intolerance, increased sensitivity in hot climates, or pregnancy. It's possible to experience breakouts after stopping, and consultation with a dermatologist is recommended for personalized advice.

    A lady with acne on her face

    Does everyone's skin react in the same way to Tretinoin?

    While tretinoin can produce remarkable results for many individuals, it's important to recognise that not everyone's skin will react in the same way to this topical treatment. Everyone's skin is unique, and factors such as skin type, sensitivity, and overall health can influence the response to tretinoin. Individuals with particularly sensitive or reactive skin may find it challenging to tolerate tretinoin, whereas others may find that the medication is ideal for them and their skin type. 

    How does Tretinoin work to treat acne?

    Tretinoin has proven to be a highly effective medication for treating a number of different skin-related conditions including acne, wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation issues. Tretinoin is a synthetic version of vitamin A that works by increasing the cell turnover of the skin. When applied, tretinoin makes the skin cells divide and die faster. This speeds up the process of getting fresh, new skin cells that are healthier. Healthier skin cells help to improve the look of acne and wrinkles to make your skin look and feel fresher. 

    What key considerations should you make when considering Tretinoin treatment?

    There are several considerations you should make when you are considering adding tretinoin to your skincare routine. The main thing to consider is the potential side effects of tretinoin usage, including the tretinoin purge phase. The purge phase is common among people that start using tretinoin. Typically it occurs during the initial weeks or months of treatment and involves a temporary worsening of acne breakouts before seeing improvements in the skin. This phase can cause people to feel disheartened about their treatment and some may even stop using it. It is important that you continue to use the treatment as prescribed during this time. 

    Does skin change permanently when using Tretinoin?

    When using tretinoin, the changes it brings to the skin are typically not permanent. The effects of tretinoin usage are generally reversed when tretinoin usage is discontinued. If you stop using tretinoin, your skin will gradually return to its pre-tretinoin state over time. This means that without the continued use of tretinoin, the improvements achieved, such as reduced acne, improved skin texture, and diminished fine lines, may gradually diminish.

    Why would someone consider stopping Tretinoin use?

    There are a number of reasons why someone may consider stopping the use of tretinoin. Here are some of the most common reasons as to why someone may do this:

    Skin intolerance

    Whilst it is very uncommon, some individuals may experience a decrease in the effectiveness of the treatment over time. This phenomenon is often referred to as "tretinoin tolerance."

    Hot Climate

    Hot climates can cause tretinoin users to experience extra sensitivity to heat and sunlight which can be very uncomfortable. When using tretinoin it is important to use a high-SPF moisturiser to ensure your skin is protected. 


    The use of tretinoin during pregnancy is generally not recommended. Several studies have suggested a potential link between oral retinoid use (such as tretinoin) and an increased risk of birth defects.

    Will I experience breakouts if I stop using Tretinoin?

    It is possible to experience breakouts if you stop using tretinoin, especially if it has been effectively controlling your acne. When you discontinue tretinoin, the beneficial effects it provides may gradually diminish over time. 

    Will epidermis revert back after stopping Tretinoin?

    After stopping tretinoin, the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) will typically revert back to its previous state over time. It's important to note that the rate at which the epidermis reverts back and the extent of any changes depends on various factors, including individual skin characteristics, the duration of tretinoin usage, and the specific concerns being addressed.

    Is botox recommended if you stop using Tretinoin?

    The decision to use Botox after stopping tretinoin is a personal choice that should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Botox is primarily used to temporarily reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and lines by relaxing the underlying muscles. It works differently from tretinoin, which focuses on improving skin texture, promoting collagen production, and addressing acne or other skin concerns. Therefore, the use of Botox is not directly related to discontinuing tretinoin.

    Can a dermatologist or healthcare professional advise on how to stop Tretinoin?

    Yes, a dermatologist or healthcare professional is the best resource for guidance and advice on how to stop using tretinoin. They can provide personalised recommendations based on your individual skin type, condition, and treatment history.

    What experiences have people had when they've stopped using Tretinoin?

    People's experiences of stopping tretinoin use will vary depending on a number of different factors, as well as the underlying reason as to why they may be stopping the use of the medication in the first place. 

    The videos below share a few people's experiences of stopping Tretinoin usage.

    What have Tretinoin users said about stopping Tretinoin?

    Here are some reviews from real tretinoin users about stopping the use of the medication.

    ‘Stick with it. If you start the product and stop, your results will be like starting all over again each time you stop, terrible.’

    ‘My skin got red and I felt like it was just making it worse! So I stopped using it... wrong mistake! I went to my dermatologist 3 months after and she advised me to stick through it.’

    To read more reviews about tretinoin, head to

    Can I get a Tretinoin prescription online?

    Yes, you can get a prescription for tretinoin online from UK Meds. Simply complete our free online consultation that ensures the medication is right for you and then complete your purchase.

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