Tretinoin Product Guide: Exploring the Essentials

Tretinoin is a prescription-strength retinoid used for the treatment of acne, melasma, scars and skin aging. It's a Vitamin A derivative and in the UK known under the brandname Vesanoid.

Topical tretinoin has been shown to increase production of type I collagen by 80% in photoaged skin.¹ It's also shown to reduce wrinkles, improve skin smootheness, prevent collagen degradation and improve wound healing. A systematic review concluded that topical tretinoin improves photoaging; considering it the primary drug for the treatment of aged skin.²

Tretinoin is available in a cream and gel, and can be bought in various concentrations: 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%.

How do I use tretinoin?

  • Topical administration of tretinoin includes applying a thin layer once daily, before bedtime, to the skin where lesions are present. Patients need to keep the medication away from eyes, mouth, nasal creases, and mucous membranes.
  • Dosages vary amongst different brands. A commonly used topical tretinoin consists of 0.1%, 0.05%, and 0.025% dosages, and should be applied once daily, during the evening, to the skin where acne lesions appear to be present, with enough to cover the entire affected surface in a thin layer.

How long can you use tretinoin for?

Tretinoin has no default limit as to how long you're able to use it. Tretinoin is safe for longterm use as has been demonstrated by longitudinal studies.³

Participants of the study were asked to apply topical tretinoin cream 0.05% on the face, once a day, for 2 years. They found that treatment with tretinoin resulted in significant improvements relative to placebo in fine and coarse wrinkling, mottled hyperpigmentation, sallowness, and lentigines.

Side effects were mild and temporary and dissapeared after a few weeks of continues use (e.q redness/skin flaking).

How does tretinoin work?

Retinoids work by increasing the turnover rate of skin cells. It does this by causing mild irritation to the skin, causing the cells to divide and die more rapidly. Tretinoin is an effective acne treatment since it prevents new pimples from forming, and increases the turnover rate of skin cells.

Tretinoin is also an effective treatment to help slow down the aging process.² Skin aging happens for a variety of reasons, including sun damage (photoaging), environmental factors, loss of collagen, and genetics. Tretinoin’s ability to speed up the cell turnover process help minimize the visible signs of aging, making it an effective treatment.

Is retinol the same as tretinoin?

Although they work in similar ways, retinol is not the same as tretinoin. Some may call retinol an over-the-counter version of tretinoin, but they aren't interchangeable.

Technically, retinol and tretinoin do the same thing. But retinol is much weaker than Tretinoin because it first has to be converted into retinoic acid in order to be used by the skin. Tretinoin is retinoic acid, so it can be used directly by the skin as soon as it's applied.

As such, tretinoin is much more powerful than retinol. Even the lowest strength tretinoin is stronger than the highest strength retinol product. With tretinoin results can be seen in six to eight weeks, whereas retinol requires at least six months of continues use to notice results.

Where and how can I buy tretinoin?

Tretinoin is a prescription-only medicine and dispensed by a pharmacy. This applies to here in the United Kingdom but also in most other countries such as The Netherlands, France, Spain etc.

If you currently don’t hold a prescription, you can ask for one through our platform. You can do so by clicking on the button “start diagnostics”. You will be asked to share some details which are required by the physician to properly review your request.

The process consist of filling in an online questionairre and shouldn’t take more then 5-10 minutes. Once the physician approves your request, a prescription is issued and send to the pharmacy who will dispense and ship the treatment to your home address.

Should you have any questions during your treatment, you’re able to contact the assigned physician and send him/her a message through your account.

Just so you know: messages you exchange with the physician are encrypted, meaning that only you and the physcian have access to them. Other employees of the company have not.