How Long Does It Take to Get Results With Retin-A?


Retin-A is an acne medication approved by the FDA in 1971. It is meant for topical use and contains retinoic acid and tretinoin. More recently, the combination of these medicines provides a light chemical peel and enhances collagen production for use as an antiwrinkle and firming serum that's clinically proven to work.

How It Works

  • The user repeatedly applies Retin-A as prescribed by a dermatologist. Treatment and use must begin gradually, to avoid redness and dry skin in some people, and become routine for the product to work. Other forms of skin care may be recommended by a dermatologist to enhance the results.

How Fast Will I See Results?

  • Typically, users who stick to the routine will see results in as little as four weeks. The full effects may take up to seven. It is important to maintain the regimen to access the full potential of the product.

Common Applications

  • Retin-A is prescribed for a variety of reasons. Acne is the most common, and it serves to remove blemishes, blackheads and prevent breakouts. It can also help reduce the effects of skin damage and discoloration, as well as improve skin texture.

Side Effects

  • Some patients notice photosensitivity (increased sensitivity to light) while using the product. Dermatologists often recommend adding extra sunscreen to your regular routine, in the morning and sometimes during the day, to avoid burning. Often within the first two weeks, you may experience breakouts, but these should go away within a few weeks. Skin peeling is common in the early stages of use.

    Other, more serious reactions include facial redness, dryness or swelling of the skin. If this occurs, consult your doctor right away. It may be necessary to change medicines or consider another form of treatment. It is important to consult a dermatologist if any of these reactions occur.


  • Because Retin-A is a prescription product, the cost is generally higher than the average over-the-counter product. The cost will include physician consultation and follow-up appointments. The medicine itself averages $180 for a one-year supply and additional charges for other skin care options. If deemed a medical necessity, all or some of the cost may be covered by health insurance.

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