How Long Until I See Results on Tazorac? Or Do I Need Something Else?

I'm still seeing clogged pores/blackheads after 5 weeks of nightly use (the 0.1% strength, gel type). Does this mean it's not effective? Would I get more benefit from chemical peels at the dermatologist's office?

Doctor Answers 6

Try Clarisonic Skin Cleansing Brush

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
When people have blackheads and are using a medicine such as Tazorac Gel, it can take up to three months on its own to make these lesions better. You should be under the care of a board-certified dermatologist who can best work with you and determine if there are other medicines that might be useful for you to use – say in the morning – or are there other procedures that can be done to make you better faster.

The Clarisonic skin cleansing brush is a wonderful adjuvant for cleansing the skin and has shown to be really useful in patients with acne.Also, some dermatologists have a device known as Isolaz, an IPL type of light-based device with a vacuum apparatus. In clinical studies, one of which I performed in my office and published several years ago, Isolaz showed that not only were inflammatory acne lesions improved (the papules and cysts) but the noninflammatory acne lesions (the whiteheads and blackheads) also improved faster than justusing medicine alone. So this might be an option for you. See who has Isolaz in your area – it’s remarkable for acne.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Acne regimen needs time

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Acne cannot and will not improve overnight. It will take weeks and even months to see the full effects of medications. Most patients become frustrated before this and stop taking or using their medications, or worse, overuse their medications and cause additional problems. Your lack of results does not mean your medication isn't working or will not work. Follow through with it as directed, and revisit your physician after about 8 weeks of use to determine if additional medications or treatments may be needed. Try not to be frustrated.

Patience is a virtue with acne treatment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It can take several months to notice any significant improvement with Tazorac or any other retinoid, but your patience will pay off.  There is no other class of topical acne medications that can unplug pores as effectively as the retinoids.  I tell my patients that their acne may even flare slightly in the first month or so as lesions are "brought to the surface." Then, I see them back in 3 months.  One thing to consider, however, that may be thwarting your improvement, are your other face and hair products.  They could be plugging your pores.  Makes sure all your products say "non-comedogenic" - this means they are not pore-pluggers.

Naomi Donnelley, MD
Mount Pleasant Dermatologist

Blackhead treatment options

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I think you need to give any topical blackhead treatment 3 months.  If not better, time to try something else.

Robert Strimling, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Time is Needed with any Acne Treatment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Acne treatments take time to work and it is different for all patients. I see most patients back for follow up at two months after beginning an acne regimen.  At this first follow up visit, I counsel them that this is the point where the acne should begin to improve and adjustments to the regimen can be made.  I typically do not see significant improvement until the next follow up visit 6 months later. u

Anthony Perri, MD
Houston Dermatologist

How long to see results from Tazorac

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

For any acne treatment method, you usually need to give approximately 4 months to see a real difference.  With a strong retinoid such as Tazorac 0.1% gel, you should see some reduction in oiliness of the face relatively quickly, however, it takes some time for the blackheads and whiteheads to work themselves out of the hair follicles.

Be careful with combining chemical peels and Tazorac, as retinoids also act as light peeling agents.  It may traumatize the skin by having both of them done. 

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.