What are Potential Problems While Using Retin-A?

I've read that Retin-A or other forms of tretinoin cream when applied to the face can cause "skin cancer" or other undesirable results. How accurate are these claims and does anyone know if they can affect health in the long-term (the topical creams only)? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 3

Retin-A is safe

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Retin-A is not only used for acne and rejuvenation, it is used to reverse damage caused by the sun.  It has been used safely for decades but should not be used during pregnancy.  Sunscreen should be used daily.

When first starting to use Retin-A, a small amount should be used every other night to prevent redness, dryness and peeling.  After a few weeks, it can be used nightly if tolerated.


Toronto Dermatologist

Downsides of usng Retin A

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Retin A is probably the single most significant discovery in skin care.  It is associated with decreased skin pigmentation , increased thickening of the dermis and reduction of wrinkles. But, it is associated with initial dryness, itching, redness and sun sensitivity. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Topical Retinoids are not Carcinogens

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Topical Retinoids are not carcinogenic and actually can be used to reduce photodamage that may lead to skin cancer.

Anthony Perri, MD
Houston Dermatologist

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