Is Tazorac 0.5 More Superior Than Tretinon 0.5?

Doctor Answers 7

Tazorac or Tretinoin Stronger

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As a former Norwell High School teacher, albeit chemistry, I would hope our students would recognize the grammatical error in "more superior". Sorry, I could not resist the dig. ( For those unfamiliar, Deborah is from Marshfield, a town adjoining Norwell, Massachusetts).

First, there is no such commercially available strength as 0.5 in either product. If you were to compare each in its cream form at say, 0.05 % concentration, which is found in both Tazorac and Retin A, I would say that Tazorac is the stronger of the two. However, we do not have an accurate assay for Retinoids as we do for steroids, this is only a general impression. Maybe, we are substutuing "stronger" for more irritating, assuming that something that is irritating, by nature, is stronger. Bottom line, though, is I usually recommend Tazorac over Tretinoin when patients ask me advice on how to keep their skin youthful.

When comparing the two, please realize that gels are stronger than creams. This is because they are more occlusive, penetrate the skin better, and its occlusive base also decreases its loss from the skin. 

 Tazorac, actually both compounds, but especially Tazorac, takes some getting used to. It is often best to start with a lower strength ( 0.05) and work up to the stronger (.1). This may require a moisturizer. You can use the moisturizer either before or after application. ( A recent study found that it made no difference).I find that Cerave AM or PM are quite compatible with Tazorac. Since Tazorac is applied at night, the PM is a good choice. Cerave PM also contains some healthy ingredients for the skin in its ceramindes, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. 

Be sure that your skin is dry with either medication. Application should be at night since the sun will wreak havoc on the retinoid molecule, besides perhaps giving you a slight sunburn. 

Both should not be used during pregnancy but Tazorac especially so, since it carries a Category X.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Depends on you

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Both are topical retinoids, and tazorac is usually "stronger" than tretinoin - some people may not tolerate tazorac but will be OK with tretinoin.  Just make sure to wait 3-4 hours after washing your face before applying any retinoid, to decrease risks of irritation.  Also do not apply too much - in this case, more is NOT better, but rather more potentially irritating.  You can also apply a moisturizer after the retinoid.

Laura E. Skellchock, MD (in memoriam)
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon

Tazorac cream and Elevase

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Tazorac is a topical retinoid and is useful for acne. We advise patients to avoid dryness with daily applicaiton of Tazorac by applying a ceramide cream such as Elevase once daily to avoid skin discomfort. 

Dr. Karamanoukian 
Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Tazorac vs. Tretinoin

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Tazorac and Tretinoin are both topical retinoids used to treat acne.  One is not "superior" to the other as the choice of a topical retinoid is made on an individual basis when a dermatologist evaluates a patient's skin.  Some patients are better suited for the "stronger" Tazorac while others will respond better to a "milder" retinoid like Tretinoin.

Anthony Perri, MD
Houston Dermatologist

Tazorac and tretinoin creams

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Tazorac cream .05% is more irritating than tretinoin cream .05% but both give similar therapeutic results.  You could start with tretinoin cream and if tolerated, you could switch to Tazorac and see how you tolerate it.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Tazorac vs. Tretinoin

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Both of these medications come in .05% strength, not .5%! Both are topical retinoids. In general, samples are given of both products to see which one patients will tolerate better. Gels vs. cream formulas will also make a difference, with creams being generally tolerated better.

Topical retinoids for acne

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Tazorac is the most potent but also most irritating of all retinoids. One of the most important aspects of acne treatment is compliance. If you can't tolerate the cream, you won't use it. And your acne will not improve.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

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.