What Strengths Does Tretinoin Come In? An Overview of What Is Available
Retinoids are all the rage in the dermatology world, and if you aren’t fooling around, you want the best ones.
By the “best” retinoids, we mean the ones that really pack a punch and can more quickly and effectively help with skin issues like fine lines, acne, or scars.
These stronger retinoids are the ones that are prescription-only and probably the most popular in this prescription retinoid category is Tretinoin.
If you are prescribed Tretinoin, your doctor will review your issue and select the most appropriate strength for you.
Because, when it comes to retinoids, you don’t always want to start with the strongest strength, as the higher you go, the more risk for skin irritation, redness, and dryness during the initial adjustment period.
Read on to learn more about what strengths are even available for this potent and impressive ingredient, and identify if your strength is at the high or low end of the strength spectrum.
What strengths does Tretinoin come in?
The strengths that Tretinoin comes in is broken down into two categories: What strengths do the manufactured Tretinoin products come in that are able to be found at any pharmacy, and which strengths are you able to get from a compounding pharmacy that can make a formula up specifically for you (both with a prescription, of course).
Outside of these manufactured Tretinoin products, you can also sometimes be prescribed a compounded product with Tretinoin in it.
Your doctor may want you to get your Tretinoin from a compounding pharmacy because the strength that they want for you doesn’t exist, they want to add the Tretinoin together with other ingredients to help your condition, or they want to avoid certain additives or preservatives that are in the manufactured products.
There is no exact range for what strengths of Tretinoin you can get from a compounding pharmacy since they are making it up special for you according to a prescription.
But, in general, you will find Tretinoin strengths between 0.005% – 0.1% in compounded formulations.
Creams: Tretinoin creams are thicker in consistency, are available in stronger strengths, work and absorb slower, but may come along with less skin irritation.
Gels: Gels are clear and a thinner consistency, come in slightly less strong strengths, absorb and work quicker, but may be more irritating to the skin.
So, if what you are after are quick absorption and fast results, a gel may be your best bet. But, if your skin is hypersensitive are you are worried about irritation, a cream may be a better pick for you. Ask your doctor about their opinion on a cream vs. a gel for you and they will guide you in the right direction.
Tretinoin comes in many different strengths since it can treat a variety of skin conditions ranging from fine lines to severe acne.
In general, the stronger the strength, the better it may work for a condition, but the higher the risk of skin dryness, redness, and irritation during the first weeks of treatment while your skin adjusts.
Manufactured Tretinoin products come in creams and gels and range in strength from 0.01% (the weakest) to 0.1% (the strongest).
From a compounding pharmacy, you can be prescribed Tretinoin as well, and you may find different strengths of Tretinoin.
Compounding pharmacies often combine other skin ingredients with Tretinoin for an added benefit.
In general, a compounded cream or gel will have strengths between 0.005% and 0.1%.
Creams tend to come in higher strengths, work slower, and have less skin irritation.
Gels come in lower strengths, work faster, and have more skin irritation.
Talk to your doctor about your skin issues, sensitivity, and preferences to help identify the best Tretinoin strength for you.
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