Treating Acne With Retin-A Micro

College student with acne sitting with his friends

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Retin-A Micro is a topical gel used to treat common acne. It can be used by both teens and adults alike.

This topical gel comes in two different strengths: 0.04% and 0.1%. Your dermatologist will help you get the strength you need.

It is a prescription medication, so you'll need to see a dermatologist. There is no over-the-counter version of this treatment.

How Retin-A Micro Works

Retin-A Micro works to clear acne by reducing pore blockages (AKA comedones) and keeping pores clear. First, it speeds up cell turnover rates. This helps decrease the number of dead skin cells and excess oil hanging around in the pores.

Retin-a Micro also helps make existing comedones less sticky, so they can be more easily expelled from the pore. When there is a reduction of pore blockages, there is ultimately a reduction of pimples, so you'll get clearer skin.

Retin-A Micro is helpful in treating both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.

The Difference Between Retin-A Micro and Retin-A

Although they sound alike, Retin-A Micro is different from Retin-A. They do have similarities, but they aren't the exact same medication.

Both Retin-A Micro and Retin-A contain the same active ingredient: tretinoin. But Retin-A Micro releases the medication more slowly, over time. Because of this, Retin-A Micro can be less irritating than Retin-A.

How You Use Retin-A Micro

You'll use Retin-A Micro once or twice daily. First, you'll want to wash your face well with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Make sure your skin is completely dry before you apply Retin-A Micro (it's less likely to cause irritation this way).

After your skin is thoroughly dry, apply your medication over your entire face. Don't just apply to individual pimples.

Retin-A Micro is available in a pump bottle. This makes it super easy to dispense exactly the right amount of medications you need and takes some of the guesswork out of your treatment.

Possible Side Effects of Retin-A Micro

Just like all acne medications, Retin-A Micro can cause side effects. Luckily, for most people, the side effects are mild and don't cause too much of a problem.

The most common side effects are:

  • Mild burning or stinging
  • Redness
  • Dry skin and peeling

The good news is most of the side effects are mild and go away after your skin gets used to the medication.

Of course, if you notice more serious side effects, or even if your skin is just uncomfortable, let your dermatologist know. 

Tips for Using Retin-A Micro

Those delicate areas around your lips and by the corners of your nose can easily be irritated by any acne medications. Try to avoid these areas.

Using an oil-free moisturizer can help reduce dryness and peeling. One that contains SPF 15 or higher is a plus since tretinoin (the active ingredient in Retin-A Micro) can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Don't give up too soon! Although some people see results quickly, others will need to use this medication for several weeks before seeing any improvement. Try to be patient.

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Article Sources

  • "Tretinoin." MedlinePlus. 03 April 2000. U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. 25 Jun 2011.
  • Retin-A Micro Prescribing Information. Ortho Dermatologics.