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Obagi Tretinoin Cream 0.1%, 20g


Obagi prescription tretinoin .100% is a skin-clearing powerhouse! Naturally-derived from Vitamin A, tretinoin is proven to successfully treat most acne cases and reverse signs of aging for a revitalized complexion. 

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Treat Acne With Proven Tretinoin Medication

Tretinoin, also called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), is a metabolite of Vitamin A. It's necessary for skin growth but it is not endogenous to the body. This is not unusual either. Omega-3 fatty acid is another essential nutrient that our body cannot create. Like omega 3 fatty acids, the body must digest an external source of Vitamin A and then convert it to a usable form. In the case with tretinoin, the body synthesizes it from Vitamin A-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and salmon.

How Does Tretinoin Work?

Retinoic acid works by facilitating communication between cells for the production of collagen and skin (epithelial) cell growth. The purpose of new skin cells is to replace old, dead skin cells that have done their job and should slough off our body. And they do - to the tune of 30,000 to 40,000 every minute! But that's for the entire body. Our face is always exposed so it needs to shed an extremely high amount. That's where increased skin cell growth comes into play.

When new skin cells are created, they push to the surface causing the old ones to turn "flaky" and slough off. In this same process, increased skin cell growth also treats acne. As new skin cells make their way to our outer epidermal layer, they loosen hard buildup of oil and bacteria that clog pores.

But wait, there's more. Retinoic acid also helps prevent the breakdown of elastin, part of the body's connective tissue. Elastin gives skin its flexibility and firmness. When the skin's supply of elastin diminishes, sagging and wrinkles result.

What Strength of Tretinoin Is Right For Me?

Certain medications are available in various strengths because research shows each person may have a unique reaction. The usual recommendation is to start with the lowest potency. Potency refers to the strength of the medication, also called dosage. In the case of topical tretinoin, strength is measured in concentration.

For newcomers to tretinoin or those with extremely sensitive skin, .025%, and .05% tretinoin can be starting points. If either concentration works for you, then you are all set. Over time you may want to increase the strength if you feel your skin can benefit more.

Men, in general, have thicker skin than women, so they are usually advised to jump straight to .1% tretinoin, the highest potency.

If the .025% or .05% does not create the desired effect, then the higher strength 0.1% could be the answer. Overall, the idea is to slowly increase the potency, if needed, to find the right strength for you.

Another way to determine the concentration that fits your skin type is to reduce the frequency to 2-3 days a week. You may try this if the side-effects are not tolerable or you just prefer to slow your pace.

Tretinoin 0.1%, a prescription retinoid, treats acne vulgaris, hyperpigmentation, premature aging, and psoriasis. Tretinoin may be used only under the guidance of a physician.

You may need to use Obagi 0.1% tretinoin cream consistently for 6 weeks to 3 months in order to fully experience results. In some cases, acne will temporarily get worse during the course of treatment. This is common and treatment should continue as directed.

More Information
Is a Prescription Product Yes
Use or Effects Anti-Aging, Treat Acne, Fade Hyperpigmentation
Form Cream
Drug Class/Pharmacology Retinoids
Product Specifics

Directions for use: Apply to your face at night 20 minutes after a thorough, gentle cleansing when your skin is completely dry; ensure that your hands are also clean. Spread evenly over your skin, avoiding eye and mouth areas and any open wounds. Wash hands after applying. Use tretinoin in the amounts and frequency directed by your physician. Consult with your doctor if you experience redness, swelling, or irritation that persists.

Safety Information: While using Tretinoin, spend as little time in the sun as possible, use an effective broad spectrum sunscreen, and wear a hat even on cloudy days. Do not use sunlamps or tanning booths, and avoid extreme wind and cold. If you do get a sunburn, stop using Tretinoin until your skin is back to normal. Tretinoin may cause skin irritation. Some patients may get dry, red or peeling skin that requires them to use less medication or use it less often, or stop use either temporarily or altogether. Patients who develop a rash or itchy skin should contact their healthcare provider.

Do not use more Tretinoin, or use it more often, than your doctor has told you because it will not work better and may increase the irritation to your skin. Avoid use of other products that may dry or irritate your skin. The safety and efficacy of Tretinoin have not been established in the treatment of patients younger than 12 years of age (Cream), or in pregnant or nursing women.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Ingredients: Tretinoin .1%, Stearic Acid, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Sorbic Acid, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Purified Water

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FAQs: Tretinoin .100%

What percentage strength Tretinoin will provide the best and fastest results?

Obagi .100% tretinoin (generic Retin-A) is the highest percentage of the prescription retinoid available. It is common for regular users of .05% tretinoin to bump up to .100% and see the benefits of prescription retinoids "pick up" again after using .05% for years. Increasing from .05% tretinoin to .100% strength can be rewarding if you have had good results with the lower dose and believe your skin will benefit even more. Keep in mind, the initial side effects of tretinoin use, peeling skin, itchiness and redness, will probably restart. Most patients find the side effects tolerable and offset the uncomfortable period with moisturizers like hyaluronic acid (HA), glycerin, ceramides and squalene, and always protect their skin from the sun with a strong SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen. Use a minimum of 30 SPF. However, 50 SPF is considered the standard.

Can I use Vitamin C with Tretinoin?

Yes, Vitamin C, salicylic acid or another Alpha-Hydroxy acid (AHA) are considered complementary to Tretinoin. Don't apply Vitamin C, salicylic acid, and Tretinoin at the same time. Follow these guidelines: Apply Vitamin C and the salicylic acid in the morning. At night, before applying the tretinoin, use a gentle cleanser. Always apply Tretinoin when skin is thoroughly dry. Usually, 20 minutes after cleansing is sufficient.

Why do I have to use sunscreen while using Tretinoin?

The new outer layer of skin generated by tretinoin is sensitive and susceptible to sun damage and burning. The recommended procedure is to apply tretinoin at night out of the sun's harm. Absolutely use a broad spectrum SPF 30 - 50 SPF sunscreen during the day to protect new and sensitive skin. Don't bother applying Retin A during the day. The sun breaks down tretinoin, making it less effective and wastes product and your money $$$!

What does tretinoin do?

Yes, tretinoin has been used around the world for decades with massive amounts of research to back up its effectiveness for treating acne, psoriasis and restoring the physical characteristics of young skin. Acne, pimple fighting and anti-aging benefits of tretinoin (Retin-A) include:

  • Fending off signs of aging!
  • Increasing collagen production
  • Thickening and plumping skin filling in wrinkles
  • Restoring youthful volume to the face
  • Accelerating skin cell turnover to speed up healing and prevent clogged pores
  • Exfoliating dead skin cells, clearing blackheads and preventing and healing acne
  • Eliminating and fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation
  • Smoothing out rough skin
  • Adding elasticity to the skin to reduce sagging
  • Sloughing off sun damaged / photodamaged skin and replacing it with new, healthy skin
What's the best age to begin using tretinoin?

Age 25 or earlier is a good time to start using tretinoin. Here's why. Collagen production begins slowing down at age 25 and continues to drop up until 30. After 30, collagen levels drop by 1-2% each year. Tretinoin stimulates collagen production so there's a way to "turn back" the clock and interrupt the biologically programmed aging of skin. This is what you tretinoin can counteract: in our 40s and 50s the skin cell renewal cycle can be as long as 45-90 days, compared to teens and 20-somethings where the skin renews itself every few weeks. Tretinoin flips this on its head and rekindles collagen production.

How does tretinoin treat acne?

Tretinoin, the most potent of all retinoids, impacts the epidermis at the molecular level where it accelerates the death of skin cells. In response, the body produces new skin cells. As new skin cells move toward the outer layer of the skin, they expel the main causes of acne, the hard build up of dead skin cells and oil that clog hair follicles (pores). When used properly and in the right strength, retinoids fight adult acne and repair aging skin. Tretinoin is FDA approved to treat acne vulgaris and can be used for the treatment of acne in children as young as 12. Tretinoin is very popular for the treatment of adult acne due to its ease of use and tretinoin's anti-aging effects.