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Obagi Tretinoin Gel 0.05%, 20g


Obagi's micronized tretinoin gel 0.05% is ideal for sensitive skin that can benefit from the skin renewing power of Retin A but requires a milder formula. Obagi's tretinoin gel contains added ingredients like glycerine, soluble collagen and sodium hyaluronate to lock in moisture. Now beginners to tretinoin or anyone with skin that irritates easily can fight acne, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage with prescription tretinoin. 

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Obagi Tretinoin Gel 0.05% For Sensitive Skin

Want to treat acne, diminish the appearance of fine lines AND stimulate skin renewal, but can't handle the full strength of Retin A? Then try Obagi's prescription retinoid in a 0.05% gel. It's got all of the anti-aging, acne-fighting power that Retin A is famous for but in a gentler formula.


  • Sodium Hyaluronate - Has all the benefits of hyaluronic acid, with an extra advantage – it’s more easily absorbed than hyaluronic acid. Has the ability to bind and hold onto significant amounts of water.
  • Glycerin - used as a lubricant and humectant. Glycerin attracts water to skin and helps skin to feel softer and smoother.
  • Trolamine - helps calm inflammation.
  • Soluble Collagen,- increases the moisture content of the skin.

What Does Tretinoin Do?

Tretinoin enhances and boosts natural skin renewal in at least 3 major ways.

  • Tretinoin is proven to stimulate new skin cell growth
  • Increase collagen production
  • Rebuild elastin

Tretinoin Gel vs Tretinoin Cream

Tretinoin gels are micronized and delivered in an aqueous formula that enables a slower release of the active ingredient tretinoin (Retin A). A slower release is gentler on skin and may be better tolerated by sensitive skin types. Tretinoin creams are stronger on the skin because they are absorbed into the skin quickly, which causes a fast reaction.

What Concentration Of Tretinoin Is Right For Me?

The usual recommendation for tretinoin use is to begin 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 or percentage. For newcomers to tretinoin or those with extremely sensitive skin, Obagi's micronized tretinoin gel 0.05% may be ideal. It is time released so it impacts the skin more slowly than tretinoin cream. If your skin can tolerate a stronger potency, .025% or .05% tretinoin cream may be the right starting point.

If you are not sure where to start, begin with the lowest potency and see how your skin reacts. Responses in the skin that seem too strong, could tempt you to drop tretinoin altogether. That decision may be too abrubt. Instead consider reducing the frequency to 2-3 days a week before increasing to daily use.

On the other hand, if the time-released micro Retin A is doing enough, you have the option of upgrading to an entry-level .025% or .05% cream. Give your skin time and gradually find the strength that is right for you.

Men in general have thicker skin than women, so they are usually advised to jump straight to 0.1% tretinoin, the highest potency.

You may need to use tretinoin 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.

What Are The Side Effects of Tretinoin?

The first stage is called the purge during which new skin cells push the build up of oil and bacteria to the skin's outer layer. Before new skin cells can really be seen, this "interruption" may cause acne to worsen as the skin's layers are "cleaned out." Then, new skin cells cause old skin cells to shed off the surface to make room for the new skin cells. In the beginning the exfoliation may seem extreme. Applying an oil free, gentle moisturizer at least 20 to 45 minutes prior to applying tretinoin can help reduce the appearance of skin flaking.

What's A Good Age To Start Using Tretinoin?

Depending on your skin health and needs, you can begin using tretinoin as early as age 12 to treat acne. A physician will make that decision. For use in anti-aging, 18-25 may be a good starting point depending on your lifestyle. If you have a lot of sun damage, hyperpigmentation from hormone changes or pregnancy or hereditary factors, 18 might work for you. If not, consider an entry level retinoid like Obagi tretinoin gel 0.05% at around 25.

How Does Skin Change As It Ages?

By age 25, collagen in our skin begins breaking down and new collagen production also slows. Jump forward to our 40s and 50s and the skin cell renewal cycle hits a major wall. Skin cell regeneration can take as long as 45-90 days, compared to teens and 20-somethings where the skin renews itself every few weeks. It is a fact that tretinoin interrupts the cycle of aging and nourishes it with retinoic acid, the same acid the body requires to regenerate skin, produce collagen and rebuild elastin.

Obagi tretinoin Gel 0.05% Testimonial

"I have fragile skin. I didn't believe I could use the high strength of Tretinoin, even though I wanted my skin to look its best. After learning about Obagi's Tretinoin Gel from my Dermatologists office, I reluctantly switched from Obagi's Renova (1/4 gram 0.02% nightly) to Obagi's Tretinoin Gel (1/2 gram 0.05% nightly). Now, I wake up in the morning with glowing moist skin, and the best part is I didn't experience any negative side effects. No more red, flaky, irritated skin!" – 42-year-old NuDerm patient.

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

Directions for use:

  • Apply a thin layer of Tretinoin Gel 0.05% once daily, before bedtime, to skin where lesions occur. 
  • Keep away from eyes, mouth, nasal creases, and mucous membranes.
  • Tretinoin Gel 0.05% should not be used on eczematous or sunburned skin due to potential for severe irritation.
  • Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight when using Tretinoin Gel 0.05% due to potential for increased photosensitization.
  • Use sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and protective clothing during exposure.
  • Avoid use of Tretinoin Gel 0.05% with weather extremes, such as wind or cold due to potential for increased irritation.
  • Use Tretinoin Gel 0.05% with caution if allergic to fish due to potential for allergenicity to fish protein. 
  • Contact your physician if you develop pruritus or urticaria.
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