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Retin-A Micro Gel

Retin-A Micro is an FDA-approved skin treatment gel mainly used to help with acne. Acne can cause problems like blackheads, whiteheads, and different kinds of pimples. This gel has a special ingredient called Tretinoin, which is good at treating a common type of acne known as acne vulgaris. It is applied topically in a thin layer, usually once daily at bedtime. The gel formulation is less irritating than the cream. It works by speeding up skin cell turnover, helping to clear acne and reduce wrinkles. Common side effects include warmth, stinging, redness, and peeling. It may take up to 12 weeks to see noticeable improvements. Consultation with a healthcare professional is essential to determine the appropriate usage and dosage for individual skin conditions.

Product Overview

Retin-A Micro Gel is a topical medication derived from vitamin A, primarily used to treat acne on the face, chest, and back. Apart from helping with acne, it can also make fine lines smoother and reduce the appearance of dark spots or uneven skin color that is often seen in older skin. It does this by speeding up the healing of acne scars and by reducing the number and severity of breakouts. It also decreases the production of excess oil in the skin, which helps to prevent the formation of acne. To use Retin-A Micro Gel, it’s recommended to apply a small amount to the affected area at night, following the duration prescribed by a doctor. Before application, the skin should be washed and dried. It’s essential to apply the gel only to intact skin and avoid contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Consistent use is critical, as it may take several weeks to see improvements. If there’s no noticeable change after a few weeks, consulting a doctor is advisable.

Overuse or more frequent application of the gel will not speed up its effects and may lead to increased side effects. Common side effects include skin irritation, dryness, and redness, which typically subside as the body adjusts to the medication. To mitigate dryness, drinking plenty of water and using moisturizers can be helpful. Retin-A Micro Gel can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight, so limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen is recommended. The gel can also make the skin more fragile, so it’s best to avoid waxing, laser treatments, and other harsh skin procedures during its use.

Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant should not use Retin-A Micro Gel due to the risk of congenital disabilities. It’s crucial to inform the doctor of any side effects that persist or cause discomfort. Retin-A Micro is an effective treatment for acne and fine wrinkles with a simple application routine. However, it requires patience for results and caution to avoid potential side effects and increased skin sensitivity. Always follow the prescribed instructions and consult a healthcare professional for any concerns.

Uses of Retin-A Micro Gel

Retin-A Micro Gel, also known as Tretinoin, has several uses:

  • Acne Treatment (acne which appears as spots or pimples on your face, back, or chest)
  • Wrinkle Reduction
  • Skin Replenishment
  • Skin Smoothing
  • Oil Production Control

How to Use Retin-A Micro?


It comes in the form of gel and has 4 strengths:

  • 0.1%
  • 0.08% 
  • 0.06%
  • 0.04%

Recommended Dosage for Different Patients

For Acne Treatment in Adults

  • Use: This medication is used for treating acne vulgaris.
  • Dosage: Apply a thin layer to the entire affected area once a day at bedtime.
  • Note: Using too much gel can cause it to be pill or cake, which prevents proper application. You may feel warmth or stinging after applying the gel. It’s common for acne to appear worse during the first few weeks of treatment, but this shouldn’t be a reason to stop using the gel. The gel formulation is generally less irritating than the cream formulation.

For Reducing Fine Facial Wrinkles in Adults (Dermatoheliosis)

  • Use: This medication is an adjunctive agent for reducing fine facial wrinkles, used in conjunction with a comprehensive skin care and sunlight avoidance program.
  • Dosage: Apply a pea-sized amount to the entire affected area once a day at bedtime.
  • Duration: Use for 48 weeks with 0.05% cream/emollient cream or 52 weeks with 0.02% cream.
  • Note: Wash your face with a mild soap and pat it dry for about 20 to 30 minutes before applying the gel. You may experience warmth or stinging after application. Improvement in fine wrinkles may not be noticeable for up to 6 months.

For Acne Treatment in Pediatric Patients (12 and Older)

  • Use: This medication is used for treating acne vulgaris in patients aged 12 years and older.
  • Dosage: Apply a thin layer to the affected area once a day at bedtime.
  • Note: Avoid using excessive amounts of the gel to prevent pilling or caking. Warmth or stinging may occur after application. An initial worsening of acne is common in the first few weeks but is not a reason to discontinue treatment. The gel formulation is typically less irritating than the cream formulation.

[Note: Remember these recommendations may vary depending on person to person. Discuss it with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How to Take It?

  • Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Gently clean the affected area with a mild or soapless cleanser. Pat the skin dry.
  • Use your fingertips to apply a small amount (about the size of a pea) in a thin layer, as directed by your doctor, usually once daily at bedtime.
  • A cotton swab or gauze pad can be used for the liquid form.
  • Wait 20 to 30 minutes after cleaning your face before you apply the gel, if instructed by the label directions or your doctor.

Important Information to Consider While Using Retin-A Micro

  • Avoid applying the gel to the inner lip area, on cut, sunburned, inside the nose/mouth, scraped, or eczema-affected skin.
  • If the medication gets into your eyes, flush with large amounts of water and contact your doctor if irritation occurs.
  • Wash your hands after application to avoid accidental contact with your eyes.
  • It may take up to 8-12 weeks to notice results.
  • Use the medication regularly at the same time each day for the best benefit.
  • Do not use more than recommended, as it can increase the risk of redness, peeling, and pain.
  • The medication is available in different strengths and forms (gel, cream, solution).
  • Discuss with your doctor the best type for your skin condition and response to therapy.
  • Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

[Note: Your doctor will decide the right amount for you based on your condition, following guidelines and studies on the drug. They’ll adjust it as needed over time.]

How Does Retin-A Micro Gel Work?

Retin-A Micro Gel contains Tretinoin, which belongs to a group of medications called retinoids. The way it works is by speeding up the growth of the outer layer of your skin, allowing new skin cells to replace the old ones. This process helps to reduce the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne. It’s important to note that it might take a few weeks to start seeing improvements in your acne, and the full effects of the gel may not be visible until 8 to 10 weeks of consistent use.

Important Safety Information

Side Effects

Common side effects of Retin-A Micro may include:

  • Warmth or stinging may occur immediately after application.
  • Skin Redness, dryness, and itching are expected during the first 2 to 4 weeks of use.
  • Scaling and Mild Burning: These effects typically decrease with continued use.
  • Worsening of Acne: Initially, acne may appear to worsen, but this usually improves with ongoing treatment.

A daytime moisturizer can help alleviate dryness. Consult your doctor for recommendations and follow them strictly.

Serious side effects of Retin-A Micro may include:

If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Blistering or Crusting of the Skin
  • Severe Burning or Swelling of the Skin
  • Skin Discoloration
  • Allergic Reactions

Though rare, seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:

  • Rash
  • Severe Dizziness
  • Itching or Swelling (especially of the face, tongue, or throat)
  • Trouble Breathing

It’s important to remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because they believe the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects. However, if any side effects persist or worsen, promptly inform your doctor or pharmacist. This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. If you notice other effects not mentioned here, contact your healthcare provider.

[Note: Remember, this list may not cover all possible side effects. Always consult with your healthcare giver for medical advice about side effects.]


  • It’s essential to have regular check-ups with your doctor to ensure Tretinoin is working effectively and to monitor for any side effects.
  • During the first three weeks of using Tretinoin, you might experience skin irritation, and your acne could appear worse before it starts to improve. It may take up to 12 weeks or longer to see the full benefits of the treatment. If your skin irritation is severe or your acne hasn’t improved after 8 to 12 weeks, consult your doctor.
  • After applying Tretinoin, wait at least 1 hour before washing the treated area. Also, avoid using other topical medications or skin products within 1 hour before or after applying Tretinoin, as this could reduce its effectiveness or cause skin irritation.
  • Be cautious about using certain products on the same area as Tretinoin:
    • Other acne treatments or products with peeling agents (such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, and sulfur).
    • Irritating hair products like permanents or hair removal products.
    • Products that increase sun sensitivity, including those with spices or lime.
    • Products with high alcohol content (such as shaving creams, astringents, and after-shave lotions).
    • Drying or abrasive skin products (such as some soaps, cosmetics, and cleansers).
  • While some doctors may allow the use of benzoyl peroxide with Tretinoin for acne treatment, it’s usually recommended to apply Tretinoin at night to avoid conflicts with other daytime products. Always check with your doctor before combining Tretinoin with other topical medicines.
  • For the first six months of use, protect the treated areas from excessive sun, wind, or cold exposure, as your skin will be more sensitive, especially in the first 2-3 weeks. Continue using Tretinoin unless skin irritation becomes intolerable. Avoid sunlamps.
  • To protect your skin:
    • Use a sunscreen or sunblock lotion with an SPF of at least 15.
    • Wear protective clothing and hats.
    • Apply moisturizers frequently to reduce dryness and irritation.
  • If your skin becomes too dry or irritated, consult your doctor for advice on suitable skin products. For acne treatment, water-based creams or lotions can help. For treating fine wrinkles, dark spots, and sun-damaged skin, use Tretinoin as part of a sun protection program, including staying out of the sun or wearing protective clothing. Oil-based creams or lotions can help reduce dryness and irritation from tretinoin use.

Other Important Precautions

  • The effects of Retin-A on an unborn baby are not clear. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s important to inform your doctor before using this medication.
  • Similarly, it’s not known if Tretinoin, the active ingredient in Retin-A, can pass into breast milk and potentially harm a nursing baby. If you are breastfeeding, make sure to discuss this with your doctor before using Retin-A.

Retin-A Micro Gel Contraindications

  • This medication may not be suitable for everyone. If you have previously had an allergic reaction to Tretinoin, you should not use this medicine.

Missed Dose

  • Make sure to use this medicine exactly as your doctor has instructed. 
  • If you forget to take a dose, just skip it and go back to your usual schedule. 
  • Don’t use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose. 
  • If you’re unsure about what to do after missing a dose, reach out to your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

[Note: If you have missed a dose of your medication and are unsure about when to take the next one, immediately consult your doctor or pharmacist.]


If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact your doctor or Poison Control. In case the person affected has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be awakened, call emergency services at 911 right away. The signs of an overdose may include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing (a warm, red feeling on the skin)
  • Lips that are cracked, red, and sore
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination (trouble moving or controlling movements)

It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

[Note: If you consumed more than the recommended dose, get medical help right away or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]


  • Store this medication in its original container, tightly closed and out of reach of children.
  • Keep it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture, and not in the bathroom.
  • Dispose of unneeded medications correctly to prevent them from being consumed by pets, children, or others. 
  • Do not flush the medication down the toilet. Instead, use a medicine take-back program for disposal.
  • Ensure all medications are kept out of sight and reach of children, as many containers, such as pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers, are not child-resistant.
  • To prevent accidental poisoning, always secure safety caps and store medications in a safe location that is high and out of sight and reach of children.

[Note: Discuss with your healthcare professional about the proper disposal of any unused medicine and any questions you may have regarding its storage.]

Retin-A Micro Gel Interactions

When using Retin-A Micro Gel, it’s crucial to be aware of potential drug interactions that may affect the effectiveness of your medications or increase the risk of side effects. Always consult your doctor before starting, stopping, or changing the dosage of any medication. This ensures safe and effective treatment. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Medication List: Keep a comprehensive list of all medications and products you use, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as herbal products. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist to avoid any harmful interactions.
  • Skin Products: Avoid using harsh, irritating, or drying skin products on the treated area. These include:
    • Hair perming solutions
    • Products containing lime, alcohol, or menthol, such as toners, astringents, shaving lotion
    • Medicated or abrasive soaps and cleansers
    • Soaps and cosmetics with a strong drying effect, such as alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid
    • Products containing resorcinol, sulfur, or salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Be cautious when using benzoyl peroxide with Retin-A Micro Gel, as it can be very irritating and may decrease the effectiveness of Tretinoin if applied simultaneously. Discuss the safe use of benzoyl peroxide products, both prescription and non-prescription, with your doctor or pharmacist.

By following these guidelines and communicating with your healthcare providers, you can ensure a safe and effective treatment experience with Retin-A Micro Gel.

[Note: This isn’t a complete list, and there could be other drugs that interact with Retin-A Micro Gel. Make sure to tell your doctor any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal products you’re taking.]

Retin-A Micro Gel Alternatives

  • MetroGel (metronidazole topical)
  • Epiduo (adapalene topical/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Azelex (azelaic acid topical)
  • Differin (adapalene topical)
  • Rosanil (sulfacetamide/sulfur topical)
  • Aczone (dapsone topical)
  • Veltin (clindamycin/tretinoin topical)
  • Targretin gel (bexarotene topical)
  • Avage (tazarotene topical)
  • Onexton (clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Winlevi (clascoterone topical)
  • Panretin (alitretinoin topical)
  • Klaron (sulfacetamide topical)
  • Epiduo Forte (adapalene topical/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Cleocin T (clindamycin topical)
  • Fabior (tazarotene topical)
  • Duac (clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Benzamycin (erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Acanya (clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Aktipak (erythromycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Aklief (trifarotene topical)
  • Differin Daily Deep Cleanser (benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Amzeeq (minocycline topical)
  • BenzaClin (clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • ClindaMax (clindamycin topical)
  • Clearasil vanishing acne treatment cream (benzoyl peroxide)
  • Duobrii (halobetasol/tazarotene topical)
  • Aveeno Clear Complexion (salicylic acid topical)
  • Arazlo (tazarotene topical)
  • Finacea (azelaic acid topical)
  • Tazorac (tazarotene topical)
  • Rosac (sulfacetamide/sulfur topical)
  • MetroCream (metronidazole topical)
  • Plexion (sulfacetamide/sulfur topical)
  • Clindagel (clindamycin topical)
  • Rosula (sulfacetamide/sulfur topical)
  • Twyneo (tretinoin/benzoyl peroxide topical)
  • Sulfacet-R (sulfacetamide/sulfur topical)
  • Ziana (clindamycin/tretinoin topical)
  • MetroLotion (metronidazole topical)
  • Noritate (metronidazole topical)
  • Evoclin (clindamycin topical)

[Note: Your doctor will choose what’s best for you. Don’t use any of these alternative medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Taking them by yourself may cause serious side effects.] 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to see results from Retin-A micro?

Your acne may not get better right away. Use this medication even after your acne improves. Your acne may get better after two weeks of treatment, but more than seven weeks of Retin-A Micro treatment are needed before you get the full benefit.

Can I use Retin-A micro 0.1% gel every day?

Yes, you can use 0.1% tretinoin every day, but it’s important to give your skin time to get used to it first. When you start using tretinoin, your skin might need some time, like a few weeks or even a couple of months, to adjust to it. During this period, you might experience some skin irritation or dryness. It’s a good idea to start by applying it a few times a week and then gradually increase to daily use as your skin becomes more comfortable with it.

Is 0.1% tretinoin strong?

Absolutely, tretinoin is a medication that you put on your skin, and it comes in different strengths. The weakest one is 0.01%. The strongest one you can get is 0.1%, which is ten times more powerful than the weakest one. However, remember that no matter how strong or weak the tretinoin is, you always need a prescription from a healthcare professional to use it.

What to avoid when using tretinoin?

When using tretinoin for acne, it’s important to avoid certain products that can cause you irritation or increase sensitivity. Specifically, you should avoid:

  • Avoid using any other topical acne treatments that contain ingredients like resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. These can interact with tretinoin and cause excessive skin peeling or irritation.
  • Be cautious with hair care products that can irritate your skin, like hair removal products or chemical hair treatments (like perms).
  • Stay away from skin products that make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This includes products with certain spices or lime, as they can increase your risk of sunburn when using tretinoin.

How long does it take for tretinoin to work?

Tretinoin is a kind of skincare cream. When you use a tretinoin cream that has 0.1% strength, you might start to see some changes in your skin after about 2 to 3 weeks. But, to really see the full benefits, it usually takes around 6 weeks or more. If you’ve been using it for 12 weeks and still don’t see any results, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.

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