Skip to content

Retinoid Treatment and Your Skin

Retinoids for Warts

Doctors may prescribe retinoids for warts, particularly when other treatments have failed. Retinoid cream works by disrupting the wart's cell growth.

How to use: Follow your doctor's instructions for applying retinoids to warts. Creams may need to be used for a few months before warts disappear.

What else you should know: Retinoids may be the best treatment for flat warts on the back of your hands.

Side Effects and Precautions

Although retinoids are helpful for many common skin problems, they are not without risks. Risks include:

  • Dryness and irritation
  • Skin color changes
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Redness, swelling, crusting, or blistering

How to Minimize Risks

  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be outdoors, limit your hours, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear sunscreen, preferably with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a large-brimmed hat.
  • Never use more of the product or use it more frequently than your doctor prescribes or the package label says. Doing so will not increase its effectiveness, but will increase side effects.
  • Use a moisturizer along with topical retinoids. Doing so will reduce skin drying without interfering with the product's effectiveness.

Pregnant women or women who are planning on becoming pregnant should not use retinoids.

WebMD Medical Reference

Brush Up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices