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What are the side effects of using retinoids?

ANSWER

Although retinoids can help with many common skin problems, there are risks. They include:

To lower your risk:

Don't use retinoids if you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

  • Dryness and irritation
  • Skin color changes
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Redness, swelling, crusting, or blistering
  • Stay out of the sun, 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.
  • Never use more of the retinoid or use it more frequently than your doctor prescribes or the package label says.
  • Use a moisturizer along with topical retinoids.

From: Retinoid Treatment and Your Skin WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

University of Michigan Health System: "Topical retinoid medications for acne."

DermaNetwork.org: "Topical Retinoids and Application."

Harvard Health Publications: "Do skin creams deliver?"

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Skin wrinkles and blemishes -- Treatment."

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements database: "Nongenital warts: classification and treatment options."

American Academy of Dermatology.

FDA.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on May 17, 2019

SOURCES:

University of Michigan Health System: "Topical retinoid medications for acne."

DermaNetwork.org: "Topical Retinoids and Application."

Harvard Health Publications: "Do skin creams deliver?"

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Skin wrinkles and blemishes -- Treatment."

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements database: "Nongenital warts: classification and treatment options."

American Academy of Dermatology.

FDA.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on May 17, 2019

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How can you minimize the risks of using retinoids?

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