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What Is the Difference Between Retin-A and Tretinoin?


Updated October 31, 2012

Question: What Is the Difference Between Retin-A and Tretinoin?

I've heard good things about Retin-A, so I asked my dermatologist and she said it could help my acne. But when I picked up my prescription it was for tretinoin, not Retin-A.

What's the difference between Retin-A and tretinoin? Did I get the wrong acne medication?


Not to worry, you've got the medication you're supposed to have. Retin-A is a brand name for the drug tretinoin. (Yes, even medications have brand names!)

Retin-A has become the most popular term used when referring to topical tretinoin treatments. But many companies manufacture topical tretinoin. Some offer tretinoin treatments under brand names that you've probably heard before: Retin-A Micro, Avita, and Renova. Generic tretinoin is also available, which is the medication that you have.

And don't think that generic medications are of lower quality, or that they won't work as well. Generic tretinoin will give you the same type of results as brand name Retin-A. All tretinoin products work in the same way, by speeding cell turnover rates and keeping pores free from blockages, or comedones.

Read More:
Is There a Difference Between Name Brand and Generic Medications?
Retin-A (Tretinoin) FAQs
What To Expect From Your Tretinoin Treatments

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  6. The Difference Between Retin-A and Tretinoin

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