The Pros and Cons of Retinoids

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Retinoids is one of the most common ways to treat acne. Retinoids can either be given in a topical cream or as an oral prescription. They are made from Vitamin A which is very beneficial in normalizing the amount of time that follicle cells live which is just one way of treating mild to moderate acne. You may have heard of a retinoid treatment that you can buy over the counter such as Retin-A or some that are prescribed by a doctor such as the topical cream Differin and Tazorac, or the oral retinoid Accutane.

Retinoids are also known for decreasing the oil in the glands which makes it so successful at treating acne. It does take about 4 to 6 months to decrease the oil completely but during this time you will see a noticeable difference in the way that the hair follicles clog up and turn into pimples. In most cases, by the end of the six months the acne will be gone for good. Some however do require additional acne treatment later on down the road.

The one downfall to retinoids is the side effects. With one treatment you may not see as many side effects, but if you do need another treatment a few months must pass in between to give the body a chance to recover fully. With either both one and two treatments the most common side effects are nose bleeds and dry skin. Some patients have reported having liver problems while others had bouts of depression. In pregnant patients, there have been reports of birth defects on the unborn child, which is why now dermatologists do not treat females unless they are on strict birth control. Pregnant women are absolutely not allowed to take any kind of retinoids at all.

Even with the chance of side effects, people are still willing to take retinoids because of the effectiveness it has on acne. Whether you use topical cream or an oral prescription is up to you, but your dermatologist may recommend one or the other based on the severity of your acne. There are pros and cons, but only you can decide if this particular acne treatment is right for you.

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