Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Tretinoin


Last updated on 16/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  




BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Acta 愛達美, Ketrel, Retrieve 匡麗

DRUG CLASS: Anti-acne agents

SUB CLASS: Retinoid


– 0.05%, 0.1% (cream)

What is Tretinoin for?

Tretinoin belongs to a class of medications called retinoids (a type of Vitamin A), which works by stopping the formation of pimples in the skin. It is used to treat acne, and sometimes used to treat fine wrinkles on the face.

How to use it?

Tretinoin is available as a cream. Use once daily at night. You may need to continue the treatment for 2-3 weeks to observe therapeutic effects and more than 6 weeks for consistent effects. Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes. Do not apply on broken skin (e.g. cuts and abrasions), sunburned, inflamed or irritated skin.

Before you apply Tretinoin, wash your hands. Then, gently clean and pat dry the affected area. Apply enough onto the entire affected area. Wash your hands after using the medicine. Exacerbation of inflammatory lesions may occur in the early weeks of treatment.

What are the side effects of Tretinoin?

Common side effects of Tretinoin include burning or stinging sensation, scaling, itching, drying and reddening of skin.

Who should not take Tretinoin?

– People allergic to Tretinoin or any component of the formulation
– Patients who are currently taking tetracyclines or antifibrinolytic agents

Pharmacist Tips:

– This medication may cause dizziness or severe headache. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how you respond to Tretinoin.
– This medication may make the skin sensitive to light. Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing and avoid tanning beds or prolonged exposure to sunlight.
– Tretinoin becomes less effective with UV light. Applying Tretinoin at night for it to be effective.
– Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you use any other products on the affected area, such as cleansers, astringents or cosmetics.
– If you experience allergic symptoms like skin rashes, difficulty breathing, swollen mouth/lips/eyes, stop using Tretinoin and report to your doctor immediately.

Common dosing schedule:
Apply to affected skin at night.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Tretinoin may interact with:
– Antifibrinolytics, e.g. Tranexamic acid, Aminocaproic acid, Aprotinin
Vitamin A and any supplements/products containing Vitamin A
– Tetracyclines

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Tretinoin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Tretinoin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Tretinoin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.