Home » Blog » Health Guide » Does Tretinoin Help With Acne Scars? A Detailed Insight!

Does Tretinoin Help With Acne Scars? A Detailed Insight!

By Dr. Luna Rey

Updated On

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Beyond just leaving visible scars, acne may be a chronic and often uncomfortable skin condition. Even while your pimples and acne spots may eventually go away, the scars they leave behind could serve as a constant reminder of your struggles. These acne scars may lower your confidence and self-esteem, making you feel self-conscious and self-satisfied with your appearance. 

But don’t worry anymore, there is a ray of hope in the form of tretinoin, a potent topical medication that has demonstrated its capacity to help improve the appearance of those unsinkable acne scars. In this article, we delve into the complete solution to your worries.

Key takeaways:

Tretinoin is a topical retinoid that can help improve the appearance of acne scars over time.
It works by increasing cell turnover and promoting the exfoliation of dead skin cells, which can help fade acne scars and improve skin texture.
Although tretinoin is generally tolerated well, it’s vital to be mindful of potential side effects, particularly in the initial treatment phase.

Benefits Of Using Tretinoin For Acne Scars

Tretinoin offers a multifaceted approach to improving the appearance of acne scars, providing both physical and emotional benefits:

Tretinoin Benefits For Acne Scars

Increased collagen production

Tretinoin stimulates the production of new collagen fibers, which can help to fill in depressed acne scars and improve their appearance, restoring a smoother, more even complexion.


By promoting the shedding of dead skin cells, tretinoin reveals smoother, more evenly pigmented skin, helping to diminish the appearance of acne scars.

Improved skin texture

By regulating cell turnover and promoting the growth of new, healthy skin cells, tretinoin can improve the overall texture and appearance of scarred skin, contributing to a more youthful and radiant complexion.

Reduced pigmentation

Tretinoin can help to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is a common consequence of acne lesions, leaving the skin with a more even and balanced tone.

Is There A Difference Between Tretinoin And Retinol?

While tretinoin and retinol are both forms of vitamin A, they differ in their molecular structure and potency. Tretinoin is the active form of vitamin A and is considered more potent than retinol, which needs to be converted into retinoic acid by the body before it can exert its effects.

Tretinoin is typically prescribed for more severe skin concerns, such as acne and acne scarring, while retinol is often found in over-the-counter skincare products to prevent milder issues like wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.

How To Properly Use Tretinoin?

Using tretinoin requires patience and consistency. It is typically applied to the affected areas once or twice daily, depending on the strength of the formulation and your skin’s tolerance. It’s crucial to start slow with a lower concentration and gradually increase the dosage as your skin adapts.

Tretinoin can cause dryness, redness, and peeling, especially in the initial stages, so it’s essential to use a gentle moisturizer and sunscreen to minimize these side effects. Maintaining consistency is essential because apparent changes might take weeks or even months to manifest.

You may also like to read: Do Cold Showers Help Acne? Truth Revealed!

Potential Side Effects Of Tretinoin

While tretinoin is generally well-tolerated, it is important to be aware of potential side effects, especially during the initial weeks of treatment:

🚫Dryness and peeling: Tretinoin can cause excessive skin dryness and peeling, which may be uncomfortable for some individuals. As the skin gets used to the treatment, this is frequently an unforeseen side effect.

🚫Redness and irritation: The skin may appear red and irritated, especially after applying tretinoin. This is a common reaction and should subside with continued use.

🚫Increased sensitivity to sunlight: Tretinoin can make the skin more sensitive to the tanning harmful UV rays, increasing the risk of sunburn and premature aging. Diligent use of sunscreen is crucial when using tretinoin.

🚫Temporary worsening of acne: In some cases, tretinoin may cause a temporary flare-up of acne before the skin begins to improve. This is often referred to as the “tretinoin purge” and is a sign that the medication is working to bring underlying blemishes to the surface.

Wrapping Up

For those struggling with the physical impact of acne scars, tretinoin offers a powerful solution. While the journey may involve some challenges and patience, the potential rewards of smoother, more even-toned skin and renewed self-confidence make it a worthwhile investment.

By working closely with a dermatologist and following proper application techniques, individuals can embrace the transformative power of tretinoin and regain control over their skin’s appearance and overall well-being.


1. What’s the usual timeframe for tretinoin to begin improving acne scars?

Results can vary, but most individuals begin to see improvements within 3-6 months of consistent use.

3. Does tretinoin remove acne dark spots?

Yes, tretinoin can help fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

4. What percentage of tretinoin is best for acne scars?

Start with lower concentrations (0.025% or 0.05%) and gradually increase as tolerated.

5. What kind of acne is tretinoin best for?

Tretinoin is effective for various types of acne, including inflammatory and non-inflammatory.

6. Are tretinoin results permanent?

Results can be long-lasting but may require maintenance treatment.


NCBI (n.d) Flattening of atrophic acne scars by using tretinoin by iontophoresis Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15075042/

WebMD (2005-2024) Acne Scars Available online at: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/guide-to-treating-acne-scars-and-skin-damage

Dr. Luna Rey

Dr. Luna Rey is a renowned dermatologist who has established herself as an authority in diagnosing and managing a diverse array of skin disorders. Her expertise encompasses both common conditions such as acne and eczema, as well as more complex dermatological issues like psoriasis and skin malignancies. Complementing her clinical practice, Dr. Rey has cultivated a profound passion for writing, which has led her to contribute numerous articles to prestigious medical journals. Her writing is characterized by its clarity, concision, and accessibility, enabling her work to resonate with a wide readership.

View All Posts

Leave a Comment