Help! I’m having problems with irritation from Renova/tretinoin.

I used Renova for six years and Tretinoin for a year. Tretinoin worked fine for a year then it started irritating my skin a lot (despite using it on top of a moisturizer), excessive peeling of the skin, cuts, scratches etc. Why am i not able to tolerate the product, is it an allergic reaction? If i am allergic to Tretinoin will i be allergic to all its cousins. Should i go back to Renova or can you recommend a gentler version? If i cant go back to tretinoin or its cousins, what other products do you recommend for wrinkle correction.

So here are some things to think about.   When you started getting irritation from the tretinoin, had you been given a different strength (like a 0.05% versus a 0.025%)  or a different generic which might have different ingredients in the base?  You might be irritated by something different in the base cream.  Did you add any other products which might increase the irritation from the tretinoin like hydroxy acids either in wash or lotion form, some vitamin C preparations, more drying cleansers?  Are you doing manual exfoliation more like scrubs, Clarisonic, etc?  That would increase the irritation.  You get the idea.

If the answer to all these is no, before you give up on it, you might want to consult with your doctor and go back to the Renova (it really does have a nice emollient base).  There is also a new prescription version with an ointment base Refissa which would be worth a try if you don’t have acne

Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself and my trained staff.
  • My medical office in Seattle has experience treating thousands of patients.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product line.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes!