What is the difference between generic and brand Vitamin A prescriptions? And, what about primers?

Dr Irwin, Would you please clarify the difference between generic and brand versions of prescription Vitamin A (tretinoin vs Retin-A/Renova, yes?) and explain your preference? What do you think about such cosmetics product as primer in light of its good or bad effect on skin? Thanks.

The difference is in the base if you have the same concentration. But…… the base can really matter.  Most of the generics and brand versions are formulated for 16 year old skin with acne.  These drying bases are irritating for most older skin.  That’s why I usually recommend Renova and now the newer one, Refissa, because they are in a base better for skin over 35 unless you are oily.  

By the way, generally ignore for aging the concentration and use the lower ones like the 0.02% or the 0.025%, for example.  In a product you will probably being using for many years, the stronger ones don’t provide much extra benefit and they are more irritating. Learn more about which Skincare Products You Really Need.  Dr. I



Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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

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