Have more questions?
If you have any questions about Trena and Retinol, you can call our office at 513-791-9474.
Rather see us in person? You can now reserve a slot at our special Skin Care Consultation Day on Tuesday, 10/23. Every private, one-on-one consultation will go over your Visia Facial Analysis results, provide you a personalized plan, and more. There are only 12 slots, so call us before space fill up and you miss you!
Why is this medication prescribed?
Trena (Altreno, Atralin, Avita, Retin-A) is used to treat acne. Trena is also used to reduce fine wrinkles (Refissa and Renova) and to improve spotty discoloration (Renova) and rough feeling skin (Renova) when used along with other skin care and sunlight avoidance programs. Trena is in a class of medications called retinoids. It works by promoting peeling of affected skin areas and unclogging pores.
Is Trena safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of topical Trena use during pregnancy. Physicians must weigh the potential risks and benefits before prescribing Trena during pregnancy.
It is unknown whether Trena is secreted into breast milk. It also is unknown if topically applied Trena accumulates to an extent sufficient to be of concern in the infant. Nonetheless, since oral Trena is not recommended during lactation, it probably is prudent to avoid nursing during treatment with topical Trena.
Trena is somewhat effective against PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), though not terribly impressive in this department. It works by inhibiting tyrosinase (an enzyme that produces melanin), interfering with pigment transfer, and speeding up cell turnover rate. (15, 16)
One study assessed its efficacy in treating liver spots (a.k.a age spots), or the brown and black spots commonly seen on elderly folks. The study was 10 months long, involved 58 patients, 24 of which used Trena cream 0.1% daily. At the end of it, 83% of the Trena users saw a reduction in age spots. (17) Another similar study found improvement in 68% of patients after 10 months of daily Trena cream 0.1%. (18)
In my opinion, 10 months and only slight or no improvement in nearly 20% to 30% of patients isn’t groundbreaking. Especially considering these participants were using the strongest prescription Trena available.
Trena’s ability to treat melasma has also been assessed. One study found a 32% improvement across all patients after 10 months of daily Trena cream 0.1%. (19) Again, I don’t know about you, but 10 months for a 32% improvement — ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sorry if I sound overly critical here, :p but in my humble opinion Trena is a bit overrated in its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation. And if used excessively, it can actually cause or make erythema like PIE worse! One study found “moderate side-effects of erythema” in 88% of patients treated with Trena! (20) The researches ended up ruling that Trena helps, but improvement is slow.
This is why it’s particularly important to buffer Trena if you want to reduce its side effects, and have better treatment outcomes! More about this in the “How to Use” section below.
Trena often causes peeling and a little skin irritation in the beginning, called 'retinoid dermatitis'.
Over my years of experience with Trena I've developed a few more tips to help skin calmly adjust to Trena with minimal peeling and irritation from retinoid dermatitis.
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology and works as a practicing dermatologist and clinical professor.
Trena (brand names Retin-A, Avita, Renova) is a derivative of vitamin A and is the treatment of choice for comedonal acne, as well as whiteheads and blackheads. It works by increasing skin cell turnover, which promotes the extrusion of the plugged material in the follicle. It also prevents the formation of new comedones. Trena is the only topical medication that has been proven to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Trena topical is a member of the topical acne agents drug class and is commonly used for Acne, Lichen Sclerosus, Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum and others.
Brand names for Trena topical include Retin-A, Avita, Retin A Micro, and Atralin.
How is this medicine (Trena Cream) best taken?
Use Trena cream as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Do not take Trena cream by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
- If you get Trena cream in any of these areas, rinse well with water.
- Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
- Put on at bedtime.
- Wash your hands before and after use.
- Wash affected skin and pat dry.
- You may need to wait 20 to 30 minutes before use. Check with the pharmacist about how to use Trena cream.
- Put a thin layer on the affected skin and rub in gently.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not put on 2 doses or extra doses.
41 Responses to “What’s The Difference Between Retinol and Retino >
Very interesting and helpful post!
How do get retinoid?
Great article. Hi there, I’ve been using Retin-A at .05 for wrinkles, along with a Vit C serum and have seen good results (I’ve been using it for about 8 months now). I got it online to save money. It was my mom actually, who suggested I try Retin-A or Differin. She said just search in Google for this keyword “GETRET247” to find the reliable source. You can use this keyword as discount code to get 10% off.
I found that they sell Differin too. Has anyone tried the Differin for wrinkles and if so what was your experience? Did you like it better/worse than Retin A.
Thanks……. I’m a bit nervous about switching
Can you get retinoid without a prescription?
Hi Sherry, thanks for reading our post and submitting your question! Retinoids do require a prescription from a physician due to their power. We would encourage you to see a board certified dermatologist. They will examine your skin and prescribe the best treatment for your individual needs!
No. The Ordinary sells retinoids for low prices. There are plenty of products on the market that have retinol in them.
Hi Dr. Lankerani, I am a fourth year osteopathic medical student interested in Dermatology and cosmetics. I would love to talk to you more about it if you are able to find the time! I was wondering if 1% OTC retinol is equivalent to 0.025% Trena? Or is any Trena, even the weakest one, is better than the highest percentage retinol? Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
Hi Cuong, thanks for your question. I forwarded it to Dr. Lankerani and she provided the following response:
“OTC retinol must be activated within the skin to covert to all- trans retinoic acid in order to be effective , thus taking time to take exert effect. Therefore retinol needs to be present in higher quantities than rx Trena in order to be effective. In general retinol is considered to be 20 times less potent than retinoic acid, so a 1.0% retinol is equivalent to a 0.05% Trena.”
I’ll also send you an email directly to make sure you received the response.
What are the side effects of Trena?
Following the application of Trena to the skin, there often is local inflammation. This reaction disappears when treatment is stopped. Mild stinging or a sensation of warmth also can occur when applying Trena.
The common side effects of Trena are:
Other side effects of Trena include:
- Increased sun sensitivity
- Darkening or lightening of the skin
- Initial acne flare-up
So then what is Retinol?
Now Trena is the purest form, so after Trena we have Retinol. Retinol is about 20 times weaker than Trena, so it basically does the same thing but it’s not nearly as strong. This means it’s not going to create as much of a result and it’s not going to cause as much of that dry, flaky result that we experience from Trena.