Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A has a side effect. If taken in a large quantity, it dries and peels the skin off. Retinoids make use of this side effect of Vitamin A. They help remove oiliness and peel off the dead skin cells. The common retinoids are- Isotretinoin, tretinoin, retinol, retinyl palmitate, adapalene and tazarotene. Exception Isotretinoin, all others are used topically. Retinoids are topically applied to treat acne, remove wrinkles, and treat diseases such as psoriasis. They are not safe during pregnancy and utmost care has to be taken while using retinoids.
Tazarotene, Tretinoin and Adaplene are popular retinoids that are commonly used to treat acne. All three drugs are very popular. The brand names by which they are sold in the USA are-
Tretinoin- Retin-A, Renova and Avita
Other brands are also available but the above are more popular ones. Many studies have been conducted to compare effectiveness of retinoids. Let us look at the finds.
Tazarotene and adapalene
Some studies have concluded that Tazarotene is more effective than adapalene. in treatment of both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne.
The symptoms of dryness were higher in Tazarotene in the beginning but after three months Tazarotene was very well tolerated. Adaplene produced less irritating symptoms in the beginning but treatment was also less effective than Tazarotene.
Tazarotene and tretinoin
Between these two it is found that Tazarotene is more effective than Tretinoin. Studies have found that Tazarotene reduced non-inflammatory acne much better than Tretinoin. Although both were found to be of about same effectiveness in treatment of inflammatory acne.
Adapalene and tretinoin
Studies have found that Tretinoin is more effective in the short period. But during a treatment of 10 to 12 weeks both the drugs are equally effective. Tretinoin causes more dryness and peeling compared to Adaplene.
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