Does retinol treat acne?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes retinols can be very helpful in treating acne. Accutane and topical Retin A are prescription medications that help control acne. Both are derivatives of vitamin A. Accutane is taken orally while Retin A is used topically on the skin. Accutane works by shrinking oil glands. Both medicines also help slough off dead cells so oils do not get trapped in the pore and cause a blemish.

In many cases, derivatives of vitamin A and retinoids, such as retinol, can successfully treat acne.

Retinol is often found in cream and oral acne medications. It is usually only used in severe cases.

However, if you consume excess alcohol, have liver disease, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you should not use retinol as an acne treatment.

Retinol should not be taken orally for the treatment of acne without the approval of your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.