Can Tazarotene Help In Acne - How to Use & Precautions

Acne is the most common skin condition caused by the inflammation of hair follicles and oil-producing sebaceous glands of the skin.

In order to deal with all these problems, a lot of medications have been developed over time to prevent, if not cure, acne breakout which includes antibiotics, retinoids, and others.

Topical retinoid serves as one of the most widely used medicine to do away with the condition of acne.

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What is Tazarotene?

Tazarotene is a topical retinoid and belongs to the acetylene class of retinoid.

It is a retinoid pro-drug which is converted to its active form cognate carboxylic acid if tazarotene by rapid desertification in animal and man.

It is sold in a cream, gel or foam form in concentrations of 0.05% and 0.1% and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration of USA for the treatment of psoriasis acne.

It is one of the most active and effective class of topical drug used to treat acne vulgaris.

How is Tazarotene used to treat Acne?

The exact mechanism of tazarotene is yet unknown or rather undecided upon when it comes to the treatment of acne.

However, its action has been attributed to two of its properties, the first one being its anti-hyper proliferative property and the second its anti-inflammatory effect.

Just like other retinoids it mediates inflammation and prevents clogging under the skin. Trials have shown a 50% reduction in lesions in about twelve weeks.


A thin layer must be applied to the entire affected area after the face has been washed and pat dry. The eyes, lips and mucous membranes must be avoided.

If its application causes excess discomfort to the skin like peeling, redness or irritation, then its use should either be less frequented or interrupted for some time and resumed later.


It should be stored tightly closed at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light and must also not be a freeze.

It should not be used near heat, open flame or while smoking. The proper disposal of tazarotene must be discussed with the doctor.


It is available in concentrations of 0.05% and 0.1% in gel, 0.5% and 0.1% in cream and o.1% in foam dosage formulations.

Possible Side effects

Most side effects with the use of this product relate to skin allergy, however, it may have severe impacts at times of pregnancy. Its side effects are as follows:

Allergic reaction: The allergic reactions to tazarotene include swelling of the hands and face, swelling or tingling of the mouth and throat, breathing trouble, chest tightness, rashes, and blisters.

Local reaction: This includes worsening of the acne, itching, peeling, scaling, redness of the skin, cracking of the skin and sometimes changes in the color of skin being treated.

These reactions are however temporary and may decrease after some time of the treatment.

Pregnancy (class X): Because tazarotene is a retinoid, Vitamin A derivative, like Accutane, it should not be used during pregnancy because of the potential harm it may do to the fetus.

The prescribing details state that females of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks prior to initiating treatment and use an effective method of contraception during treatment.

Photosensitivity: Tazarotene may make the skin sensitive to the Sun and it is therefore advised that the skin must be protected from sunlight, sunlamps as well as extreme weather. In case of exposure cannot be avoided, one must wear sunscreen.


  • This medication is for external use only and must not come in contact with eyes, lips or mucous membrane.
  • It must not be used on skin areas that have cuts, scrapes, burn or rashes.
  • The doctor must be informed if you have any other allergy. This medication might contain inactive ingredients which might cause an allergic reaction or other health problems. The doctor must know your entire medical history before prescribing this medicine, especially other skin conditions that you have had earlier like eczema.etc.
  • Tazarotene makes the skin more sensitive to Sun. Therefore, exposure to sunlight and sunlamp must be avoided lest it causes sunburn. In case of exposure cannot be completely avoided, on must wear sunscreen and protective clothing.
  • Avoid electrolysis, waxing or chemical depilatories for hair removal on areas that are under treatment of this medication.
  • It is advised that men and women using this medication should use two effective forms of birth control and consult their doctor.
  • This medication might harm an unborn baby and therefore in case you get pregnant while using this medication, the doctor must be informed and consulted.
  • Effectiveness and safety in patients of less than 12 years of age have not been established.

Drug interaction

No studies have yet been done to formally study the drug interaction of tazarotene with other medications.

However, its use with dermatological medication and cosmetics must be avoided as they have a strong drying effect.

A concomitant oxidizing agent like benzoyl peroxide reduces the efficacy of tazarotene and if these two are used in combination then the person must be careful to use them at different times in the day.

Drugs that increase sensitivity to sunlight, Vitamin A products, hair perming solutions, skin product containing alcohol/lime/spice and products that are medically abrasive should be avoided.

In case you are already using any of these products, the doctor must be informed about it.

Popular Brands

  • Tazorac: It is available in cream and gel form with the concentration of 0.1% tazarotene.
  • Fabior: It is available in the form of foam in the concentration of 0.1% tazarotene.
  • Avage: It is available in the cream form and also has a concentration of 0.1% tazarotene.

Customer Review of Tazarotene for Acne

Tazarotene is a widely used medication for treating acne vulgaris.

We reviewed an online survey of the consumers using tazarotene and here is a summary of what they thought about the product:

What they liked about it

No scarring: Many of the consumers were very satisfied with the fact that unlike other forms of prescribed medication for acne, tazarotene left no scars of acne after the treatment.

They could, therefore, spot clear skin when the acne breakouts were reduced.

Gender neutral: Tazarotene based medications can be used by both men and women to deal with their acne problems, unlike oral contraceptives that work only in women.

Many men and women have seen effective results after its use.

Reduces wrinkles: A lot of consumers have experienced a reduction in their lines and wrinkles.

Therefore, tazarotene not only does away with the acne breakouts but also improves the texture of the skin.

What they did not like about it

Harsh on the skin: A few consumers experienced a lot of dryness, redness, and peeling of the skin with its use.

It was therefore very harsh on the skin through its impact on the skin is subjective and varies from person to person.

Not time effective: It requires almost 12 weeks for tazarotene to show its impact on the skin and in its initial stages it might also lead to worsening of the acne breakouts.

As such it has not proved very time effective.


Topical retinoids are the most widely used medications for treating acne vulgaris.

Tazarotene not only has very minimal side effects as compared to other forms of medication but also leads to the betterment of skin texture.

It prevents acne breakouts and also helps in the fading away of acne marks.

Most consumers were happy with the product and highly recommended its use due to its long-term effectiveness.

Though it might have certain minor side effects, when taken according to the doctor’s advice and proper precautions, it can go a long way in doing away with the acne problem and is definitely worth a try.

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