Retinoids

Isotretinoin Gel (Roaccutane Gel)

Retinoids are medications that decrease the production of sebum (oil) in the skin. Retinoids can improve acne symptoms by decreasing the growth of bacteria in the skin and preventing formation of clogged pores. Retinoids also increase cellular turnover in the skin and are a common treatment for mild acne scars and fine lines.

Oral retinoids (eg. Accutane) are generally only used to treat individuals with moderate to severe acne symptoms (Acne Types: 3-4). Topical retinoids are used to treat all kinds of acne. Retinoids are commonly combined with complementary treatments (eg. Antibiotics, Androgen Inhibitors, Light & Laser Therapies) as part of comprehensive acne treatment regimens.

There are four different kinds of retinoids that are used as acne treatments. Isotretinoin has oral formulations (eg. Accutane) and topical formulations (eg. Isotrex). The other retinoids – Adapalene, Tretinoin and Tazarotene – are only used as topical acne treatments.

Below is a ranked list of the retinoid medications used in the treatment of acne. Our retinoid ranking system (Scored on a 1 {BAD} to 100 {GOOD} Scale) is based on patient reports and clinical research results from a variety of sources. Click on a retinoid to learn more about that particular medication.

Retinoids

Rank Treatment Score
1Isotretinoin {Oral}75.2
2Adapalene68.5
3Tazarotene59.7
4Tretinoin55.1
5Isotretinoin {Topical}41.3
Isotretinoin Gel (Roaccutane Gel)