By Ashley Martinez
Tazorac (tazarotene) is a treatment used on the face to fight off bacteria often associated with acne. It can be found in cream or gel form, and is also used to treat psoriasis. It is a retinoid (vitamin A derivative), meaning that it is used to regenerate the skin’s surface cells, allowing new, unclogged pores to be revealed.
Tazorac cream or gel is used to treat acne vulgaris. The cream is a 0.1 percent active formula; the gel is less potent and can be used for mild acne or acne-prone skin. The cream or gel should only be applied after a noncomedogenic moisturizer is applied to the skin. It may be recommended that you wait an hour before applying Tazorac to the face, but it may also be recommended that Tazorac be mixed with the moisturizer and applied to the skin.
Improvements are seen 4 weeks after the first treatment, though on average it takes between 6 and 8 weeks of using the treatment to see results. It is often recommended that a patient uses the treatment for a normal cycle of 12 weeks or as prescribed by the doctor.
Tazorac is a prodrug, meaning it only becomes active after it enters the body. It is administered in an inactive state and then is metabolized to become active upon application. This drug works to kill bacteria and tame the sebaceous glands’ production of sebum, or oil secretion, which often clogs pores and causes acne.
It is best to mix a dime size of Tazorac with a gentle moisturizing lotion. Covering your face in the cream or gel without first protecting it with a moisturizer can cause serious redness, peeling, itchiness and irritation.
If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, immediately discontinue using Tazorac, as it can cause birth defects. Also, if you are breastfeeding, avoid using this drug. It is also recommended that you stay out of the sun; if you do have contact with the sun, cover the skin with loose-fitting clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.