Tazorac is another prescription acne treatment (the other one being Differin) manufactured by Allergan. It’s a gel or cream containing the active ingredient tazarotene. We recommend this product only for people who have severe acne.
How does Tazorac work?
The Tazorac gel and cream have slightly different properties from each other. A dermatologist can help determine which is best for you. Basically though, both formulations contain tazarotene. When tazarotene is absorbed by the skin, it’s converted to tazarotenic acid. This acid regenerates the skin to treat existing blemishes and prevent new breakouts.
Is Tazorac effective?
According to Allergan, Tazorac is the right acne treatment for about a third of those who try it. However, results aren’t seen for several weeks. Dry or flakey skin is a possible side effect. The official Tazorac website even states that redness should be expected.
Tazorac may be effective for you in the long term, which is a 12-week treatment course. You’ll need patience leading up to that. In fact, your acne might become worse for a short while. Because of the possible redness and new flare-ups in the beginning, we only recommend this prescription acne treatment to people who’ve tried gentler options first.
What types of acne can Tazorac fight?
Tazorac is effective against all major forms of acne:
- Red pimples
- Pimples containing pus
What precautions should I take?
First, women who are pregnant or might soon become pregnant should not use Tazorac. The main ingredient is a retinoid and retinoids may cause fetal harm.
Second, it’s important to apply moisturizer before you apply Tazorac. This will help your skin retain moisture a bit better. Third, be sure to use sunscreen with a high SPF or otherwise shield your skin from sunlight during treatment. You’ll need to choose sunscreens carefully because some can contribute to acne. A natural mineral makeup might be a good choice; makeup that’s truly 100% minerals provides natural UV protection and won’t clog pores. Obviously, don’t use this product if you have sunburn, eczema, or another problem skin condition.
Finally, the Tazorac cream or gel should not be used in conjunction with other drugs that increase sensitivity to natural or artificial sunlight. Some examples of these drugs include fluoroquinolones, phenothiazines, tetracyclines, thiazides and sulfonamides.
Would you recommend this product?
We recommend Tazorac prescription acne medication to people with stubborn and serious acne. When you try this product, it’s best if you’ve already determined that other options don’t work with your body chemistry. Otherwise you might be tempted to give up after a short while when the medication temporarily makes your skin look worse.
If you try Tazorac, plan your treatment time wisely. If you are concerned about having acne during some big event, it’s probably not wise to start treatment two weeks beforehand. You might show up with a horribly red face. On the other hand, this could be a great medication to try over the summer before returning to school. Just keep in mind the importance of shielding your skin from sunlight until it heals.