Differences Between Tazorac & Retin-A

By Joanie Willard

Retin A is an original acne and wrinkle fighter. Tazorac is a recent addition to a list of vitamin A creams, gels and liquids. Both have generic names and purportedly do the same job: quell acne and reduce wrinkles.


Tazorac contains tazarotene. It is found under the brand names Tazorac and Avage. It is prescribed mainly for acne; wrinkle reduction is more of a side benefit. Its original application was for psoriasis but was found to help with acne and wrinkles.

Retin A

You will find Retin A under the names Tretinoin, Avita and Renova. It also contains one ingredient, tretinoin, also known as retinolic acid. Acne sufferers should use the .01 percent portion, while the .05 percent portion is best for wrinkle reduction. Side effects can include flaky skin and sun sensitivity.

Where to Get It

Both products can only be had by prescription, then can be purchased at pharmacies and online.


If your concerns are acne, both products will likely be covered by health insurance. Wrinkles are generally not a covered expense. Retin A is usually less expensive than Tazorac because it is offered under generic names.


Beside possible flaky skin, which should be temporary, Tazorac must be avoided by pregnant women because of possible birth defects. It is advisable for female users to use some sort of birth control as a precaution. Both products advise use of sunscreen and avoidance of prolonged sun exposure.