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Side effects and what to do

General issues
  • Expect mild dryness and flaking that should resolve with moisturizer and time. As skin adjusts to the medication, irritation will decrease and you will be able to use it with higher frequency as directed by your doctor.
  • With minor issues such as redness or irritation, stop using the prescribed treatment and medicated wash for a few days. Restart at the previous frequency.
  • If you experience more than mild irritation including moderate to severe dryness, irritation, itching, burning, redness, hives, cracking of skin, or other severe reaction, please stop the medication immediately and notify a docent team member. 

Medication specific information

  • When using a tretinoin (or any retinoid) to treat acne, you may experience more acne. This is the medication working to help ‘clean out’ pores so it’s important to stay the course. 
  • With hydroquinone, you may experience....
    • Temporary darkening of your spots in the first month. Don't worry - this means the medication is working! 
    • More rarely, temporary side effects include an orange “spray tan”- like discoloration or a fishy odor or taste. Pause use of the medicine for a few days if you experience this or develop irritation. Restart at the previous frequency. 
    • With use of HQ for longer than the recommended 4-6 months, an uncommon side effect of difficult-to-treat pigmentation, called ochronosis, can occur. So, always let your doctor know if you've already been using hydroquinone and follow your physician's instructions carefully.