The Difference Between Renova & Retin A

Updated July 19, 2017

Renova and Retin A are made by the same company and have the same active ingredient, called tretinoin. Both products are designed to make skin look healthier and younger. However, there are differences in the products.

Original Purpose of Retin A

Originally, Retin A was prescribed as an acne medication. It was soon discovered the medication improved skin tone and lessened facial wrinkles and fine lines.


Renova is prescribed for more mature patients to give them a more youthful, hydrated-looking appearance, and fade brown spots.


Retin A tends to dry out the skin more, which is beneficial to youthful, more acne-prone skin; while Renova tends to have a moisturizing effect on the skin, which is beneficial to more mature skin.

Adminstering Options

Retin A can be used as a liquid, gel or cream; while Renova is only available as a cream.

Strengths of Medication

Retin A and Renova are administered in different strengths. Retin A has different strengths that can be prescribed, but Renova is only available at 0.1 percent.


Retin A and Renova are an FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Retin A or Renova are harmful to an unborn baby. Before using either, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Tretinoin topical can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby.

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