Senior Health Home > What Is Tazarotene Used For?

A number of conditions can be treated with tazarotene, including acne, psoriasis, and sun-damaged skin. When used for acne treatment, tazarotene may be used alone, or it may need to be combined with another acne medication to ensure around-the-clock coverage. The medication is thought to work by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells and suppressing inflammation.

An Overview of Tazarotene Uses

Tazarotene (Avage®, Tazorac®) is a prescription medication licensed to treat psoriasis, acne, and signs of sun damage. The various tazarotene products are approved for different purposes, as follows:
  • Tazorac 0.05% gel and cream (approved to treat psoriasis only)
  • Tazorac 0.1% gel and cream (approved to treat acne and psoriasis)
  • Avage 0.1% cream (approved to improve signs of sun damage).

Using Tazarotene for Acne

Tazarotene is one of many different prescription acne medications currently available. Like many such medications, tazarotene may make the skin appear worse before it gets better. Often, the skin may become irritated, red, and flaky. However, this usually gets better with time, and clearer skin may start to appear within four weeks.
Your healthcare provider might recommend that you use tazarotene alone or with another acne medication. Since tazarotene is applied in the evening (typically at bedtime), your healthcare provider may recommend a different type of acne treatment for use in the morning.

Using Tazarotene for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system (see Psoriasis Causes for more information). There are several different types of psoriasis. The symptoms of psoriasis may vary, depending on the type. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by thickened, swollen, and red skin, often covered with silver scales.
Psoriasis treatment may include:
  • Medicines applied to the skin (topical psoriasis treatment)
  • Light treatments (phototherapy)
  • Psoriasis medication, whether by mouth or injection, that treats the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).
Tazarotene is a topical medication.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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