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What Is Tazarotene Used For?

Tazarotene Use for Sun Damage

Tazarotene (in the form of Avage) is approved to treat the following problems:
 
  • Fine facial wrinkling
  • Facial mottled hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation (blotchy skin discoloration)
  • Benign facial lentigines (flat patches of skin discoloration).
     
Like other similar prescription retinoid medications, the prescribing information for tazarotene clearly states that this medication "does not eliminate or prevent wrinkles, repair sun-damaged skin, reverse photoaging, or restore more youthful or younger skin." This language was used to prevent people from exaggerating claims that retinoids were "wonder drugs" for reversing sun damage.
 
Tazarotene should always be used with measures to protect the skin from future sun damage. This includes using protective clothing as necessary and using a facial sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
 

How Does the Medication Work?

Tazarotene is a "prodrug," a medication that is chemically inactive until it is changed by the body into the active form. The active form of tazarotene is a retinoid, which means it is chemically related to vitamin A. Other well-known retinoids include Retin-A® and Accutane®.
 
Tazarotene is believed to work by suppressing inflammation and slowing rapid skin cell growth. Although it is unknown exactly how the medication works to treat some of the signs of sun damage, it is thought to work below the surface of the skin.
 

Can Children Use It?

Tazorac is approved for children as young as 12 years old. Avage is approved only for individuals age 17 and older. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using tazarotene in children.
 
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