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Renova vs. Tretinoin

Started 1313000427.92 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1315439664.807 by Keli13

Does anyone know what the difference is? I've tried looking online, and all I can find is that tretinoin is generic for Renova, which in my book, means no difference other than price. Like Tylenol vs. Acetaminophen.

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poodlpoo1313000716.994265 PostsRegistered 10/23/2010

Tretinoin is the INGREDIENT in Renova. Or the generic rather. You would get tretinoin CREAM if you purchased generic Renova. Renova is a cream version of Retin A. Regular Retin A is GEL based, not cream. Renova is designed more for those with dry skin and anti-aging. Retin A was developed for acne, thus the alcohol, gel base. Both have the main ingredient of tretinoin.

lovestotea­ch1313001201.1713025 PostsRegistered 1/2/2009DFW Metroplex, Tx

Renova is a form of treinoin. Mine says "Renova" registered trademark, and Tretinoin Cream underneath, 0.02% under that. It is old and says OrthoNeutrogena on the tube. I have always assumed that the more emollient-type ingredients in the Renova would make this form of tretinoin best for "older" or dryer skins. The older I have become, the more beneficial I am finding under the eyes with Renova. I used to find it entirely too much emollient for my oily skin, but used it right under the eye anyway. Never felt it did as good a job of "exfoliating" as the gel forms. Recently the derm rx'd TretinX cream .025% for chin area (to prevent cystic acne) and a couple of small areas that flake due to keratoses. The derm told me not to use the TretinX all over my whole face; he said it was too strong. Looking at the ingredient, even though it is a cream, it has alcohol in it. I have always found the gel forms of Retin-A (tretinoin) to be much stronger.

Loves ~ dancin' & prancin' ~ ♥ ♥ ♥

cassiem1313007621.1376531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Tretinoin is the name of the active ingredient in Renova (and Retin-A). The only difference is the base, Renova has a more emollient base than the other forms of Retin-A.

To make things more confusing, the generic versions of all types of Retin-A/Renova are also called Tretinoin. Tretinoin Emollient is the name for generic Renova. Tretinoin Cream is the generic of Retin-A cream. Tretinoin Gel is the generic form of Retin-A Gel.

In the USA, only the .05% strength is available for Tretinoin Emollient. (The lowest dose of Renova is .02%.)

poodlpoo1313008450.624265 PostsRegistered 10/23/2010
On 8/10/2011 cassiem said:

Tretinoin is the name of the active ingredient in Renova (and Retin-A). The only difference is the base, Renova has a more emollient base than the other forms of Retin-A.

To make things more confusing, the generic versions of all types of Retin-A/Renova are also called Tretinoin. Tretinoin Emollient is the name for generic Renova. Tretinoin Cream is the generic of Retin-A cream. Tretinoin Gel is the generic form of Retin-A Gel.

In the USA, only the .05% strength is available for Tretinoin Emollient. (The lowest dose of Renova is .02%.)

Don't think so. I have a tube in my bathroom right now, that is tretinoin cream in the strength of .1%--purchased at my LOCAL pharm.

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cassiem1313009277.7036531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 8/10/2011 poodlpoo said:
On 8/10/2011 cassiem said:

Tretinoin is the name of the active ingredient in Renova (and Retin-A). The only difference is the base, Renova has a more emollient base than the other forms of Retin-A.

To make things more confusing, the generic versions of all types of Retin-A/Renova are also called Tretinoin. Tretinoin Emollient is the name for generic Renova. Tretinoin Cream is the generic of Retin-A cream. Tretinoin Gel is the generic form of Retin-A Gel.

In the USA, only the .05% strength is available for Tretinoin Emollient. (The lowest dose of Renova is .02%.)

Don't think so. I have a tube in my bathroom right now, that is tretinoin cream in the strength of .1%--purchased at my LOCAL pharm.

Last edited on 8/10/2011

No, you're talking about a different product, I was referring to the generic for Renova (called Tretinoin Emollient). Tretinoin Cream is the generic for Retin-A cream, not Renova. Tretinoin Cream is available in .025%, .05%, and .1% strengths. That's what you have.

Generic Renova or Tretinoin Emollient is only available in the US in the .05% strength. There are only two strengths of Renova, .02% and .05%. Interestingly, in the USA the name brand is only available in the .02% strength and the generic (Tretinoin Emollient) is only available in the .05% strength.

poodlpoo1313015299.8234265 PostsRegistered 10/23/2010

What is the difference between Renova and tretinoin cream? Aren't they one in the same? Both containing tretinoin in an "emollient" base?

rnmom1313062480.831355 PostsRegistered 2/11/2010

cassiem-thanks for that information, that's really helpful and I didn't know there were so many differences. So I have another question for you. My derm just recommended Renova for me at .02% and $210. I have a tube of generic tretinoin cream .025% here that I got from my family doctor for only $10. If the generic doesn't irritate my skin, is there any reason to spend an extra $200 if the main ingredient is the same?

Judaline1313062837.41714524 PostsRegistered 8/26/2006street of dreams

I would ask a pharmacist.

smhr661313067888.192384 PostsRegistered 9/5/2010Laid Back and Mellow Small Town USA

I was buying my generic Renova from Medsmex for about two years. I no longer buy from Medsmex, because they have changed ownership, and I knew the previous managers. I'm not making any recommendations on their behalf. You can go to their website and ask questions or call them.

Their strengths came in this form.

1. Renova generic cream 0.05% is lowest level. ( $21.00 for 1 gram tube )

2. Renova generic cream 0.025% is second level. ( $27.00 for 1 gram tube )

3. Renova generic cream 0.050% is third level. ( don't remember price 1 gram tube )

Renova is for dry/sensitive skin types and contains light mineral oil. Retin-A is for oilier/combination skin types and is alcohol based.

Renova and Retin-A ( generic too ) have high concentrations of Vitamin A. It's the formulations is what sets them apart.

Can't your dermatologists write you a script for a generic Renova? I would ask him/her.

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mature, dry, sensitive, makeup optional skin. keep it healthy with NIA24, MD Forte, physical sunscreen and Fancl cleanser.

smhr661313068648.2072384 PostsRegistered 9/5/2010Laid Back and Mellow Small Town USA

I almost forgot, SkinStore recommends retinol in place of Renova. I once asked that question and that was their answer. Unfortunately, my skin is too sensitive for retinols. You should ask your dermatologist about using a gentle retinol.

mature, dry, sensitive, makeup optional skin. keep it healthy with NIA24, MD Forte, physical sunscreen and Fancl cleanser.

rnmom1313072307.761355 PostsRegistered 2/11/2010

My skin has a tendency to be dry, but is not especially sensitive so I wouldn't need Renova for that.

I tried to call the derm's office today to see if they will give me a prescription for the generic Renova but their office sells it for $210 so I don't know if they will or not. It was the first time I had been to see her and she gave her recommendations for my hyperpigmentation to her assistant and didn't even bother to ask me what I've tried or why she was making these recommendations, just wants me to shell out almost $300 for items that her office sells. I'm waiting for the office to call me back because they better give me some real good reasons why I should spend that kind of money rather than get generic which I know my insurance will cover generic Retin A for $10, they did it before.

Needless to say, I'm not real impressed and probably won't go back except for she has a mole she wants to remove in November. I think I'd just have better luck talking to my family doctor or finding another dermatologist.

smhr661313072687.6032384 PostsRegistered 9/5/2010Laid Back and Mellow Small Town USA

Yep, dermatologists are also "sales" people. Shopping for a good dermatologist, is like test driving a car, you have to get a good feel of the person. I went to my family doctor to get a few moles removed.

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mature, dry, sensitive, makeup optional skin. keep it healthy with NIA24, MD Forte, physical sunscreen and Fancl cleanser.

OCGurl1313089282.9077273 PostsRegistered 8/2/2007Palm Desert, CA

you can always continue to use the generic and mix with a moisturizer when needed or add a moisturizer as needed, that is what i do as my insurance covers generic as well.


OCGurl1313089284.97273 PostsRegistered 8/2/2007Palm Desert, CA

you can always continue to use the generic and mix with a moisturizer when needed or add a moisturizer as needed, that is what i do as my insurance covers generic as well.


ValentinaB­on1313089903.3176934 PostsRegistered 3/18/2011
On 8/11/2011 smhr66 said:

Yep, dermatologists are also "sales" people. Shopping for a good dermatologist, is like test driving a car, you have to get a good feel of the person. I went to my family doctor to get a few moles removed.

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Not all are! Any dermatologist I've seen that was associated with a hospital have never, ever tried to sell anything to me or tried to push any particular product on me. In fact, if I do my research prior to the visit, I will often ask to get a particular product/brand to address a particular issue and my derm will right me a script for it if (after she does research on it if she isn't familiar with it already).

The only time a derm tried to sell me specific things is when I once went to a derm at a skin clinic where they did a lot of plastic surgery, advanced acne treatments, facials, etc.. (I was there for an acne study I participated in) many years ago .

DUH....WENing! :)

Rainbows a­nd Roses1313097541.24318292 PostsRegistered 6/4/2011

Renova is the best...........finer thinner product........in a way.........I have tried both and the renova works best.........I stopped using because it will thin your skin.....I wish they had known that 15 years ago.

"Crying is for plain women, Pretty women go shopping." Oscar Wilde

"The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion but cosmetics are easier to buy." YSL

cassiem1313108771.0436531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 8/10/2011 poodlpoo said:

What is the difference between Renova and tretinoin cream? Aren't they one in the same? Both containing tretinoin in an "emollient" base?

No, they aren't the same. They contain the same active ingredient, tretinoin, but the bases are different.

The base for Renova is an emollient cream (contains mineral oil) for dry, aging, or sensitive skin. The generic for Renova is called Tretinoin Emollient. It has to have the Emollient in the name to have the same base as Renova. It's available in only 2 strengths: .02% and .05%. In the USA you can only get the name brand in the .02% strength and the generic in the .05% strength.

Retin-a comes in several bases: cream (for normal to dry skin), gel (for oily skin), and micro-gel (for oily and sensitive skin). The cream version of Retin-A is not as emollient as Renova and does not contain mineral oil. The generic for the different forms of Retin-A are Tretinoin Cream, Tretinoin Gel, or Tretinoin Micro-Gel. All contain the same active ingredient, tretinoin, but have different bases.

roscoemydog1313109427.223157 PostsRegistered 1/28/2011

why are you acting crazy over this??? you wrote about it 3 times?!?

formerly, sweetdreamz in 2005.

rnmom1313151812.3831355 PostsRegistered 2/11/2010

The derm's office called me back and the assistant was trying to tell me that Renova is stronger than all the other Retin A's out there, that's why she recommended it. She didn't mention anything else about the base being different, but she might not know either. I was kind of surprised if this is true that the doctor would recommend the strongest product out there along with 8% Hydroquinone without even asking me if I have sensitive skin or if I've had any reactions to anything else I've tried. She's out of the office for a couple of weeks I guess so she couldn't ask about a prescription.

The assistant did recommend I just start with the Hydroquinone first, start after summer, use that for a couple of months and see if I have any results before jumping into using both. So I think I'll do that. But I would still like to get a back up tube of generic tretinoin from my family doctor if she'll give me one because I'd like to have that to use when I'm not using the hydroquinone.

cassiem1313153184.6576531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Rnmom, the assistant was incorrect in her terminology. Renova is not stronger than prescription Retin-A, they are the same strength as long as the percentage is the same. She probably meant that Renova (tretinoin) is stronger than over the counter retinol (which is not the same as Retin-A). That is for the most part true.

However, you mentioned that you already have a a tube of generic .025% tretinoin cream, so you could certainly use that in place of the Renova. The only difference is that you may find it a little more drying than Renova if you have dry to very dry skin. You can easily combat the dryness with a simple, non-irritating moisturizer without active ingredients (no aha's, bha's, retinols, peptides, etc.) used with the tretinoin. You can either buffer first with the moisturizer, mix the moisturizer with the retin-a before applying, or apply moisturizer over the retin-a. That's how my dermatologist got me started with Retin-a, and he recommends all of his patients start with moisturizer first to reduce side effects. I had no redness, flaking, or peeling by doing this. I can now use Retin-a without moisturizer, although when my skin gets really dry, I'll use it again. You can also use oils (like jojoba or argan oil) in place of the moisturizer.

cassiem1313153594.6176531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 8/11/2011 roscoemydog said:

why are you acting crazy over this??? you wrote about it 3 times?!?

I'm assuming you were posting to me. I'm not getting crazy about it, I have a science background and for my job I research cosmetic and prescription ingredients extensively. I like people to have the correct information. The person I was replying to was confused about the difference between Tretinoin Cream and Tretinoin Emollient, and I was trying to help her understand the difference. There's a lot of misinformation about Renova, Retin-a, and retinoids and I was trying to be helpful by clearing up the misconception. People who have been around here for awhile and have read my posts over the years know that my only intention is to help.

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cassiem1313154104.7576531 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 8/11/2011 smhr66 said:

Their strengths came in this form.

1. Renova generic cream 0.05% is lowest level. ( $21.00 for 1 gram tube )

2. Renova generic cream 0.025% is second level. ( $27.00 for 1 gram tube )

3. Renova generic cream 0.050% is third level. ( don't remember price 1 gram tube )

Actually, number 2 is the lowest level (weakest) and numbers 2 and 3 are the strongest level. With decimals, the smaller the number the higher it actually is. Basically, .025% is another way of saying 1/4% (25/1000's) and .05% is another way of saying 1/2% (5/100's). Numbers 1 and 3 are actually the same strength since .05% and .050% are the same thing. Both are the ways of saying 1/2%. (The first is 5/100's, while the second is 50/1000's, which is equivalent to 5/100's.)

It gets confusing when you get the decimals mixed with the percentages!

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DaB1313155781.1277 PostsRegistered 10/28/2008

So, what is it that thins the skin??? I thought the Renova thickened the skin and stimulated the collagen? I'm confused.Isn't the Renova supposed to help with wrinkles?

smhr661313158405.812384 PostsRegistered 9/5/2010Laid Back and Mellow Small Town USA
On 8/12/2011 cassiem said:
On 8/11/2011 smhr66 said:

Their strengths came in this form.

1. Renova generic cream 0.05% is lowest level. ( $21.00 for 1 gram tube )

2. Renova generic cream 0.025% is second level. ( $27.00 for 1 gram tube )

3. Renova generic cream 0.050% is third level. ( don't remember price 1 gram tube )

Actually, number 2 is the lowest level (weakest) and numbers 2 and 3 are the strongest level. With decimals, the smaller the number the higher it actually is. Basically, .025% is another way of saying 1/4% (25/1000's) and .05% is another way of saying 1/2% (5/100's). Numbers 1 and 3 are actually the same strength since .05% and .050% are the same thing. Both are the ways of saying 1/2%. (The first is 5/100's, while the second is 50/1000's, which is equivalent to 5/100's.)

It gets confusing when you get the decimals mixed with the percentages!

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Well, I copied the information from Medsmex. They have their information wrong about the percentages and pricing. The 0.025% should be the lowest price at $21.00, as it is the lowest level. It goes without saying, they need to price according to levels/strengths 1-2-3. Just one more reason, I am not making recommendations on Medsmex behalf, as stated in my above post #9. IMHO... the O.P. probally should stick with her derm's recommendation.

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mature, dry, sensitive, makeup optional skin. keep it healthy with NIA24, MD Forte, physical sunscreen and Fancl cleanser.

gardenmiss1313159187.187238 PostsRegistered 8/2/2007
On 8/11/2011 roscoemydog said:

why are you acting crazy over this??? you wrote about it 3 times?!?

What is your problem today??? Just don't read it if you are not interested and stop being nasty. I am, and certainly many others, are very interested in Cassiem's very knowledgeable advice.

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