Tazarotene is a designer retinoid that is part of the family of vitamin-A and vitamin-A like products called retinoids. It is approved by Health Canada as a treatment for psoriasis, acne, and photodamage although the majority of its use is for acne and photodamage, similar to the other retinoids.

How do I Use this Medication?

For acne, you should apply a small quantity (pea size) of Tazorac® to the entire face, especially the areas of involved skin while avoiding areas that could be irritated easier such as the mouth and nose corners. Tazorac® should also be applied to a dry face, having not been washed for at least 30 minutes prior. The frequency of application should be consulted with your physician as it may be customized to the skin sensitivity.

For photodamage, the same application applies as in acne. Apply a small amount to the entire face avoiding areas of susceptible irritation, having not washed your face within 30 minutes of application. It will reduce irritation significantly if you apply it without washing. Also, frequency of application should vary depending on your skin type.

For psoriasis, only apply the product to the area affected, avoiding the surrounding skin.

How Well Does it Work?


Tazorac® will work effectively against both your blackheads and inflamed acne. You should expect to see improvement in 6-8 weeks. It can be used alone or in combination with other topical or oral medications.


Tazorac has been approved by Health Canada to treat many aspects of photodamage including: fine wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (skin tone), lentigenes (brown spots), elastosis (skin elasticity) and pore size. You should begin to see improvement in 6-8 weeks with continued improvement with chronic use. It can be used alone or as a take-home therapy in combination with other treatments such as other topicals, light therapy, microdermabrasion, etc.


It works best in combination with other therapies, usually topical corticosteroids.

How Does it Work?

The exact mechanism is not clear, but it has been shown to have reduce proliferation and have anti-inflammatory properties. In photodamage, it has been proven to help the skin organize its cellular structure (skin polarity) and health. As with all retinoids, it works against existing acne and also prevents new lesions from appearing with continued use.

Will There Be Side Effects?

Side effects that could possibly be noticed by the patient:

  • Irritation, dryness, and redness
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Initial acne flare-up which should dissipate with continued use
  • Side effects have been shown to have more to do with the skin characteristics of the person being treated rather than a difference in individual products.

Suggestions to Minimize Irritation

  • Apply to skin that has not been stripped of its protective layer (recently washed)
  • Reduce the frequency of application (every other day or less)
  • Reduce the time of contact with your skin, wash off after 5 minutes
  • Use gentle skin cleansers
  • Use light skin moisturizers
  • Discontinue use of other drying agents
  • Avoid the sun


Do not use this product if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant or are breastfeeding. Discuss with your physician.

Can I Take Other Medications?

Be careful if you are using tazarotene with other irritating products. For photodamage, avoid use 1 or 2 days before and after a procedure with light therapy or laser to the same area.

Which brands are Available?

Tazorac® Gel (0.05% and 0.1%) and Tazorac® Cream (0,05% and 0.1%).

What Condition are Treated By This Medication?

Helath Canada Approved

  • Acne
  • Photodamage
  • Psoriasis

Non-HPB Approved

  • Keratosis Pilaris
  • Flat Warts
  • Ichthyosis