Refissa reduces fine facial wrinkles and darkening of skin. May cause sunburning, so use sunscreens and wear protective clothing during treatment.

Refissa Overview


Refissa is a prescription medication used to reduce fine facial wrinkles and darkening of skin (hyperpigmentation). Refissa belongs to a group of drugs called retinoids. It is not known exactly how it works to reduce fine facial wrinkles. 

Refissa comes in a cream and is applied to the face once a day at bedtime. 

Common side effects of Refissa include peeling, dry skin, and redness of the skin.

How was your experience with Refissa?

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What are you taking Refissa for?

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  • Other
  • Acne Vulgaris
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute

How long have you been taking it?

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  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

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Refissa Cautionary Labels


Uses of Refissa

Refissa is a prescription medication that may reduce fine wrinkles and darkening of skin (hyperpigmentation). It is for patients who are using a total skin care and sunlight avoidance program. Refissa does not remove wrinkles or repair sun-damaged skin. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Refissa Drug Class

Refissa is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Refissa

Common side effects of Refissa include peeling, dry skin, redness of the skin, burning, stinging, and itching.

This is not a complete list of Refissa side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Refissa Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • thiazide diuretics
  • tetracycline antibiotics such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Monodox, Vibramycin, others), minocycline (Minocin), oxytetracycline (Terramycin), and tetracycline (Sumycin, Tetrex, others)
  • fluoroquinolone antibiotics
  • ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • phenothiazine medications
  • sulfonamide-containing medications
  • aminocaproic acid (Amicar)
  • certain calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others) and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Gengraf, Neoral)
  • erythromycin (E.E.S., Erythrocin, E-Mycin)
  • hydroxyurea (Droxia)
  • pentobarbital
  • phenobarbital
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone)
  • tranexamic acid (Cyklokapron)
  • vitamin A

This is not a complete list of all drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

You should avoid using skin products that can dry or irritate your skin because skin dryness and irritation are increased with Refissa. Skin products that can dry and irritate your skin include:

  • products that contain alcohol, astringents, or spices
  • acne medicines that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid
  • medicated soap or skin cleansers

This is not a complete list of all drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Refissa Precautions

Do not use Refissa if:

  • you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • you are sunburned or your skin is irritated
  • you are highly sensitive to sunlight
  • have eczema or other skin conditions
  • you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the Refissa

Exposure to sunlight (including sunlamps) should be avoided or minimized during use of Refissa use because of heightened sunburn susceptibility.

Refissa has been reported to cause severe irritation to patients with eczema and should be used only with caution if you have this particular skin condition.

Avoid contact with the eyes, ears, nostrils, angles of the nose, and mouth. Refissa may cause severe redness, itching, burning, stinging, and peeling if used on these areas.

Avoid excessive exposure to wind or cold. Extremes of climate tend to dry or burn normal skin. Skin treated with Refissa may be more vulnerable to these extremes. Your physician can recommend ways to manage your acne treatment under such conditions.

Refissa Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of this medication, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet.


Inform MD

Before using Refissa, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Refissa or to any of its ingredients
  • have eczema or other skin conditions
  • have heart problems
  • have elevated cholesterol levels
  • have liver problems
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • are using any other medicines to treat your acne. Do not use other medicines unless they are recommended by your doctor.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Refissa and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

  • The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
  • This medication falls into category C. Do not use Refissa if you are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while using Refissa, please contact your doctor immediately.

Refissa and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if this medication crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using this medication.

Refissa Usage

What should I avoid while using Refissa?

  • Refissa can make your treated skin more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, keep out of the sunlight as much as possible and do not use sunlamps. Avoid as much as possible products that can increase skin irritation, such as:
    • other skin medicines
    • medicated or abrasive (rough) soaps
    • permanent wave solutions
    • chemical hair removers or waxes
    • electrolysis
    • products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime
    • cleansers, shampoos, or cosmetics with a strong drying effect
    • other products that may irritate your skin

Follow your doctor's instructions on how to use Refissa you were prescribed.

  • First, wash with a mild soap, non-medicated soap and pat dry your skin gently with a towel. WAIT 20 to 30 MINUTES BEFORE APPLYING MEDICATION; it is important for skin to be completely dry in order to minimize possible irritation.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of cream to cover your entire face. You may feel a warmth or slight stinging when Refissa is first applied.
  • Be especially careful when applying Refissa to avoid your eyes, ears, nostrils, angles of the nose, and mouth. Spread medication away from these areas when applying. Refissa may cause severe redness, itching, burning, stinging, and peeling if used on these areas.
  • Do not use more medication or more often than your doctor has prescribed. Too much medication may irritate or increase the irritation of your skin, and will not give faster or better results.
  • You can use a facial cream or lotion of SPF 15 or higher each morning after washing your face. Using a moisturizer is to protect the treated areas from dryness. Follow your doctor's advice because you need to use a cream or lotion that will not make your acne worse. Using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing will protect the treated areas from sunlight. If you sunburn easily, or if you spend a lot of time exposed to sunlight, be especially careful to protect your skin.
  • You may use cosmetics one hour after applying Refissa. However, clean your face before using cosmetics and remove cosmetics from your skin before using this medication. Talk to your doctor about recommended cosmetics.

Refissa Dosage

Apply a pea-sized amount of cream to cover your entire face. Apply this medication once daily at bedtime. 

Refissa Overdose

If you apply too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

Store Refissa at 20-25˚C (68-77˚F).