Erygel vs. Renova

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Topical treatment for acne. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is a very common acne treatment you apply to the skin that may work better when combined with other topical medicines.Treats acne and sun damage. Renova (Tretinoin) isn't a cure for fine lines and wrinkles, but it's clinically proven to improve them.
How it works
Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is a topical antibiotic. It fights bacteria that cause acne in oil (sebaceous) glands, and contains alcohol which dries out acne-affected areas.Renova (Tretinoin) is a vitamin A derivative. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to make skin cells renew faster and better.
Type of medication
Acne agent
Prescription only
Acne agent
Prescription only
Available as
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Topical solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
of people say Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Renova (Tretinoin)
-6% vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
-8% vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
-8% vs. Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin)
Side effects

The Erygel FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Erygel side effects »
  • Severe local irritation 6%
More Renova side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
      Detailed Akne-Mycin (Erythromycin) risks & warnings »
      • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
      • Eczema
      • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
        • Allergy to fish or fish products
          Detailed Renova (Tretinoin) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

          Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

          See the FDA package insert
          CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
          No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          • Applying erythromycin to the skin reduces the amount of acne bacteria and "calms" the skin down (lowers the inflammatory response) in acne.
          • Available in a gel formulation which may be better if your skin is very oily.
          • Better choice if you're pregnant. erythromycin is categorized as pregnancy Category B (likely safe) as compared to similar topical medicines that are Category C (weigh risks vs benefits).
          • You only need to apply it once a day, usually in the evening.
          • Most people who reported having skin irritation said that it was mild.
          • Part of a complete program to help you take better care of your skin.
          Downsides and risks
          • There's a risk of irritation with anything you apply to your skin and this is no different. erythromycin, like other topical antibiotics, can cause skin irritation and may appear as redness, peeling, abnormal dryness or stinging, tightening, or burning sensations.
          • It's rare, that a serious allergic reaction would occur, but it's a good idea to test a small area of skin before using on any larger or sensitive areas
          • Studies show it works better when combined with other topical medicines to fight acne and reduce the risk of it losing its effectiveness over time.
          • Can cause severe inflammation of the large intestine (pseudomembranous colitis)
          • Stop using if you don't notice any improvement in your acne after 6-8 weeks. The most time you can use it is three months.
          • It may take up to 6 months to see the full benefit for facial wrinkles.
          • Not a good choice for women who want to become or are pregnant
          • Can change the color and texture of your skin if used long-term.
          • You need to be careful about avoiding any sunlight or artificial tanning while using it.
          • It doesn't work for deep wrinkles.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • Very commonly used topical antibiotic to treat acne.
          • The only topical erythromycin in a gel formula.
          • Apply a thin film to clean and dry affected skin once or twice a day.
          • It may take 6-8 weeks before you see improvement in your acne.
          • Avoid getting into your eyes, nose or mouth.
          • Let your doctor know if you notice abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea after starting this medicine.
          • Using a moisturizer that doesn't block your pores (non-comedogenic) may help lessen common side effects of skin dryness and peeling.
          • Taking good care of your skin is an important part of treating acne. Lightly wash with warm water and non-soap-based or gentle cleanser.
          • Works best as part of a complete skin care program (including SPF) to protect your skin from sun damage.
          • Renova doesn't permanently erase or improve significant skin changes such as deep wrinkles.
          • Apply a very small amount (pea-size) on entire face once a day at bedtime.
          • You'll need to use Renova regularly for at least 3 to 4 months before you see improvement. Once you stop, the improvement may slowly disappear.
          • Renova wasn't studied in people with skin cancer or serious damage from the sun (actinic keratosis) so it's not known if this would benefit.
          • Not safe to use during pregnancy. Even though Renova is applied to the skin, a small amount is absorbed and harmful to your unborn baby.
          • Some medicines you take by mouth can make you more sensitive to sunlight and combine with effects of Renova. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any new medicines.
          Learn more
          More about ErygelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about RenovaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert