Tazarotene (Avage®, Tazorac®) is a prescription cream or gel used to treat a variety of skin disorders. It is a receptor-selective retinoid vitamin A analog, or a synthetic retinoid. It works by binding to specific receptors which then interact with DNA. This process generates new molecules which in turn results in skin improvements. Tazarotene can increase your sensitivity to sunlight, so it is important to avoid going out in the sun without adequate protection such as sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Also, tanning beds and sunlamps should be avoided while you’re on treatment. Tazarotene is an FDA pregnancy category X medication, which means it is not to be used if you are pregnant. Tazarotene topical is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. You must take a pregnancy test and have negative results within two weeks before starting treatment with tazarotene topical and treatment should be started during a menstrual period. Side effects associated with this medication include skin irritation, dryness, and redness. Some people experience initial acne flare-up which should decrease or disappear with continued use.