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Isotrex 0.05% Gel

Isotrex 0.05% Gel (30g )

Sorry, this treatment is currently out of stock.

Isotrex has been discontinued by the manufacturer and the production has been stopped. 

Other acne treatments are available, including Treclin which also contains isotretinoin.


View Acne Treatments

Description for Isotrex 0.05% Gel

Isotrex gel contains a the topical retinoid, isotretinoin, for the treatment of moderate acne. It helps to reduce the oiliness of the skin as well as increasing the turnover of skin cells to prevent blocked pores. When used regularly over period of 6 - 8 weeks, it can help to improve acne on the face, neck, back and chest.

Product Information

  • Age: 18 Years +

    Maximum per order: 3

  • Pregnancy: Not suitable

    Breastfeeding: Not suitable

Isotrex gel is available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service, following a free consultation, to help to treat acne. To find out more about acne and see all the available treatments, see our Acne page.

Isotrex gel contains the active ingredient Isotretinoin and is used in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Isotretinoin belongs to a category of medicines known as retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. Isotrex gel is manufactured by Stiefel Laboratories.

The exact mechanism of action of isotretinoin isn’t fully understood. It is thought to:

  • Make your skin less oily (due to a reduction in sebum production).
  • Loosen the surface cells of the skin

These actions result in:

  • A reduction in the number of existing blackheads and whiteheads (due to unblocking of the pores).
  • A reduction in the number of newly forming blackheads and whiteheads.
  • A reduction in the number of red, inflamed spots.

These effects are because the sebaceous glands in the skin are allowed to function normally. The skin cell loosening action will also promote skin cell turnover. This turnover will provide a natural exfoliation of the skin’s outer layers. This exfoliation will also help to unblock pores, reducing redness, inflammation and the formation of blackheads and spots.

Isotrex gel can take six to eight weeks before the beneficial effects become visible. Isotrex is for external use only and is suitable for treating mild to moderate acne symptoms.  

Isotretioin is also available in the topical acne treatments Isotrexin gel and Treclin gel.

*Prescription medicines are supplied subject to a medical consultation at the discretion of a doctor.

Isotrex gel should be used once or twice daily, depending on response. Most people should start using Isotrex once daily and then slowly try to increase this to twice daily, if necessary, after around one week of treatment if there have been no side effects. Use continuously for up to THREE months.

How to apply Isotrex

  1. Wash your hands to remove any oil, dirt or bacteria before applying the cream.
  2. Completely remove any make-up, cosmetics or other creams.
  3. Wash the treatment area with a mild soap or cleanser and warm (not hot) water.
  4. Pat the area dry.
  5. Apply a thin layer of Isotrex over all of the affected area (not just to the spots) using a clean fingertip and smooth into the skin.
  6. Wash your hands to remove any excess gel.

Like all medicines, Isotrex gel can cause side effects. however not everybody that uses it will get them. Side effects are most common at the start of treatment as your skin gets used to your new medicine.

  • Local skin reaction, eg stinging, burning, redness, irritation or peeling at site of application.
  • Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight.
  • Dry skin at where Isotrex has been applied.

If you experience any of the above side effects when using Isotrex gel, you should try cutting down the frequency of application or not using it for a few days to allow your skin to recover. You can then slowly start to increase the use of Isotrex back to the prescribed amount.

Please see the maunfacturers patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of side effects.

Isotrex gel contains the active ingredient isotretinoin 0.05% w/w.

The other ingredients contained in this product are: hydroxypropylcellulose, butylated hydroxytoluene (E321) & ethanol. 

  • This preparation is for external use only.
  • Avoid contact of this medicine with the eyes, mouth, mucous membranes (eg linings of the nose) and broken areas of skin or areas affected by eczema. Take care to avoid the gel building up in skin creases or the angles of the nose.
  • If your skin is sunburnt you should not use this medicine until your skin is fully recovered, as it may potentially cause severe irritation to the skin.
  • You should avoid exposing treated areas of skin to sunlight or sunlamps while using this medicine, as it increases the sensitivity of your skin. If exposure to sunlight cannot be avoided, use protective measures such as sun-creams or protective clothing.

If you experience severe redness, peeling, or severe irritation of the skin you should stop using Isotrex. If the irritation persists you should consult your doctor.

Isotrex should be used with caution in:

  • Eczema (avoid getting the gel on areas of skin affected by eczema).
  • People with a personal or family history of growths on the skin, eg skin cancer.
  • Sensitive areas of skin such as the neck.

Isotrex should not to be used in:

  • Sunburnt skin, broken skin or skin affected by eczema.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding.

Delivery & Shipping Information

Please note that due to the current situation with COVID-19, Royal Mail are experiencing some delays. This may mean that your order takes longer to arrive than you would normally expect. We are working hard to ensure that, where possible, all orders placed before 15:00 are still dispatched the same working day.


UK Orders

We offer FREE standard tracked delivery on orders over £40.

The following delivery options are available:

  • Standard Tracked Delivery - 2 - 3 day delivery - £2.95
  • Express Tracked Delivery - 1 - 2 day delivery - £4.45
  • DPD Next Day - 1 - 2 working days - £6.95
  • Special Delivery (Guaranteed before 21:00) - £8.95
  • Saturday Guaranteed before 21:00 - £10.45

Important Delivery Information

All our orders are sent out using Royal Mail (unless stated). We always aim to dispatch all Royal Mail & DPD orders received before 15:00 the same working day. Any orders received after 15:00 or over the weekend will be dispatched the next working day. Orders will not be dispatched on weekends or bank holidays.

All orders are subject to approval by our team of doctors and pharmacists. Your delivery date in the checkout is subject to your consultation being approved by our healthcare team.

All orders can be fully tracked from your dispatch email, in your online account and from any notifications from your courier.

We ensure all parcels are in plain packaging for discreet delivery of your medicines and pharmacy goods. Where possible, we will attempt to size all parcels to fit through your letterbox in tamper-proof packaging. By placing an order on our website, you confirm that it is safe and appropriate for a package containing medicines to be posted through your letterbox, if the carrier is able to do so. You should notify our customer support team if it is not safe for the package to be posted through the letterbox, for example due to animals or small children.

Deliveries containing pharmacy-only or prescription medicines may require a signature on receipt. 

Delivery is free for all NHS prescriptions.


Royal Mail


  • Fully tracked delivery
  • SMS & email notifications
  • Four-hour delivery window
  • Change delivery date directly with Royal Mail
  • Update delivery location - add a Safeplace, preferred neighbour, or update your delivery location to a local Post Office or Royal Mail Customer Service Point.

Royal Mail are the most widely recognised mail delivery company in the UK. Being on the UK’s 29 million doorsteps six days a week means they offer unparalleled price and convenience. The Independent Pharmacy uses Royal Mail’s Tracked 48, Tracked 24, and Special Delivery Guaranteed parcel services to offer reliable, fully-tracked delivery at very competitive prices. Your Royal Mail parcel will arrive with your normal daily delivery of post.

Please note: Royal Mail do not deliver on Sundays or Bank Holidays - this should be taken into account when ordering. 

If you are not home to accept your delivery, a card should be left by the Royal Mail representative. This card will provide details of where you can collect the order or how to arrange re-delivery.

Should you be unable to collect your missed delivery or arrange for your medication to be redelivered by Royal Mail, the pharmacy can resend your medication to the same, or a different address provided it has been returned to us and this happens within a 30 day window.

Once a package has been shipped with Royal Mail we advise that you are bound to the terms and conditions of their use together with the terms and conditions contained herein.

You have the right to cancel your order up to the point when your treatment is dispatched. The pharmacist must destroy any medication within 30 days of it being returned, even un-opened boxes, so we are not able to offer refunds once your treatment has been dispatched.




  • Fully tracked delivery
  • SMS & email notifications
  • One-hour delivery window
  • Change delivery date directly with DPD
  • Update delivery location - add a Safeplace, preferred neighbour, or update your delivery location to a local collection point.

DPD Local is the most innovative parcel carrier around. Thanks to their industry-leading Predict service, they provide parcel recipients with a one hour delivery window, notified by email, so you don't have to wait in all day. What's more, it enables receivers to watch the progress of their delivery on a real-time map, all the way down to a final 15 minute time-slot. 

As well as keeping customers informed at every stage of the journey, DPD believe in maximising choice and convenience. That's why DPD provide access to a suite of options both on the day of delivery and the night before, allowing customers to take delivery of their goods in a way that suits. If you wish to reschedule, you can:

  • Select an alternative delivery date
  • Opt for delivery to a nominated neighbour
  • Have the parcel left in a specified safe place
  • Collect the parcel from your local DPD Pickup Shop
  • Upgrade delivery to By 12

Please note: DPD do not deliver on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays - this should be taken into account when ordering. 

Once a package has been shipped with DPD we advise that you are bound to the terms and conditions of their use together with the terms and conditions contained herein.

You have the right to cancel your order up to the point when your treatment is dispatched. The pharmacist must destroy any medication within 30 days of it being returned, even un-opened boxes, so we are not able to offer refunds once your treatment has been dispatched.


Forwarding houses

We are unable to ship orders to mailing or forwarding houses for onwards shipping to locations outside of the UK.


BFPO Postcodes

Unfortunately we are unable to deliver medicines to BFPO postcodes.


Remote Areas

Please be aware that Royal Mail Guaranteed services are not available to all customers in the UK, especially those that live in remote postcodes. Royal Mail advise customers of the following:

We deliver by 17:30 the next working day in the following postcode areas:
AB30 - 39, 41 - 45, 51 - 56
GY9 Alderney (Channel Islands)
HS1, 3 - 9
IV21 - 28, 40 - 49, 51 - 56
KA27, 28
KW1 - 3, 5 - 15
KW16 Stromness Town only
PA20 (0&9)
PA28 - 38, 41 - 49, 76, 77
PH15, 17 - 26, 31 - 40, 49, 50


We deliver within two working days by 17:30 to the following postcodes areas:
GY1 Herm (Channel Islands)
GY9 Sark (Channel Islands)
PA60 - 75, 78
ZE2, 3


We deliver within three working days by 17:30 to the following postcode areas:
KW16 - non-Town
PH30, 41 - 44


Please note: This applies to our 'Special Delivery' and 'Saturday Guaranteed' services.


International Orders

We are currently unable to ship orders outside of the UK.

We are unable to ship orders to mailing or forwarding houses for onwards shipping to locations outside of the UK.

Need to know more about Acne?

Visit our advice area or contact our support team

Isotrex 0.05% Gel Reviews

Unsure about a treatment?
Ask our medical team for impartial information and advice about any treatment we provide or medical condition that we treat before you buy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does Isotrex work?

    Isotrex contains isotretinoin, which helps unblocks pores when applied to skin. This helps reduce inflammation, and in treating whiteheads and blackheads.

  • Who would use Isotrex Gel?

    This medication proves particularly suitable to people who do not want to take antibiotics orally.

  • Does Isotrex take long to work?

    Isotrex gel should be applied once or twice daily and can take up to three months before you can see improvement.

    Applying it more often won't make it more effective and could increase the likelihood of an irritation.

  • What can I do if Isotrex dries out my skin?

    If your skin becomes considerably dry, a moisturising cream might help. Water-based creams are ideal, if the cream is rich in oil then it might clog your pores again.

  • Can anyone use Isotrex Gel?

    Isotrex gel may not be recommended for:

    • Pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers
    • Patients who have, or have had, skin cancer
    • People sensitive to sunlight
    • People who have existing skin conditions e.g. eczema and acne.

    If this medication doesn’t seem to be helping your condition, speak with your doctor, as there may be another medication more suited to your needs.

  • Can Isotrex be taken with other medication?

    Isotrex gel  might not be recommended if you are taking other creams or medicines for acne, in particular those containing vitamin A derivatives (e.g. Differin) or benzoyl peroxide. Also, if you are allergic to isotretinoin or other retinoid medicines, it may again not prove suitable.

  • Is there a difference between isotretinoin and tretinoin?

    Isotretinoin and tretinoin are similar. Known as an isomer, the chemical structure is similar. In cinical studies, isotretinoin has proved to be as effective as tretinoin in the treatment of acne and some individuals find that it has less side-effects.

  • Why must I use sunblock when going outside?

    Isotretinoin may make skin more sensitive to sunlight, so there is a higher risk of sunburn. Sun cream will help protect your vulnerable skin, and should be used if you are going outside for long periods of time. Whilst using Isotrex, refrain from using sunbeds.

    Your skin is particularly sensitive to sunlight when using Isotrex. Make sure that you take steps to protect your skin. Do not make use of sunbeds, and avoid being outside in the sun for long periods of time. When you do go out in the sun, wear clothing and sunscreen to reduce the risk of sunburn.

  • How long do I have to take Isotrex to see results?

    Generally, it will take a few weeks before there is any improvement in skin quality from isotretinoin treatments. It may seem as if the treatment is not working, but you should always continue using Isotrex for at least eight weeks. If there is no marked improvement after eight weeks, consult with a doctor as you might want to consider a different treatment.

Authored By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan


Published on: 02-02-2017

Last modified on: 02-02-2019

Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

Reviewed By:

A photo of  William Obeng

William Obeng

MPharm IP

Reviewed on: 02-02-2019

Next review date: 02-02-2021

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