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Success with Retin A & Duac

red mark oily skin

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#1 yazgirl

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 10:11 PM

I'm 27 and I finally decided to visit a dermatologist for the first time in my life about 3 weeks ago. Best thing I ever did.

I've been on the birth control Yaz for about 4 months and although it did get rid of my hormonal acne, I got a sudden outbreak of clogged pores (little zits) everywhere on my face about a month ago. I think the combination of oily skin and humidity just drove my skin nuts. Like hundreds of little zits everywhere, which I had never had before. I've always had mild acne but this was crazy. My face felt like sandpaper and I looked like a red mess.

The dermatologist prescribed me generic retin a cream (.025%) and duac. It cost me $20 total since I have insurance. I've been using retin a about 2-3 times per week at night and duac on alternate nights about 2-3 times per week. In just 3 weeks, I have cleared up tremendously (50-75%). I really doubted my dermatologist when she prescribed retin a and duac because I've never used anything other than benzoyl peroxide face wash (which used to work but wasn't enough at this point).

The only downside is that retin a makes me peel but there is no way around it since that is how it works. You skin peels so that you are revealing new skin while at the same time, washing away clogged pores. I still have some red marks on my face.. mostly on my chin from past hormonal breakouts so let's see how I do. I am supposed to see the dermatologist in about 3 more weeks as a follow-up.



#2 yazgirl

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 01:22 PM

I've been using generic retin a for about 3 weeks. It cost me $5 with insurance. It's Tretinoin .025% cream. At first, I freaked out because it has isoproply myrstiate (I have no clue how to spell this), which is supposed to help the retin a go on smooth and moisturize a bit. However, it's been known to clog pores. I'm pretty sure my dermatologist prescribed me the cream because I complained of having dry, oily, and sensitive skin.

I know most people are supposed to get an initial breakout in the first 3-6 weeks but I have not experienced this yet, which is great. I noticed improvement right away, in the first week. I think this is because I used the retin a on alternating nights with Duac, which is a topical antibiotic.

I just wanted to share some tips:
1) Do not use more than a pea sized amount of retin a, thinking that it will work faster and better. (Dan's benzoly peroxide principle of more is better does not work with retin a). It will just make you peel like there is no tomorrow. You end up looking like your face will melt off.
2) Start off slow.. Maybe every 2-3 days. I use retin a about 3x a week, alternating nights.
3) Don't freak out if you are peeling. This is what it's supposed to do. Don't use any abrasive scrubs. I just rub my face lightly with my fingers in the shower to get rid of the excess skin.
4) Wear sunscreen. The top layers of your skin are peeling off so you are losing some natural sun protection.
5) Always use retin a at night. Make sure you wait at least 20-30 minutes after washing your face so that you have less irritation.

#3 {DC}

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:54 AM

QUOTE (yazgirl @ Aug 19 2008, 08:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been using generic retin a for about 3 weeks. It cost me $5 with insurance. It's Tretinoin .025% cream. At first, I freaked out because it has isoproply myrstiate (I have no clue how to spell this), which is supposed to help the retin a go on smooth and moisturize a bit. However, it's been known to clog pores. I'm pretty sure my dermatologist prescribed me the cream because I complained of having dry, oily, and sensitive skin.

I know most people are supposed to get an initial breakout in the first 3-6 weeks but I have not experienced this yet, which is great. I noticed improvement right away, in the first week. I think this is because I used the retin a on alternating nights with Duac, which is a topical antibiotic.

I just wanted to share some tips:
1) Do not use more than a pea sized amount of retin a, thinking that it will work faster and better. (Dan's benzoly peroxide principle of more is better does not work with retin a). It will just make you peel like there is no tomorrow. You end up looking like your face will melt off.
2) Start off slow.. Maybe every 2-3 days. I use retin a about 3x a week, alternating nights.
3) Don't freak out if you are peeling. This is what it's supposed to do. Don't use any abrasive scrubs. I just rub my face lightly with my fingers in the shower to get rid of the excess skin.
4) Wear sunscreen. The top layers of your skin are peeling off so you are losing some natural sun protection.
5) Always use retin a at night. Make sure you wait at least 20-30 minutes after washing your face so that you have less irritation.


Thanks for your tips yazgirl.

I use Differin and also gentlely rub circles on my face in the shower to get dead skin off my face. But i find that after washing my face it still gets dry and tight at times. Does your skin get tight and dry after washing and showering?


#4 yazgirl

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:52 PM

My skin does get a bit tight after washing but not really dry. My skin is pretty oily in the summer. It gets dry in the winter though. I use the retin a cream so I don't have to moisturize but when I use duac, my skin does get slightly dry, but just around my mouth and edges of nose, eyes. I'll put just a tiny bit of moisturizer on those areas. Anything with benzoyl peroxide dries out my skin and makes me flaky but retin a only makes me peel.



#5 yazgirl

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:42 AM

This is a log after all. So I'm going to try to update at least once a week. Anyway, it's been almost 4 weeks since I've been on retin a and duac. My forehead, which used to have HUNDREDS (no exaggeration) of little zits since April.. they are ALL gone. In just 4 weeks, my forehead is 100% clear. No scarring either since they were small clogged pores. Like little baby red zits and whiteheads. I never really had any blackheads, thank goodness.

That's pretty cool. I think I have like a total of 5 zits on my face. And they are really really small ones. I can't believe how bad my skin was before. I really did not think ANYTHING would help but retin a and duac has helped tremendously. I have a few red marks on my cheeks and chin but they are not very noticeable unless you look really close and easily covered with a tiny bit of concealer.

#6 didi78

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:52 AM

It's great to hear that you are having results so quickly! Your combo really sounds like it's working for you. Congrats!

#7 yazgirl

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:50 PM

Thanks. It's like one thing after another. I used to have hormonal acne on my chin all throughout winter (birth control got rid of it) and then in the spring, the attack of the little zits. I feel like I'm finally getting some peace.

#8 yazgirl

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 07:13 PM

Week 5 update:

I had these nagging little zits on my left cheek since I started retin-a. About three of them, very tiny zits but they took their slow time fading away. Finally, they are gone this week. My skin looks very clear overall. A lot of my red marks are fading, which is great. I had about two to three tiny zits pop up on random places at the beginning of this week but they all faded away very quickly. I think I have like maybe one or two tiny zits right now on my entire face, which is GREAT.

On the flipside, my face is a bit more sensitive now though due to the weather getting a bit less humid and taking two showers a day to get rid of peeling skin. I usually don't moisturize at night but yesterday, I decided to use one of my night moisturizers under my eye and on my upper lip and it stung my face like crazy and made me red, which freaked me out, but it went away after two hours, thank god. I'm still using retin-a three times a week, and duac on alternate nights two times a week. I'm thinking I need to get a sensitive skin night cream.. I haven't really needed to moisturize at night but with fall coming soon, I need something that will protect me using retin-a in harsh winter weather.

I'm supposed to see my dermatologist in September for a 6-8 week follow-up. Hopefully she keeps me on the same regimen because it's working so well.

#9 yazgirl

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 07:16 PM

Oh and to add: I had this like weird clear/whitish bump on my face for YEARS (like teeny wart or something).. it's really small so you can't really notice it unless you look very close but with retin-a usage, it's GONE. I guess it was one of those clogged pores that I had assumed was a weird facial anomaly. Kind of gross to think my face had all this gunk and retin-a is just cleaning everything out.

#10 yazgirl

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 04:41 PM

Week 6 early update:
My skin went through a weird uber sensitive period for about 2-3 days at the end of week 5 but now it's fine. I noticed that my forehead had a reappearance of about 2 tiny zits at the top of my forehead near my hairline and a weird red spot in the middle. It went away though at the beginning of this week. My face is pretty clear right now except that this spot on my left cheek, which I rubbed a bit too much last week, then turned into a red mark and then faded away has re-emerged today as a zit. Just a regular old zit.. Grr. No pus or anything but I put a good amount of duac on it just to make sure it doesn't get any bigger. Hopefully it will kill it in 2-3 days. It's weird.. now I am freaking out over one zit since the rest of my face is clear. Odd how things change.

#11 yazgirl

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 01:55 PM

End of week 6 update: It's been 5 days since my last post, and thank goodness, the zit on my left cheek deflated when I woke up this morning. I've been putting duac on it religiously since Tuesday. I didn't pick at it or squeeze or poke or anything. I think this is my second big zit since I started retin-a. Otherwise, I've been mostly getting these tiny clogged pores. Usually just 2-3 a week. I didn't get a major breakout like most people say. Instead.. my hundreds of little zits went away to like 3-5 a week. Pretty damn good if you ask me. A lot of my old red marks are fading. They are mostly on my cheeks and chin. My forehead and nose are clear. I have to say, after 6 weeks, my skin looks pretty damn good. I looked at before and after photos of myself and there is a big difference.


With regard to peeling:
I'm still peeling but not as much as before because I've finally mastered the art of squeezing and using only a pea-size amount from the tube. I still use retin-a only 3 times a week.

#12 Soapybubbles

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:18 PM

Hey, I'm new here and I've just been cruising people's posts, trying to find out people's reactions to the products they are using.

I used to be on tretinoin .05% and I remember that it worked really well. For some reason I decided to go off of it, and I am pretty nervous about getting back on it again, due to the fact I do have some hormonal acne on my chin.

However, with your results with the .025% I'm thinking of asking for that instead (very sensitive skin).

Keep posting! Your progress is giving me hope.

#13 yazgirl

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 05:43 PM

The oddities of retin-a: I've noticed that when I've fully peeled (usually a day or two after retin-a application), my face has this shiny look when I get out of the shower. I usually rub my face gently in a circular motion for about 5-10 minutes to get rid of the peeling flakes in the shower. Anyway, the shiny look goes away in 5 minutes though. When I haven't fully peeled, my skin has this dull look.

My 6 weeks are up and I have to schedule a follow up with the dermatologist in the next 2 weeks. I have 45gram tubes of both retin-a and duac. I still have tons left in both tubes, I figure these will last me at least 3-6 months each.

I'm debating if I should introduce some kind of AHA on nights where I don't use duac or retin-a. Right now, I'm using duac two times at night during the week and retin-a three times. So that leaves two nights where I just let my skin rest. I'll usually just moisturize a tiny bit around mouth, nose, and eyes. But I'm thinking of getting a moisturizer or night cream with AHA as fall/winter approaches. I figure it would help with the exfoliation of the peeling skin from retina. I read somewhere that retin-a reveals the layers under your skin and AHAs reveal just the top layer. Hmmn... Right now, I'm considering Renew Overnight Oily from Skinceuticals. It's supposed to have about 10% AHA (they don't specify what kinds of AHAs though).

#14 yazgirl

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 05:37 PM

Week 7 Mid Week Update:
Yesterday, I woke up with a small zit (a tiny one with pus) on the crease/side of my nose/cheek. It was still there this morning but was smaller and now it's gone from showering at night. I also had this kind of like pore on my chin for a week or two and it's finally decided to make it's way out so I'm not sure if it's becoming a pimple or what. AND I woke up with another zit/hive under my right eye yesterday. It deflated a bit and I've had it before about a week or two ago. It's not really a zit per say, but more like an irritated/hive area. My skin is pretty sensitive and I'll get hives/red patches that usually go down after a day or two. Oh.. I finally scheduled my follow-up derm appointment for 2 weeks from now. Yeah. Been really busy with work lately so haven't had time to do that.

So skin is not perfect but I guess I can deal with 3 little zits. Well, really two I guess. Just annoyed with some of the redness/peeling.

#15 yazgirl

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 06:08 PM

End of week 7 update:
My skin seemed to undergo some kind of uber sensitive period this week. It's like my skin decided to revert back to week 1 type of peeling.. I also developed some irritation spots.. not really acne per say, but more like hives and redness (mostly on right cheek and chin). I realized that mostly it was due to excessive scrubbing in the shower. I think also the heavy water pressure was making it worse. I put epidermal repair under my sunscreen this morning and it has definitely helped. Also, I layed off the water pressure a bit in my evening shower. I had a major attack of the peelies in the shower. I moisturized a lot this morning so my face wasn't peely looking but I definitely looked oily. Oh right, one good thing. That pore that was on my chin, which I was worried would turn into a zit.. it scrubbed away in the shower a day or two ago. I am so happy about that.. that little pore was there for like 2 weeks. It was like a weird trapped clogged pore.. small but visible. Annoying as hell.

I'm thinking after I see the dermatologist in about a week, I'll step up my routine a bit. I only use retin a three times per week but I'm thinking about increasing to every other night. I just will have to be REALLY careful about using a very small amount. Also, not to go overboard with scrubbing in the shower. That really has made my skin uber sensitive I think. I hate the peeling skin but I guess I'll have to deal with it so I don't have so much redness.

I'm also nearing the end of 6 packs of taking birth control, yaz. I have to say.. I used to get pretty bad cysts on my chin mostly but also in other places (cheeks, forehead) and yaz has definitely nipped those in the bud. But, it didn't stop me from getting tons of clogged pores from stress and oily skin. Oh well. At least retin a is taking care of that problem.

#16 MostExtreme

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 06:38 PM

.

Edited by MostExtreme, 25 November 2010 - 05:24 AM.


#17 yazgirl

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 05:33 PM

Week 8 Early Update:

So layering the skinceuticals epidermal repair under my sunscreen in the mornings and also decreasing the water pressure when I scrub my face in the shower has helped a lot and I'm not so red anymore. I still exfoliate by scrubbing gently with my fingers to get rid of the excess peeling skin but with a lighter motion and with less water pressure. I had kept the water pressure pretty strong because I have long hair and it takes forever to get the shampoo out, but not realizing that I was irritating my face with the same hard water pressure when it came time to wash my face. Over scrubbing + Hard Water Pressure = Scared Skin!

Anyway, I'm back to my normal color, thank goodness. I think I hate redness more than zits. My right cheek and chin were a bit raw for a couple of days and very sensitive. Currently, I have a small zit on my forehead and a small red patch on my left cheek (leftover from a hive I got from exercising). My forehead goes through cycles of being 100% clear to 2-3 small zits that you can't notice at all with light concealer. I tend to flush and get red easily when I exercise heavily and sometimes develop hives. I used to get them (hives) more often when I was younger and my skin was clearer, ironically.

In any event, just really happy that my skin is back to normal.. I was worried that this hyper redness/sensitivity was coming back for good! Reminder to all retin-a users.. be gentle with your skin! No need to scrub raw.. lesson learned.

#18 yazgirl

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 04:59 PM

End of week 8 update:

My face was beautifully non-red for a couple of days but then I decided to use duac and my skin turned a weird sunburn-ish red. Gah. But on the flip side, no new major blemishes. At this point, at 8 weeks in, I only get mild peeling around mostly my mouth area and maybe 2-3 small blemishes that go away fairly quickly. I don't use much concealer and powder at this point. I just need a tiny bit of concealer on maybe 2-3 old red marks. I don't really need the powder at all for coverage, but I use it to control the shine that I get from the sunscreen and just my face getting oily mid-day. Also to cover the random redness/blotchiness I get from irritation, whether it's from the duac, or too much scrubbing in the shower.

So yeah.. the biggest annoyance was the red marks that I had/have when I began the treatment-I never had an initial breakout from the retin-a but red marks from breakouts I had before I ever started retin-a and duac. I have to say, a lot of my red marks have faded a lot, which is great. Definitely the retin-a had a lot to do with it. The constant peeling action from the retin-a is helping to make my skin very smooth and more even looking. So that's pretty good for 2 months. I read somewhere that it takes about 6 months to 1 year for red marks to fully disappear.

#19 yazgirl

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 05:38 PM

Week 9 Early Update:

I went to the dermatologist today for my follow up and she commented that my skin looked clear and beautiful. Then, she looked very close at my skin and commented that I didn't even have any blackheads! Awesome. So she concluded that retin-a has definitely been working and that I should continue.. the duac on the other hand.. it works but I don't really need it at this point and it makes my face burn/itch/red and she said that I'm probably sensitive to benzoly peroxide. I don't use duac too often either.. maybe once or twice a week and I don't get huge pimples anymore.. just tiny ones that the retin-a dries up quickly.

So.. I left the dermatologist feeling GREAT! I doubted my dermatologist when she first prescribed me retin-a because 1) I've never been to the dermatologist before and 2) I had never tried retin-a before. So I am really glad that it has worked. Also, I have been moisturizing more at night and skipping the duac and my skin is not red anymore. I compared before and after photos at week 8 and my skin really has changed a lot. I've also been moisturizing after retin-a, to help minimize peeling/redness and it has definitely helped. In any event, my skin looks great right now. I have one tiny zit on my forehead and one tiny blocked pore on the side of my nose. I had a tiny zit on my chin but it dried up in 2 days and just flaked off in the shower.



#20 yazgirl

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:50 PM

Mid Week 9 Update: So my skin has been progressing nicely. It's like my skin decided to be nice to me. No redness or new pimples at all. Also, for the 1st time, no peeling after retin-a! I kept thinking.. what's going on? Shouldn't I peel? I think it's because I layered moisturizer on top of it- the MD Forte Replenish Hydrating Cream that I bought very recently. I am really LOVING this new cream.. it is so soothing to my skin and doesn't irritate at all or break me out. And I love that it gives me a really matte look.

The small zit/pore on my forehead is barely noticeable now. It was there for about a week and then I put extra retin-a on it and it kind of killed it. The clogged pore on the side of my nose finally unclogged itself (again, I put extra retin-a on it) and now it's just a small red spot. Otherwise.. no other zits. Is that possible?!?

Tomorrow (Thursday) marks day 60 that I've been on retin-a. I started it on July 28. So that is basically 2 months. I really have to say that this has been the miracle product for me.. I use GENERIC retin-a CREAM, .025%, which cost me $5 with insurance. I mean, this tube I bought in July.. I can say that it will probably last me until January or February. How cheap is this? The only advice I can give is to really use just a pea size and deal with the peeling because that is how it works.

Oh well. I am so OVER benzolyl peroxide. I just wish that I had gone to a dermatologist sooner and not waiting until I was 27! I never heard of retin-a until this year. Crazy.

Here are some before and after photos. Keep in mind that I had mild acne-mostly very small pimples and clogged pores. Which is not a big deal if you have a few of them but I had literally 100s of them ALL over my face (especially my forehead). My pores look smaller and my skin looks lighter too. It also faded away some of my really small brown sun spots. My family commented that my skin was much "whiter." Not that I care about looking whiter or darker, that kind of stuff doesn't matter to me at all, but just wanted to note that retin-a seems to do this, which makes sense because it is peeling away that top layer.

Before (2 months ago)
before1.jpg
before2.jpg

After 8 weeks
after1.jpg
after2.jpg

After 16 weeks
after3.jpg
after4.jpg
*My skin looks even whiter and lighter than at 8 weeks. It seems that retin-a has also helped fade some of the red marks from previous acne.