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Almost 8 Weeks Into Tretinoin - Advice?

tretinoin hormonal acne doxycycline red mark

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#1 Cillian Cillan

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hello all,

Brief intro: I'm a 24-year-old female who's had acne since age 12/13; it majorly subsided during my early 20s but came back with a vengeance almost three months ago now. I've been on doxycycline and using 0.025% tretinoin cream for about 8 weeks at this point, and I was hoping to get some advice/feedback.

I started my tretinoin use slowly, about three times a week initially until I built up to four/five times around week 4 and have now been using it every night for about two and a half weeks. I think I went through more than one initial breakout, or at least I had a few separate/distinct flare-ups with fairly intense discomfort (maybe around weeks 3 and 5). My acne was initially just around my lips and on my forehead, but now I have broken out almost everywhere except around my eyes, my nose, and the sides of my face; it got pretty bad on my left cheek especially.

At this point, my forehead seems to have stopped breaking out and things have gotten much smoother in general up there - I've definitely not had any new cysts in that region for about two weeks now. My cheeks and the skin above my lips also have stopped breaking out in cysts. However, in the last week and a half or so, I've gotten some new cysts in the corner of my mouth and a few on the bottom of my chin (never, ever had acne on my chin like this before). Also, my lips have begun feeling extremely dry and I have this lingering sense of drymouth all day.

So, my questions are: Does this sound like what "normally" happens with a retinoid? Should I interpret this as meaning that the treatment is working? I have a lot of scarring/red marks now as well, though they do seem to be fading - will the tretinoin help with this? Any suggestions on what to do about the dry lips/mouth?

Any input y'all might have is much appreciated!

- CB

#2 Guest_*Spiro*_*

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:50 PM

Hello all,

Brief intro: I'm a 24-year-old female who's had acne since age 12/13; it majorly subsided during my early 20s but came back with a vengeance almost three months ago now. I've been on doxycycline and using 0.025% tretinoin cream for about 8 weeks at this point, and I was hoping to get some advice/feedback.

I started my tretinoin use slowly, about three times a week initially until I built up to four/five times around week 4 and have now been using it every night for about two and a half weeks. I think I went through more than one initial breakout, or at least I had a few separate/distinct flare-ups with fairly intense discomfort (maybe around weeks 3 and 5). My acne was initially just around my lips and on my forehead, but now I have broken out almost everywhere except around my eyes, my nose, and the sides of my face; it got pretty bad on my left cheek especially.

At this point, my forehead seems to have stopped breaking out and things have gotten much smoother in general up there - I've definitely not had any new cysts in that region for about two weeks now. My cheeks and the skin above my lips also have stopped breaking out in cysts. However, in the last week and a half or so, I've gotten some new cysts in the corner of my mouth and a few on the bottom of my chin (never, ever had acne on my chin like this before). Also, my lips have begun feeling extremely dry and I have this lingering sense of drymouth all day.

So, my questions are: Does this sound like what "normally" happens with a retinoid? Should I interpret this as meaning that the treatment is working? I have a lot of scarring/red marks now as well, though they do seem to be fading - will the tretinoin help with this? Any suggestions on what to do about the dry lips/mouth?

Any input y'all might have is much appreciated!

- CB


That is similar to what happened when I was using tretinoin cream. I found that it takes care of superficial acne, but it does not stop breakouts. It will clear up what's on your face but not prevent new acne from coming in.

As far as the doxycycline I also was taking that at one point, for about 6 months. It somewhat cleared me up, then just stopped working. My dermatologist took me off of it because it wasn't effective any longer and all my acne came back :( Bummer

I am now taking accutane, almost 4 weeks now. Which is basically tretinoin but in pill form. High doses of vitamin A. Hopefully the Doxy works for you and you can stay clear!! Thats great you are starting to see results :D The retinoid helps with skin cell turn over so yes it will help with the with the scarring and red marks. The red marks are hyper pigmentation. Time will fade those. It sucks but time is everything with the red marks. Also there is treatments like chemical peels and laser which can helps with the scarring. Those sometimes don't work and leave your skin in a very fragile state. Something you could talk to you dermatologist about though.

Dry lips I use Aquaphor Lip treatment. Works great. Dry mouth just drink a ton of water and that will help :D

Good luck

#3 PaulH85

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:00 PM

For what it's worth, the combination of Tretinoin and Doxy have worked well for me. The Doxy helped curb a few major breakouts along the way, as well as one or two that were probably triggered by the topical.
I like using the gel, it acts fast and quickly dries things up if I do break out. I think it's probably not something that will stop you breaking out, given that it's treating the symptom rather than the cause, but it's still good stuff.
My biggest improvements came as a result of diet changes and avoiding picking my acne as much as possible, but I'd still maintain that the gel and the Doxy played a big part and certainly worked better than anything else I've used over the years. I'm tapering off the Doxy at the moment and will be done in a couple of weeks, but I'll be sure to keep the gel handy from then on.

:)

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#4 Cillian Cillan

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

Thanks for the comments, all. I'm surprised by how many people on this board are saying that dietary changes had the biggest impact on their skin clearing up - I've been on a low-fat, low-sugar, mostly vegetarian/vegan, fruit-and-vegetable-heavy diet for years and years now (and yes, I also drink tons of water each day) and I don't really know how much "better" I can do on that front. I get 1-2 hours of exercise each day and I ate pretty much identically to how I do now when I was clear. So, I guess...what can one actually do to treat the cause rather than the symptom? (I'm currently following a dermatologist's orders on this regimen, and I'm going to see him again in about a week.)

#5 Guest_*Spiro*_*

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:54 AM

Thanks for the comments, all. I'm surprised by how many people on this board are saying that dietary changes had the biggest impact on their skin clearing up - I've been on a low-fat, low-sugar, mostly vegetarian/vegan, fruit-and-vegetable-heavy diet for years and years now (and yes, I also drink tons of water each day) and I don't really know how much "better" I can do on that front. I get 1-2 hours of exercise each day and I ate pretty much identically to how I do now when I was clear. So, I guess...what can one actually do to treat the cause rather than the symptom? (I'm currently following a dermatologist's orders on this regimen, and I'm going to see him again in about a week.)


I tried the whole diet change too. Either I didn't cut the right thing out or my acne isn't affected by diet. So I know how you feel. I wish that would have worked for us, that way we aren't filling our bodies with all these pills! Good luck to you!! I really hope the regimen you are following clear you right up Posted Image

#6 leelowe1

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:15 PM

Hey! Keep your head up. I am heading into my eight week too and i am breaking out in places that were previously clear. Stick it out so at least at the end of the say you can say you gave it enough time. 3-4 months is usually when people see consistent improvement for acne.

It's a rocky road but like everything else in life, there is always a beginning and an end.  Here's to finding my end.

 

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Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.





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