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My Retin-A Diary (With Pictures)

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#1 Parissa

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:48 AM

Introduction
Hey all I have been following acne.org for a while but it never occurred to me to actually sign up and write a personal log until now because I am so frustrated with my acne and would like to share my journey with everyone with the various products i use until i succeed! anyway this log will be about retin-a aka tretinoin.

Background:
I have had acne since 2006. It first started out as little bumps on a little part of my forehead then it just went blehhh and went all over my forehead. I went to the docs and got prescribed some oral antibiotics I think it was minocyclin or something, i took that for 3 months and that cleared it up and I didn't get acne again until the end of 2006 where I got breakouts not only on my forehead but everywhere especially on my cheeks. so I went back to the docs and got prescribed some more minocyclin and it cleared up my acne...BUT...it only cleared up the acne that was on my forehead it didn't really do anything to my cheek acne so I stopped taking the minocycline and my forehead acne returned. I left my skin as it is for the rest of 2006 and didn't really use many products. in 2007 I started to use pro active. I think I used it for about a month or so and stopped that because it was very harsh and my under eye skin started to get inflamed! I then used various products throughout the years such as cetaphil + benzoyle peroxide + cetaphil moisturisor; Clinique 3 step system; various natural products, Clean and Clear cleanser; Clindamycin; epiduo; A'kin; Neutrogena; Simple skin care and other products which I cannot remember right now. so come 2012 I have gone to my doctor once again and asked for retin-a after looking at all the good reviews on makeupalley.

My current regimen includes the use of:

Morning:
Wash with QV gentle wash
Moisturise with Grown ACAI-BERRY and BORAGO facial moisturisor; Matte

Night:
Wash with QV gentle wash
Apply ReTrieve Cream Tretinoin 0.05%


I am posting pictures of my skin on this regimen. there's pictures with flash and without flash just for your convenience and I will try to regularly post pictures.

So this is a picture of my skin before I started the regimen. As you can see my acne is I would say kind of mild/moderate.

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  • Day1.jpg

Edited by Parissa, 26 September 2012 - 10:24 PM.


#2 Parissa

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:16 AM

Morning 1 is the morning after I put on the retin - a cream. I did not experience any dryness, peeling or irritation.

Morning 2 - My current pimples somewhat calmed down. No peeling or redness. Oily skin as usual.

Morning 4 - Skin seems slightly dry. new pimples formed on chin. several tiny pimples forming on forehead.

Morning 5 - skin feels very tight and dry, I have a bit of peeling here and there. More new pimples on forehead and cheeks. I hate the idea of getting worse before getting better sigh Posted Image

p.s. I really hope this regimen works out for me fingers crossed!!!!

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  • Morning5.jpg

Edited by Parissa, 13 October 2012 - 11:06 PM.


#3 Parissa

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

Morning 6

I didn't put the retin - a last night because I thought I would let my skin relax so I just washed my face and applied my moisturiser. Its now 1.37pm and currently my skin is really tight and dry and also peeling in most areas, I cant even smile! but good news is some of my pimples have dried up and are now flat and red :S anyway so detailed info as follows:

Forehead: currently have several mini pimples everywhere.
Left cheek: no big pimples just really mini ones everywhere.
Right cheek: 1 pimple but it looks like its drying up and also some mini pimples here and there.
Chin: I had about 6 pimples on my chin after I started the cream now they have dried up and now a small mark is in its place.

overall skin looks kind of clear (but not fully) from when I first started I just wish it wasn't so dry. Dry and peeling skin makes you look like your older than you are Posted Image

By the way I forgot to say but I haven't had severe purging and I hope I don't Posted Image

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  • Morning6.jpg


#4 Parissa

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:41 AM

Morning 12

I haven't posted for a while as I had a cold and was not feeling well. I think I am happy with the Retin - A so far. I am breaking out here and there with very mini sort of pimples I hope its not a regular thing. My skin is so dry and peeling off; I feel like I have put on BP for the first time! Last night when I washed my face and dried it up the skin was peeling like there was no tomorrow! my whole face was covered in white dry peeled patches was not a very good sight, also every morning I wake up my skin kind of itches as if I got a mosquito bite or something. My old pimples are drying up, discolouration also fading very very slowly. Although its very dry my skin kind of looks very nice! anyway so detailed info as follows:

Forehead: Right now there are three new small pimples and the old pimples that were there are now drying up there's only marks in their place. Skin is dry but not as dry as the other parts of my skin.
Left cheek: I have one new pimple but its healing much faster than usual rate. other than that I have mini pimples here and there I really don't know what to call these mini pimples? are they clogged pores? have no idea! anyway I'll just refer to them as mini pimples
Right cheek: All the pimples that were there on day 1 have dried up as well as the pimples that popped up after I started the cream. But there are mini pimples here and there and red/brown marks where the dried pimples were. I actually cant believe how fast the pimples are healing!
Chin: I have nothing on my chin apart from the old pimple marks

#5 Parissa

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:38 PM

Morning 24

I am unsure as to what is happening with my skin because after the first few days of starting the retin-a my skin became really nice I had very minor pimples and the dryness was also subsiding but now im breaking out like crazy however the pimples that are coming out now are not cystic or anything its just small pimples everywhere especially on my forehead. Maybe it could be purging or maybe it could be a bad reaction to the other products im using who knows im still in the early stages of this product.. but im so upset :( I have stopped using my moisturiser because I have a feeling that it is the actual culprit. I have also started to take zinc (amino acid chelated) tablets so I'll see how that goes and keep you guys updated. Detailed info as follows:

Forehead: Dont even want to talk about this area. Its been breaking out since day one non stop break outs. Cant even count the amount of pimples on my forehead. Skin is slightly dry by its not peeling like other areas.
Left cheek: I have 7 new pimples now. They are not cystic or big they are fairly small and some of them are dryish. Skin is also slightly red and dry and peeling.
Right cheek: I had one huge pimple a few days ago but its gone down and now drying and currently i have 4 small ones. Skin feels dry and is peeling.
Chin: I had 2 new pimples on my chin but they healed quite fast. I don't really have a problem with my chin its just my cheeks and forehead that's the main issue.

#6 SendMeAngels

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:32 AM

Hey there! I'm on Retin A Micro as well, and I wanted to give you a few tips and a little encouragement. When I first started using the medication I was loading up on BP and not using moisturizer. Those were my first mistakes. The key here is to minimize irritation, so please be sure to use a moisturizer. Your skin needs it. I use CeraVe PM once in the morning and 30 minutes before the Retin A at night. And the nice thing is, it won't cause breakouts and it helps minimize facial redness. I highly encourage you to get some, and I think you will be pleased with the results. My skin stopped peeling once I stopped the BP and started using the moisturizer, and the breakouts became less, and my skin looked better. My dermatologist warned me that dry, irritated skin would flare up because of the irritation.

Also, it took me 10.5 weeks to get clear. For a while I thought the medication wouldn't work. But suddenly the pimples that did come were tiny instead of huge, and a few days after that, they stopped coming altogether. So give it the full 3 months, and be gentle with your face. I think you'll be happy with the product!

#7 Parissa

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:53 PM

Hey there! I'm on Retin A Micro as well, and I wanted to give you a few tips and a little encouragement. When I first started using the medication I was loading up on BP and not using moisturizer. Those were my first mistakes. The key here is to minimize irritation, so please be sure to use a moisturizer. Your skin needs it. I use CeraVe PM once in the morning and 30 minutes before the Retin A at night. And the nice thing is, it won't cause breakouts and it helps minimize facial redness. I highly encourage you to get some, and I think you will be pleased with the results. My skin stopped peeling once I stopped the BP and started using the moisturizer, and the breakouts became less, and my skin looked better. My dermatologist warned me that dry, irritated skin would flare up because of the irritation.

Also, it took me 10.5 weeks to get clear. For a while I thought the medication wouldn't work. But suddenly the pimples that did come were tiny instead of huge, and a few days after that, they stopped coming altogether. So give it the full 3 months, and be gentle with your face. I think you'll be happy with the product!




Thank you so much for taking the time to give me some tips really appreciate it! I always think that moisturising is the issue with pimples, I will definitely look into that cream. Also do you think that retin-a cream or retin-a gel is better? I have read in some places that the cream will break you out and then in other places I have read that the gel is too irritating? It's so confusing!!

#8 SendMeAngels

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:35 AM

You are very welcome! Stick with the Retin A Gel. The cream is more for people looking to reduce wrinkles, not acne. Many people do break out from the cream, so you will be happier with the gel. If you start out slowly and moisturize, the gel shouldn't be too irritating. When I started using moisturizer and stopped loading on BP, I stopped peeling and my face was no longer red.

I see that you are using the cream now, so it may be worth your while to ask for the gel. You could start using the medication slowly (say, every two days, for a week, then every other day, and then every day), as this helps reduce irritation for some. Just be sure to use no more than a pea sized amount at night, 20+ minutes after your wash your face. I like plain Dove soap and CeraVe face wash.

#9 gingergirl22

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:34 PM

I don't understand why so many people are applying a moisturizer before applying the Retin-A, when the instructions (mine at least) specifically say to apply to clean, dry skin. If you want to introduce a moisturizer, wouldn't you use it after the Retin-A is applied? I am using the cream, so maybe the instructions are different for the gel. So curious!

#10 pulz

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:55 PM

How's the Grown ACAI-BERRY and BORAGO facial moisturisor; Matte?

#11 Parissa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:36 AM

You are very welcome! Stick with the Retin A Gel. The cream is more for people looking to reduce wrinkles, not acne. Many people do break out from the cream, so you will be happier with the gel. If you start out slowly and moisturize, the gel shouldn't be too irritating. When I started using moisturizer and stopped loading on BP, I stopped peeling and my face was no longer red.

I see that you are using the cream now, so it may be worth your while to ask for the gel. You could start using the medication slowly (say, every two days, for a week, then every other day, and then every day), as this helps reduce irritation for some. Just be sure to use no more than a pea sized amount at night, 20+ minutes after your wash your face. I like plain Dove soap and CeraVe face wash.


I knew i should have chosen the gel but when the doc asked me what i want i just said ill take the prescription for the cream :( anyway i will have to give it another month or so because i am short of cash atm. I tried dove soap once and i got the worst break out ever! i dont usually get cystic type pimples but after i used the dove bar soap i broke out with cystic acne! so i will skip that one!! A lot of people are recommending the CeraVe product line so i will definitely try to get my hands on them

I don't understand why so many people are applying a moisturizer before applying the Retin-A, when the instructions (mine at least) specifically say to apply to clean, dry skin. If you want to introduce a moisturizer, wouldn't you use it after the Retin-A is applied? I am using the cream, so maybe the instructions are different for the gel. So curious!


I guess it wont hurt to try :S

How's the Grown ACAI-BERRY and BORAGO facial moisturisor; Matte?


I actually dont like it!! It says that its matte but i get oily skin after 30 minutes! so its not very matte at all. it actually made my skin more oilier Posted Image And i am not 100% sure but i feel as if it broke me out so i stopped using it. such a shame because it cost $40 :( im still on the lookout for a good moisturisor. i will try the CeraVe cream that one member mentioned earlier.

#12 Parissa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:46 PM

Morning 30

Okay guys today is officially my one month on retin a!! I have to say that I really dislike this product right now because I am purging. I hate purging. Im just eagerly waiting for that day whereby the purging process ends and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! I made an interesting discovery today. Last night I did my usual routine i.e. wash my face, apply retin a, but when i woke up this morning i noticed that some of the pimples have gone down. usually when i wake up i would see that my pimples are still there plus a few new ones erupting but today i can say for sure that they have gone down (slightly). The only thing i did different was change my usual cleanser (QV wash) to a somewhat more harsher cleanser (Neutrogena stress free acne cream wash) and i also didn't experience any peeling or dryness like i would on the QV wash so that's a bit interesting. I'll test it again tonight and see what happens tomorrow morning. Anyway ..

Forehead: My forehead has been good to me ever since my last post. All of the pimples i had have gone down and it kind of looks clear. which is surprising because my forehead was the worst area when i last updated.
Left cheek: My cheeks are annoying me because there's so many eruptions they are just not going. my left cheek has clogged pores/mini pimples/blackheads all over. there's some old pimples drying up and some new ones that have come up.
Right cheek: okay so my right cheek has the most amount of pimples/clogged pores/blackheads. its just countless you can see for yourself in the picture i attached.
Chin: I have five very small new breakouts on my chin they are unnoticeable though.

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#13 Parissa

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:04 PM

Morning 32

So its 32 days now. I wasn't planning on posting today, i thought i would do it in another 3-4 days, but changed my mind. I know last time i said i was going to use the neutrogena cream cleanser but i didnt continue that. Instead i opted for a benzoyle peroxide wash. Yes i know it will irritate my skin but so far the results have been positive and i havent had sever dry, irritated skin although it could happen. I think the clogged pores/blackheads i had are kind of starting to subside. What i have been doing is washing my face in the morning with QV wash and then follow it up with the benzoyle peroxide wash then i don't moisturise i just leave my skin as it is. at night i only use the QV wash and then apply my retin-a. So lets see how my skin reacts.

Forehead: My forehead is continuing to clear up. I have 2 very very small pimples but you cant really notice them unless there's light on my face or you go close up. I also have 6-7 clogged pores which are also very small cant really notice them. They did not pop up since my last post. They were already there i just didn't mention it.
Left cheek: I don't have really severe cystic pimples they are just very small i guess they are clogged pores/blackheads?. I don't know what you can call them. I think i also have some raised scars that look like dried up pimples. Overall skin is slightly clearing.
Right cheek: The pimples have calmed down i think they are in the drying process. Have some clogged pores/blackheads in random places.
Chin: The five small pimples i said i have last time are now drying up and becoming more smaller.

I have attached a picture of my skin today and as a tip (Well at least on my laptop) if you tilt your laptop slightly backwards you can see what my skin actually looks like. because when you are viewing it from a normal angle the lights reflect on the image and you cant really see the extent of the acne.

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  • 32 days.jpg