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Retin-A Cream 0.025% Cream

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Soooo I'm honestly so frustrated with everything right now.

I'm so depressed and I actually dread waking up in the morning because it means looking in the mirror. I am so embarrassed when I am around my friends and the whole time I'm with them I just want to run home and hide my face. Acne is the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep.

So here's my story: Around the end of July (a month ago), the 23rdish, I had a pretty shitty breakout around my right cheek, and I know this sounds kind of bad because it was only a couple of zits, like maybe four or five, while the rest of my face was perfectly clear. But every zit I got left a dark hyperpigmentation spot behind, which I worry more about then the actual pimples. I don't even touch the pimples, I just washed my face with a gentle soap and then applied aloe vera gel to the spots. Although aloe vera gel did a good job at fading the dark spots, it still took a lot of time, four or five months if not longer for one spot to fade.

So I was fed up with the accumulating dark spots and acne that slowly got worse and worse with time (like one zit a month became two then three then four then five). So I was determined to fix the problem before it could become horrible.

I went to my family doctor, who prescribed me retin-a 0.025%, in the form of Stieve-A Crème (Canadian brand retin-a). I've been using it 24 days, and when I use it tonight it will be day 25. But from four or five days into the cream, I started to break out! At first it didn't bother me because I had heard of the initial breakout. But it just got worse and worse progressively. Like my forehead, which gets one pimple maybe every six months and never breaks out, is covered in dozen of pimples. My left cheek which is also clear, except for maybe two or three a month, is completely covered in acne. My right cheek, which is where I mostly break out, maybe 11 or 12 a month, is even worse.

And all the zits are leaving huge purple marks on my cheek. The pimples that come to head take weeks to fade. I honestly want to cry everytime I look in the mirror, and most times I do. I'm so sick of this, I just wanna wake up and be happy for once. I haven't enjoyed anything since I've broken out. And to make it worse, school starts in two weeks, and I just wanna break down at the thought of showing up like this, for my final year of high school.

So I don't know at all if Retin-a is working, and this is just mad purging that will fade, or if it's actually just gonna wreck my skin and leave me with red hyperpigmentation scars everywhere (because I now have acne everywhere, including spots that have never broken out in my life).

I'm just so sick of it. I don't know what to do, because if Retin-a doesn't clear it up, I feel like my only option is Accutane, which my brother took and it worked well for him but I'm not keen because I play sports and I use contacts for them because I have horrible eyesight, but I can't do so if I'm on Accutane.

I just feel so trapped and miserable, and I just wanna live my life again.

Do you guys think that the purge I'm experiencing is normal and I should stick through it? Any advice from anyone who also took retin-a? Did anyone experience anything similar? Any comments or opinions are greatly appreciated.

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Anyone? I also have a lot pimples that turn into slighty raised purple little bumps, and I don't know if this is normal? Will they fade away with continued retin-a use?

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Many, many others here have experienced bad initial breakouts when starting on topical retinoids, so what your experiencing is completely normal.

There's also been many who have stopped using retinoids because of this without giving it enough time to start working properly.

I'm currently using another retinoid called tretinoin and my derm said it would take 3 - 4 months before I'd see results so I'd definitely stick with it, especially since your already nearly a month in. I'm not saying it will definitely cure your acne but I think it's way to early to give up on the retin-a yet.


Current Treatment:

AM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

PM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

100mg Doxycycline

Tretinoin/Retin-A 0.05% cream

My log:


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Okay, thanks!

The tretinoin that you have been using, how long have you been on it for? Did you experience any purging?

I've been on 0.05% tretinoin for exactly 3 weeks now so not long, but so far no noticeable purging . It's still early days yet so I know I could get a breakout at some point over the next couple of weeks. It's worth noting that I'm taking doxycycline at the same time though, so that may reduce any purging I get.


Current Treatment:

AM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

PM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

100mg Doxycycline

Tretinoin/Retin-A 0.05% cream

My log:


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Okay thanks so much for taking the time to reply!

I am finished four weeks of the stieva-a cream, and I think its starting to look better, however that may be attributed to an antiobiotic my doctor gave me about a week ago, called Bactrim/Septra, also I have some clindamycin phosphate in a cupboard from not too long ago that my brother used. It is not expired yet, so would it be okay to use that in the mornings?

Also the retin-a has left red pigmentation everywhere, so does anyone know of a cream or solution or something to add to the retin-a regimen to help it fade quicker?

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Okay thanks so much for taking the time to reply!

I am finished four weeks of the stieva-a cream, and I think its starting to look better, however that may be attributed to an antiobiotic my doctor gave me about a week ago, called Bactrim/Septra, also I have some clindamycin phosphate in a cupboard from not too long ago that my brother used. It is not expired yet, so would it be okay to use that in the mornings?

Also the retin-a has left red pigmentation everywhere, so does anyone know of a cream or solution or something to add to the retin-a regimen to help it fade quicker?

I've never used clindamycin phosphate before so I don't know, but if I were you, I'd just stick with what your doctor gave/told you to do. Doing too much to your skin at once may just aggravate your acne anyway.


Current Treatment:

AM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

PM: Cetaphil gentle cleanser

100mg Doxycycline

Tretinoin/Retin-A 0.05% cream

My log:


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Well I think things are looking a bit better, it's day 32 now, so I'm hoping that the worst is over now! Also I just bought this tea tree oil face scrub that your supposed to use a few times a week, and I know you're generally not supposed to use scrubs while on retin-a, this one is super gentle and it works great! You can feel it clearing your skin out!

Has anyone ever used the tree trea line from the body shop while on retin-a? Because I feel like they would work great together, as long as it isn't too drying for your skin.

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Just so everyone knows, tretinoin is the active ingredient in stieva-a and retin-a. So it looks like we're all on the same thing here on this thread. :)

I feel like we're almost the same person: I used bactrim for a while before I got retin-a and I also have some clindamycin left over from previous prescriptions. I've been using retin-a at night and the clindamycin in the morning. I'm glad I've done this because the acne I get from the initial breakout from the retin-a is going away more quickly. I suggest you do the same thing.

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Alright thanks! I've been using the clindamycin in the mornings and for a little bit I thought things were clearing up really well, but then I woke up today with more acne, which sucks! Retin-a is a rollercoaster ride! I wish I could just fast forward two months to when I hit the three month mark!

Good luck on your journey! And I'm not sure about the Bactrim, if it's even helping at all or if maybe the retin-a breakout can't really be stopped by the antiobiotic because it's exfoliating the pores maybe? Just a guess or a thought or something, I doubt I'm right or anything, but I'm just wondering :P

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I was on 0.0.25% for 3.5 months, and just upped it to .05%. My IB is *just* starting to go away. I'm also left with a lot of red and purple scarring, and the retinoids WILL help that fade as well - but it takes time. I had cysts come to the surface that were so miserable it felt like my skin was made of solid rock in a few areas. It is all part of the process. Now, my skin is mostly smooth texture and I am reaching the end (I think) of all the massive purging. My purge was huge, though. It felt like YEARS worth of breakouts all at once. Good luck, and just know there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Well I'm glad to hear that things are getting better for you! I'm also sorry to hear about how long your IB lasted, because trust me I know how that feels! At least we know it's doing it's job though.

But your post gives me hope and I really do appreciate it! My skin is actually looking pretty good today, so I'm hoping this lasts for a while because school starts in about two days! Today marks the last day of week 5, so I'm hoping week 6 will only improve!

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So just an update for any following, today was the first day of week 7. My skin has gotten worse unfortunately, but I'm hoping to attribute that to a hormonal breakout (that time of month). I was just wondering if it's normal to still be breaking out this far into treatment?

Also would going on the birth control pill help at all, if I continued my retin-a usage?

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I just got prescribed Ziana (clindamycin/tretinoin 0.025% cream) a week ago, and before that I was obsessed with retinol, so I've done a lot of reading about Retin-A although I'm short on the experience. Everywhere I've read has said that you should give Retin-A a good 3 months before you give up on it. And some people have even said that it took them months to stop breaking out, but when they finally stopped, their skin was perfect and has stayed that way.

So far, my skin's pimpliness has decreased considerably, aside from a couple big red pimples-in-progress that appeared and now seem to be getting smaller? I dunno. This stuff is confusing, but hopefully very worth it!

I'm sorry to hear that you're upset about it though. It is heartbreaking to look at your skin and see it in such bad shape. But Retin-A is known to be very effective acne treatment, you just need to give it some time. Good luck!

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I am currently on Acanya in the morning ( which is clindamycin phosphate) and Atralin at night, which is apparently the same as Retin A. It's only been a week so far and I haven't seen any initial purging, but the doctor warned that I could. I am sorry you are going through this. I know how tough it is to go to school like this. But my advice is to stick it out for now. It sounds like you have only been on it a month and supposedly it takes 3-4 months before you see results. I hope that given time, you see a drastic improvement. We all deserve it!

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retin A is not causing your skin to purge and cause pimples in areas where you have never had them before. those pimples were already present in those exact areas, under many layers of skin. whiteheads would've formed eventually over time. what retin A does is that it brings up ALL that gunk ALREADY PRESENT in your skin layers up to the surface.

please please do not stop using this product!

i have been using it for 10 days now and although i havent gotten any side effects such as purging which i have heard about from numerous people using this product, so far i have been having excessive dryness and a bit of redness.

good luck on your journey to clear skin!eusa_pray.gifteehee.gif

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Hi, It's so reassuring to read other people's testimonies. I've had horrible purging and have broken out in areas where I never normally have any problem. Now those areas are almost back to normal and I actually thought, after 9 weeks of treatment that I was clearing up but I got my period and for the last ten days have had some horrible bigger than normal zits, errrrr. It's tough, especially as I have a job where I meet and greet a lot of people and I really need to put on a confident face. Also I work outdoors with horses and I really don't want to wear make up, it just seems to aggravate it more and makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Anyway, hopefully it will all be worth it because my skin hasn't looked this bad for years. Good luck everyone and if you can share ANY tips please do. Thanks

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I'd stick with it if I were you! My skin was at its worst when I began purging with retin-a! My skin was perfect for about 4 months, and all my red marks faded away and it was amazing, but unfortunately my skin for some reason began breaking out the past two weeks and now looks terrible. Just when I think things are going to be okay, my skin has to be stupid and ruin everything again... But have faith in retin-a, it really does work if you put the time in!

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And how long did your initial purge last? And whats your regime? Sorry for so many questions but i really want to understand this whole thing better...

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I've been using the Stieva A brand .025% retin a cream for about 6 months now, and for me I'd say the initial purge lasted maybe a month and a half, I know at some points during that first month were brutal and I cried myself to sleep about 25 out of 30 of those days. I thought my skin was going to be wrecked for life with scarring and that it would never be smooth again, but slowly and surely my skin began to smooth and out and became nicer than it had been before! I had clear skin most of October up til now, which is unfortunate. I'm not entirely sure what broke me out now, but it's also fading away now too and the marks that are left behind now are small and fade away within a few weeks, which is great. I do urge you to stick with it, and if your breakouts are getting too bad, visit your derm and ask for a clindamycin or some form of oral antibiotic, and that really helps with the purging, and you can stop them once your skin gets better.

My regime in the morning is:

Wash face with CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

Then I apply a 2% clindamycin solution mixed with .5% hydrocortisone (I just began this a few days after a visit to my doctor to help clear my break out)

Apply CeraVe Moisturising Cream

At Night:

Wash face with CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

Apply same clindamycin and hydrocortisone cream and then wait 30-45 minutes

Apply retin-a 0.025% cream

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Thanks so much for the advice, I am convinced that Retin A is the right treatment for me. However out of desperation I made the decision of using a small amount of Benzoyl Peroxide the other morning and by the evening my irritated zits had almost totally dried and shrivelled up..... It made me decide to use BP for a few days just to dry the surface zits up and then go back to Retin A every evening and a tiny amount of BP in the morning until I feel truly free .....

So my regime will normally be:

Morning

Roche Posay face wash for sensitive skin

Wait half an hour and small amount of BP

Wait another 15 minutes and Roche Posay moisturiser factor 25

Evening

Roche Posay face wash for sensitive skin

Wait half an hour and small amount of Retin A 0.05

Wait a few minutes and Roche Posay night cream

Just doing three or four days of BP before I go back on Retin A.

Fingers crossed!!

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I started using Retin-A around the same time you did in August. I got terrible initial breakouts, although I wouldn't call them initial breakouts because I never stopped breaking out. I got really deep pimples on my cheeks, where I have NEVER had any acne before. It didn't clear my blackheads or anything. In fact, I believe because it dried my face out, it also made my face oilier. I used really expensive moisturizers every night, so no one can say that I didn't try my hardest at keeping my skin healthy.

I eventually had to go on minocycline, 100mg a day, for about 3 months in accordance with the Retin-A. Well, nothing really improved that much other than the fact that the oral drug helped heal the acne on my cheeks. But there are still dark marks there.

Today I am on accutane, 40mg a day.

I am just writing this to let you know that Retin-A does not work for some, while it can be miracles for others.

If you don't stop breaking out, or you just feel that your skin isn't "right" over 2 months after you have been using it, definitely try something new. There are so many other retinoid creams out there that might be much more suited to your skin.

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Yes, that is a good point to bring up! But on a side note, I also didn't think retin-a would work for the longest time but I kept continuing its usage, and I think the key to it is that it doesn't work all that great alone. Personally, for myself the initial breakout didn't start to fade until I used clindamycin phosphate which worked beautifully with the retin-a. So I wouldn't say give up, just try some things out and eventually you'll find something that works for you! I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience, and I really hope you the best with your Accutane treatment!

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