It was nearing the ending of summer and I was desperate to rid myself of my pimples & blackeads before school started. I came by Retin-A coincidentally from my sister, before then I had never heard of it. And, being an ignorant loaf, decided on the first night to load it on like spot treatment...
That was singularly one of the most horrible skin care decision I ever made. The next day, I litterally woke up to my whole face shedding like crazy! I was also red and irritated like hell. Of course I stopped using it immediately. It took my face 2 days to heal from all the burning, flaking, and irritation it wrought upon my poor face. My pimples were still there, however it did make my face a little brighter, something Dan's BP didn't do.
That's when I decided to smart up and actually read(I don't know what I was thinking before... Geez) about what I put on my face. So yes, it turns out retin-A is amazing an does all these cool things to your skin by pushing out all those dead cells(which causes the flaking) and can be used as an anti-aging cream. But I also read about the horrible purging period, and all the irritation, flakiness, and general depression people went through before their faces got better.
Was I really going to go through all of that torture? But I wanted my face to improve forever, right?? I live in Southern Cali, what if my face burns like crazy???
Well, I absolutely did not want to go through any of that "purging" period at all, I had school and I can honestly say I'd rather not bask in the humiliation it wrought me. But I still wanted to try Retin-A, since I had a lot of hyperpigmentation, which it had proven to lighten, and due to all of its rave reviews.
So the only solution was to go SLOW. Now I know many of the reviewers have used this about 10+ months before anything got better, but I can say that that my skin positively improved with retin-A cream 0.04% within 2 months. I am also on tetracycline(hormones) and spironolactone(oil control), but retin-A had been the defining factor to having almost cleared 99% of my acne and scar/hyperpigmentation.
My hypothesis is that what causes the purging period is how irritated and flaky your skin is, which causes more pimples and horror. It is also because retinoids HIGHLY POTENT, so your skin is definitely not used to it. The trick, I found, is to go slow, and to heavily moisturize. I used to have incredibly oily skin, but I brought that under control with spironolactone. Some of you might have problems with really oily skin if you don't moisturize properly when using this!!
So my regimen to avoiding the purging period was:
1. Wash face(I use some generic liquid lather)
2. Wait 10-20 mins
3. Every other day ONLY AT NIGHT:
2-3 drops jojoba oil
Pea-sized amount of retin-A cream 0.04%
I mix all of those on before putting it on my face gently. In the mornings I use a moisturizer with at least 30 SPF and 1 drop of jojoba oil(too much makes me shiny) before putting on my make up if I'm gojng out. I also moisturize daily with either a heavy moisturizer or jojoba oil or a mixture of the two. Now I've read that retin-A is less effective if not put directly on your dry skin, but take into consideration that this stuff is SUPER STRONG, and you will notice the difference either way! Also always use it at night, because sunlight decays its effectiveness.
I initally thought using this while goin to school everyday would suck, but my skin is flake-free, irritation-free, and brighter than ever! My pores have also gotten subtly smaller, and my blackheads have greatly lessened out. I do get some dry spots and redness when I'm careless with moisturizing/sunblock, but this stuff really, really works. If you find the right way to use it that suits your needs, it WILL improve your acne.
Acne: moderate to sever