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I've only done one round of Retin A. Fortunately I did it when the only thing I had to do was stay home and hide for a week and a half. Yes, you will peel like you have never peeled before. If you're someone who doesn't have the luxury of getting to stay home and hide, I would recommend something else. BUT, I have also found that If i put a tiny bit in with my nightly moisturizer it works pretty well in maintaining clear skin once the "uglies" are over. If you really want clear skin, just bite the bullet for a week or two, and make sure you DON'T OVERDO IT. It's worth it in the end.
I'm writing this review because reading reviews of retin-a, the side effects and the trials and tribulations helped me stick at it & get where I am today.
Retin-a does work but yes, as everyone else says, it takes a serious commitment. I have been using it for just over 4 months and I am finally starting to see the results I want.
My face was a state when I first started using it. I actually had folliculitus on my forehead and medium acne around my chin, but it just never got better. Everytime a spot started to go away, another one would come up. I decided to buy retin-a (off prescription and online - obviously I don't recommend this - you should probably see a dermatologist!) after reading about how it could help.
For the first 8-10 weeks of using retin-a my face was pretty much a mess. Spots everywhere - skin erupting where it wouldn't usually erupt (cheeks), dryness, flakiness, redness, sensitivity etc etc. It was bad and I felt very self-conscious a lot of the time.
Where as my face was relatively oily before, it was now super dry, so I had to go out and by all new skincare, makeup products. I used cerave moisturisers, and around week 4 ish I came up with a system to keep the crazy peeling at bay.
Step 1: Wash face (using oil to remove makeup, then tea tree soap)
Step 2: Apply rich moisturiser all over (I used a caudalie one)
Step 3: After 20 minutes apply retin-a
Step 4: After another 20 minutes apply cerave night moisturiser
I did this for up until about week 12, which was when my skin finally to recover from the crazy dryness and I started to see the results I wanted.
At this point I had A LOT of hyperpigmentation - all the scars from my breakouts over the last 3 months were so red, I also have pockmarks from some of the really bad spots, but not many. And now retin-a is taking care of both of those.
Now my regimen is:
Step 1: Wash face with an oil - either jojoba or hemp right now (I haven't yet found any other cleanser that works for my skin)
Step 2: Let dry and apply moisturiser to only parts of skin that are very dry (not very many - usually around lips)
Step 3: Apply retin-a after 20 mins
In the morning, I wash face with water usually and then every other day I am using a 5% glycolic acid treatment to help with skin renewal and removal of dead skin cells.
Yes my skin is still dry and I do still get spots - because it is hormonal - but overall I am very happy with the results. The scars are fading, my pores are clearer and my skin is smooth. It has also helped a bit with fine lines.
I will continue using it, and I would encourage others, unless they have an allergic reaction to it, to stay the course for 12 weeks or longer to actually see any real improvement.
Hope that's helpful!
For context: I'm 17 and have had moderate acne since I was 13. I tried everything OTC and nothing really worked. Last year, I went to a dermatologist and tried several different combinations (Epiduo + Doxycycline, Acanya + Doxycycline, etc) and finally, Acanya and Tretin-X (0.0375% tretinoin). That combination worked and I was the most clear I'd ever been since I started getting acne. My dermatologist then suggested I move to a stronger tretinoin (Retin-A Micro in 0.08% formulation) and that worked just as well, but also helped with my oiliness. I had a lapse in treatment (Tretin-X was discontinued, I couldn't find Retin-A Micro in that formulation, and I had no time to really follow my routine), but even some application overnight worked. I'm restarting with Aczone and Retin-A, but the lesson is: It takes time, but it will work.
When used correctly, tretinoin is a miracle beauty cure sent from the gods. With anti-aging benefits and powerful acne treatment properties, both tretinoin products I've used pack a one-two punch. I had success with Atralin as well as Retin-A Micro, you can read my full review at my blog Creation Despite.
I am 15 and have quite a bit of acne on my face, so after a year or so of doing Proactiv (which amazing affects wore of after a few months), I decided to ask my doctor for solutions and she gave me Retin-A (0.05%) and Minocycline. I found that the Retin-A wasn't really working at first and having naturally oily skin, didn't have the dry skin I heard talk about, so my doctor bumped up my percentage to 0.1%, which almost immediately gave me dry, flaky skin, which I know is supposed be a part of the process, but I didn't find any changes in my acne, the old was still there, the new still coming in, so I went back to my and got something called Differin XP, which is another topical cream (0.3%) which gave me the same side effects and results as Retin-A, so I have recently stop using it and switched back to Proactiv which seems to be working again for me. I feel this product can work if you can live with the side effect of constant dryness and peeling, since I would normally stop applying it for a week because my face would become so dry, sensitive and red, even with constant mosturizing. Also at the beginning my acne will flared up, but a few weeks later it started to go down a bit.
It IS drying my skin out and it IS doing exactly as advertised! This is how you clear up scars and already-formed zits. The drying is only a sign of your skin rejuvenating and healing, so to anyone complaining about this effect--don't. I can't speak for everyone, but I don't have severe acne, so take this with a grain of salt. This may not be for everyone. IF you want your scars to fade, and if you want fresh new skin, this is a great product. If you have scars or pimples that have formed and are in remission, use this cream very sparingly (about a pea-sized amount over your entire face), and yes, you will flake the next day and day after, but the simple solution is to use a scrub after letting your face soak in some kind of foaming face wash (salycilic acid for it's anti-bacterial effect--why not?), and then scrub it off. Your skin is making new, healthy skin. This flaking side effect is completely normal. I use it once every second night.
An additional effect I enjoy from this is it gives my skin a nice, healthy glow, probably due to the formation of new fresh skin. It's a good product and much better for you than eating Tretinion (accutane) pills. Just scrub the dead skin off (lightly) and you should be fine.
I just started a new skin regimen after my visit to my dermatologist this past friday. She prescribed me 1% Retin A for the night, along with clindmycin gel. I also just started to take doxycyclin pills as well. However she has me wash my face with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide wash every morning. Has anyone else had this routine and seen results? Or any advice for the retin A and the dryness?
Hi I'm 15 years old and I'm a female. I have been using this cream for a little over 2 weeks. Before using this product , I break out in the typical t-zone ( cheeks , chin , and forehead). I have mild acne but still noticeable. I'm very insecure about it. But I been flaking up with this product and it almost seems like I'm breaking out more then I did before this product. I'm also very red. I know have to be patient. But when should I see results ? Are my experiences so far normal ? I just would like to know because so far with this product , I'm discouraged.
When my doc first prescribed tretinoin, I did my due diligence and researched on the Internet. I got terrified 'the purge' would happen to me, as I had a bad experience with clindamycin in high school and I broke out pretty badly. I put off using T for weeks. But my boyfriend said to me one day, "You'll never know if you don't try it out - why would else this treatment be so popular if it didn't work?"
Here's some background: I am a 23 y/o Asian female with moderate acne since middle school, mostly painful and swollen papules/pustules that come up around my menstrual cycle. I'd have 2-3 big pimples on my face at a given time (mostly around my T zone), and some other random zits would pop up here and there. But the worst were the red marks that got left behind - I'd pop my zits (bad habit, I know) and then the marks would just not go away! My skin is naturally pretty oily, with some dry patches here and there bc of my eczema, but my complexion was always reddish and when I drank alcohol I'd always get Asian glow and my face would look splotchy. I had bad hyperpigmentation and the only way to improve my complexion was to first stop the acne. I was sick of having to rely on makeup and foundation daily to hide the zits, it was especially hard because I love to exercise and hated working out because I had to remove my makeup.
When I started T, I started VERY slowly. I used it twice a week for 3 weeks. The first three weeks my face flaked a bit, especially around the chin/mouth area. But I'd exfoliate every now and then and it'd take care of the flakiness. It never got to the point where I had patchy or broken skin, I found that moisturizing multiple times a day helped to control the dryness. I didn't experience a purge. The worst it ever got with the T was a few small whiteheads around my chin/mouth. But since T speeds up the rate of skin cell production, the zits went away and faded pretty quickly - a trend that would happen in the months to come, which was awesome. I didn't experience any 'purge' at any point in time. My skin started getting better, and by week 5-6 you could start to see some results. I stopped getting those painful hormonal zits that I usually get a few times a month, and it felt great. I was also taking minocycline for the first month I was on T, but I stopped after a while as I didn't think it was really making any impact.
After 3 weeks of 2x/week, I upped the T to 3x/week for another 3 weeks. Then I upped to 4x/week for 3 weeks. Now I'm at 4-5x a week, and my skin has adjusted pretty well. I'm 13 weeks in now. There's no flaking at all now and my complexion has improved so much. I stopped getting painful, swollen zits. I have virtually no acne anymore. At times there's a small whitehead or two, but those almost always fade after 2-3 days. My hyperpigmentation has improved as well, though that takes a bit longer to see big improvements for complexion. I've also started buffering now, as I'm getting a little lazy with having to wait every time I use T, so I'll mix moisturizer and T together and apply right after I wash. The other day, I went to work without using foundation! That was definitely a first for me, and it felt great.
I highly recommend using this product for acne, but you MUST be diligent about using it the correct way. I always see people say things like "I started T 2 weeks ago and I have been using it 3x week, my skin broke out!" Well, of course it would break out - you're not using it correctly. The key is to start slowly to make sure your skin adjusts, and to use it in a regimented scheduled way, making sure to wait at least 25 min between applications of T and moisturizer.
Here's my skin regimen, if that's of interest:
Cerave or Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Creamy Cleanser
Moisturize with CeraVe Lotion
Nights with T:
Cerave or Neutrogena Cleanser
---Wait at least 25min
pea-sized amount of T
---Wait at least 25min but I like it give it up to an hour if I have time
Cerave Lotion and 3 drops jojoba oil (I use Now Foods Organic Jojoba Oil, it's actually great for oily skin. I would highly recommend this product to hydrate skin, it makes your complexion incredibly supple the morning after)
Panoxyl 4% benzoyl peroxide face wash, on days I do not use T (bp and T counteract each other so do not use on days you use T)
Philosophy Microdelivery Vitamin C Peel: for hyperpigmentation, this stuff is expensive but does wonders. I would only recommend this after your skin has adjusted to T (at least 3 months into treatment). I only use this every 1-2 weeks or so.
im 16 i've been on this treatment for 2 year but I stopped using this after two day because I got a rash on my face it was red and it hurt really bad. DON'T GET RETIN-A!!!!!!