Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A) reviews

Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)
3.5/5 - 1380 reviews
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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119 reviews
Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)

Ingredients


Active Ingredients:
Tretinoin (0.01%), Parsol MCX (7.5%) and Parsol 1789 (2%) SPF 15.

Inactive Ingredients:
Butylated hydroxytoluene, carbomer 934, cyclomethicone, diisopropyl adipate, glycerin, imidurea/parabens, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, light mineral oil, phenyl trimethicone, polysorbate 60, purified water USP, sodium hydroxide 10%, sorbitan monosterate, and stearyl alcohol.

The list of ingredients above is provided for informational purposes only. Always check the actual product label in your possession for the most accurate ingredient information due to product changes or upgrades that may not yet be reflected on our web site.

Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)

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Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)

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Good option for maintaining clear skin
Reviewed on March 14, 2015

Using this after accutane and I'm doing wonderful! Its helped a bit with my fine lines (I'm over 30), but not as much as I had hoped or I would give it 5 stars. It does dry you out a bit, so use every other day at first and/or in the winter if needed. So far so good! I've been on this about a year and a half.


My results so far
Reviewed on March 8, 2015

I am a 22 year old female with mild-moderate acne. However, I started using MAC makeup on my face, and it caused a terrible breakout that just wouldn't clear up. So I went to my derm and he prescribed retin A coupled with clindamycin. I have only been using retin A (a generic brand, though) for roughly 4-5 weeks. I know it takes 6+ weeks minimum to work, so I am patiently waiting! It finally seems to be improving and I cannot wait to see results! I was a bit apprehensive to give it a try based on reviews, but I gave it a shot. I wanted to share my routine that seems to help a lot with the dryness/flaking/oil.

I'm the morning: I wash my face with Acne Free face wash, which is pretty mild with only 2.5% BP. I've used this for years and have always had good results. I use witch hazel on a cotton ball as a toner (I LOVE this and it is SO cheap!). In the morning, I use cetaphil oil control lotion (which seems to help a bit with the oil). A bit spendier, but worth it. I try to leave time to wait 10 min before putting on clindamycin because that's what has been recommended. However, being a flight attendant with an insane schedule, I only have time about half of the time to wait... And it's been fine. After that, I do my normal makeup routine.

HINT! The combination of both medications and the dryness make my skin SO oily (and previously I had normal skin) BUT I just use a thin layer of baby powder on a blush/bronzer beush over my makeup and I can go all day with no oil :) and trust me, I have tried the fancy bare minerals/MAC/Clinique cure for oil, and this has been my godsend. And, again, it's SO cheap!

PM routine: wash my face with acne free face wash again. Along with witch hazel as a toner. At night I use a heavier cetaphil lotion for dry skin. It's far too heavy and "oily" for day wear, but it does a lot of repairing at night! non comedogenic, of course. Again, I leave it for 10ish min (or more) and apply the retin A. A SMALL amount! Pea sized is all :)

If I could stress one thing, it would be START SLOW. I did every 3rd day for 2 weeks, every other day for 2 1/2 weeks. I JUST started using it every day. It has helped a lot with the dryness.

I didn't have much of the initial breakout I read about right away, it got a little worse, but nothing major. About the 3rd or 4th week I started breaking out more. But nothing terrible or cystic and they clear up fast. I have been very unhappy with my skin the last couple of weeks, but I can tell things are getting better. There are horror stories, but I can tell it will be worth the wait, and the wait hasn't been that bad. My advice is to take things slow, use everything in moderation, moisturize, and be patient. I will review this in a few weeks with an update. I really just wanted to help those currently struggling with dryness and oil who are going through this process as well. Good luck!


Awesome
Reviewed on February 18, 2015

In my freshman year of high school i started breaking out really bad. I had a whole bunch of white heads and red bumps all over my cheeks it literally covered my cheeks. I finally went to my doctor and he prescribed me Retin-A with clindamycin. This stuff cleared my acne within 2 weeks. I was so happy that it cleared up my face. You only need to use a pea size amount of the Retin-A a little goes a long way. The clindamycin was a lotion which i used in the morning. I used the Retin-A at night. The reason why i give this a four though is because I ran out of this medication and was to lazy to get a refill. I stopped using it for about 2 months and broke out again. I tried going on it again but my skin got immune to it. Now my acne is been the worst its ever been in years Im very depressed and sad at the moment. My acne now covers my cheeks again and my face is scarred and discolored I think its time to go on oral pills. Ive never tried oral pills before I pray to god and i hope they work because i dont know what to do and high school is not fun for me right now.


by keiwilson1 on 02/27/2015 10:28
Hang in there..high school these days can be a nightmare..were you taking the Retin-A cream or gel?
by keiwilson1 on 02/27/2015 13:39
Hang in there..high school these days can be a nightmare..were you taking the Retin-A cream or gel?
by Nikkixyooj on 03/24/2015 04:40
I used the Retin-a cream because the gel willdry out your skin. The cream will make your face dry but not as bad I didnt even need to use a moisturizer my face was fine.
Only positive results!
Reviewed on February 10, 2015

I'm a 20 year old female, with prior terrible hormonal cystic acne. I have only been using retina a (0.05%) for a few weeks. However, prior to starting this medication I also orally took Doxycycline for about a month. I HIGHLY recommend starting this way, in order to avoid a tremendous initial breakout. The Doxycycline was able to kill all of the bacteria on the surface, and beneath my skin, so I never actually had an initial breakout at all! In fact, from the second I started using Retin A I fell in love. Since most of my acne has already cleared up due to the antibiotics, Retin A is mainly my source for fading my very hyper-pigmented acne scars, and preventing future acne flareups. So far, I am very very happy with this product. It is excessively drying, which is a downside for sure, considering I already have moderately dry skin, but with the right skin care routine (I am using Cera Ve Hydrating Cleanser, Cera Ve Moisturizer, and Cetaphil sunscreen spf 50 regardless of the weather) I think the dryness is a minor downside. I cannot wait to see what this does for the remainder of my scars. I have always been very self conscious of my skin, and never been able to be seen without makeup, and slowly, but surely I feel like I can finally have fresh, clear and exposed natural skin!


by GarethBale13 on 02/19/2015 07:19
Hey! I'm on Minocylcline antibiotics right now (not sure what you're on) and was thinking about trying Retin-A. I have slightly dry skin naturally as well and already own Cerave moisturizer. Would you recommend Retin-A and the Cerave cleanser/sunscreen?
by al477 on 02/21/2015 00:46
Yes. I am on the Doxycycline antibiotics, and I am fairly positive they are very similar. I really like pairing the cera ve with the retin a, because its gentle, and while using such harsh chemicals and antibiotics, you don't want to use another cleanser that will dry your skin out and irritate it even more. I have not used the cera ve sunscreen, but from my experience with the products I would assume it would be effective. Just using sunscreen is a very important step to do every day because antibiotics and retin a will make your skin very light sensitive and you don't want to ruin all your hard work by getting a sunburn on top of it!
Helps my oily skin, but not my acne
Reviewed on February 6, 2015

I have treatment resistant moderate acne. Very little prevents new acne on my face from forming, and this is no different.

However, this is a fairly drying product, and i use it every night because it seems to reduce the amount of oil on my skin. I think this drying helps my existing pimples go down faster.

Note: Its effectiveness is reduced with exposure to benzoyl peroxide or direct light (sun or flourscent), which is why you will probably be instructed to apply it at night. It's a shame - I would LOVE to apply it in the morning - my face would be so much less greasy during the day!

Overall, I recommend it, though I wouldn't expect anyone with moderate/severe acne to see significant clearance from it.


Not Worth It
Reviewed on January 13, 2015

Tretinoin was prescribed to me after clindamycin which did absolutely nothing. Started with tretinoin .025% and then bumped up to .1% and still nothing. I think its not worth it


by BadgalG on 01/22/2015 04:45
My dorm perscribed clindamycin gel for the morning and tretinoin for night and it worked perfectly for me! your should try them together.
Dangerous and life changing!
Reviewed on January 11, 2015

Ok, I've been a follower of Acne.org since my acne got really bad, and I decided to make an account just to review Retin A, which has been devastating to me face. First, a little background.

I'm a 27 year old Mexican male. When I started college I broke out really bad with cystic acne but got it quickly under control with minocycline and occasional facials from my dermatologist. Once the acne was under control, I washed with Cetaphyl, applied clindamycin foam (I got free little samples from my derm), and moisturized with Eucerin's SPF moisturizer. I got a facial from my derm about once a semester. My skin was perfect and after a little while, my complexion was even. This lasted for about three years. At some point I stopped using the clindamycin foam and solely did the Cetaphyl/Eucerin moisturizer combo, along with a facial twice a year, and my face was fine. I was also partying a lot, staying up late, and eating more or less unhealthily, but not acne!

Eventually I moved abroad, was faced with very little money, and decided to try honey as a face wash. Same thing: clear face, in fact, it felt even better. It was bright. I was still getting facials twice a year and this seemed most crucial. This lasted two years (and between two countries) and then I got my last facial and moved abroad, to another country, again. I was using honey as a face wash still. At some point at the 9 month mark I started to break out around my mouth. Summer was coming and I hadn't gotten my typical facial in march because I hadn't returned to my derm in the states. I moved countries again and started taking Minocycline, since I remembered how it worked. It cleared me up fairly quickly and I stayed on it for a whole 9 months in fear of breaking out. Once those same summer months came around again, I started breaking out in the same areas. I also let go of the Mino because I felt that it wasn't working, maybe I had developed a resistance, and I had started to read horrible stories about liver damage, etc... I started trying treatments like the Oil Cleansing Method, homemade zinc-mint facemasks, etc, but maybe it was to hot where I was living (no AC) and I kept breaking out around my mouth. Since I'm brown, I had pretty noticeable PIH.

For the summer, I moved countries again (where the derms were cheap) and decided to see someone about my face. She prescribed a really rough soap that I immediately abandoned, Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner, which I also abandoned pretty quickly, a Clindamycin/Benzoyl Peroxide cream (like Duac) and Retin A. She claimed that my face was producing too much oil—and I wonder if it had to do with the oil cleansing? I was to use the Clindamycin/BP one day and Retin A the other.

I was pretty excited to use Retin A. I had only heard good things and hadn't read the reviews here. I thought, "Acne free and younger looking? Great!" I was prescribed .25% in gel and I started using it at night. My face immediately reacted and I started to feel red, tight, and irritated. My pimples would pop in disgusting ways and I noticed that I was starting to develop more on my face. I read about purging and thought I would keep with the procedure but I wish I would have abandoned the product instantly. Around month 2 my face started to develop cysts. I also got a bad sunburn because I was at the beach (even though I slathered on sunblock continuously) and at around month 4, while I was still breaking out, I had the stupid idea to switch to a .1% Retin A cream. I was living in another country again, this time where medicine was cheap and available without prescription. I had read somewhere on this forum that the 1% works faster, and that any purging would happen more quickly. I was also reading that it would take even up to 6 months for all purging to subside. Well, I went through months 5 and 6 with the worst acne of my life. I have never had some many cysts and pus filled pimples ever. I was using honey as a wash and doing everything to calm my face down. It was horrible and many of my friends, upon looking at me return from the summer, would do double takes. Some of the closer ones asked me what was wrong, what I was doing different, and my self-confidence drastically diminished. In fact, it vanished. I stopped going out. I stayed in all the time and made excuses.

Once the 6th month came around, I finally let go of using Retin A but this was too late. My cheeks have PIH almost everywhere. Once I stopped using Retin A, I kept up with the BP, and while my face drastically calmed down, I was still irritated and breaking out, though they weren't heavy cysts. I continued researching and began a very healthy diet. I had actually been eating healthy and exercising for quite a while, 3 years or so, ever since I finished college. I was practicing yoga 3 times a week, running, eating mainly salads, quinoa, fish, and slowly trying to get my life back. I took a probiotic supplement, milk thistle, dandelion root, and tried to get my liver back in order from a whole year of Minocycline. I was thinking that that was the culprit. I started taking 15000 grams of Vitamin A a day too. While I was traveling, I found some argan oil and introduced it to my regimen. At this point I was washing my face with Sebamed Antibacterial Cleansing Foam and applying a few drops of argan oil and then a squirt or two of Cetaphyl Dermacontrol SPF 30 moisturizer during the day and washing with Sebamed and applying the Clindamycin/BP cream at night. I was still breaking out but not as much, and it looked like their were still residual clogged pores from the Retin A that were surfacing.

This December I moved countries again and decided to let go of the Clindamycin/BP cream because I decided it was irritating me. Well, I bought a glycolic acid 30% peel, as well as Tepezcohuite serum, and for the past three weeks I've given myself a peel weekly, which is drastically helping with my PIH. I was washing with Cetaphyl cleanser again, applying the Tepezcohuite serum, and finishing off with some argan oil drops. During the day, I'd add the same Cetaphyl sunblock I've been using the the past 6 months so I can avoid darkening my spots.

I just moved countries again and I found a really good natural product for washing my face that's called Aloevida facial champú. It's made of 70% aloe vera, and I've now switched out my Cetaphyl cleanser for this. This same brand also has an SPF cream that's 60& aloe vera and I've switched out the Cetaphyl moisturizer for this too.

Currently, I apply an organic honey mask to my face in the mornings for 30 minutes, then shower and apply the Tepezcohuite serum and argan oil, following up with the aloe spf. In the evenings I wash with the aloe facial champú and apply the Tepez serum and a little more argan oil than the mornings, since I don't apply the aloe spf. My face is starting to clear up and while the glyoclic acid peels have brought some white heads to surface, I'm only breaking out maybe once a week in comparison to the horror of Retin A.

I really recommend that only people who are very desperate and who have sever acne, try it. Before I started Retin A, I was breaking out as often as I do now. But because of my idiocy and misplaced desperation (once on Retin A I finally KNEW what desperation is), my face is completely changed. I have a few scars but thankfully I mostly have PIH, some of which is is close to purple/black. Now I'm just waiting things out. I'm going to finish 6 treatments and then break for a month. My goal is to hopefully let go of the Tepezcohuite serum. While it's nice, it has a lot of ingredients (good ones nonetheless), and I'm trying to have as minimal a regimen as possible.


3 months of terrible break-outs
Reviewed on January 7, 2015

I've been on .05% Retin-A for 3 months now... 3 months of consisten break outs! Just when I think it is getting better, BAM! acne all over my face again. My acne is hormonal and even though I'm on birth control pills, nothing is working. About a month ago my derm suggested using 10% benzoyl peroxide on the opposite time of day I use Rein-A; the acne goes away quicker but 3 more show up where one dissappeared. I'm waiting for my .1% to get in so I can use that for a month or so, but if that doesn't work I'm just going to use Accutane.

Has anyone else had Tretinoin take this long to work? I am a pretty healthy person, drink lots of water, wash my face twice a day every day and try not to touch my face as much as possible.


by Jimbo913 on 01/10/2015 23:39
My skin was getting too sore so I started applying jojoba oil after the retin a is absorbed. It is very good for acne prone skin and I never dreamed of using oil on my face since I have oily skin but this product is so close to human sebum it fools the skin to reduce oil production. I also take biotin, fish oil, vitamen A, zinc, and eat as low glycemic as possible and acne is improving. Oh I also reduced dairy 90% and increased water as high as possible 40-60oz day
some helpful hints. ROUGH start, insufficient alone, but SO WORTH IT in the end.
Reviewed on January 3, 2015

After thousands of dollars, derms, and years, FINALLY found a routine that works for me, and tretinoin is a necessary part. 7 mos ago I started using tretinoin 1%. My mom had used it and I knew how rough the start was - peeling, dry, sensitive, red- but was desperate, willing to stick through a few really bad months b/c I already feel terrible about my appearance so what's a few months feeling a little worse- I'll give it a last ditch, full on effort. Well, it was a REALLY rough few months, but I achieved my goal. Here's what worked for me.

First, tretinoin. I jumped right in w/ the 1% (the strongest Rx, I think). IMPORTANT TIPS FOR STARTING T! - for the first while you'll want to use the gentlest cleanser possible - for me, PUPROSE. OTC, cheap, my derm recommended. She also told me to start using a cleanser with salicylic and glycolic acids in the AM when possible (but don't rush it). PAT skin dry, not rub, as it will be super sensitive soon. When using T(or any retinol product) know benzoyl peroxide and retinols counteract each other-don't use them at the same time of day. Also, give your face plenty of time to dry after washing and before applying T, because water increases the penetration of the T. Accoridngly a good moisturizer before T is critical- give it time to soak in esp in the beginning b/c T is so drying. Derm recommended CeraVe PM (OTC, $10). Use lotion liberally and T sparingly!

Effect of T: first week, dry, no real change in acne. 3rd/4th, started getting much more acne, and very dry skin - I had to carry lotion to apply during the day. It was embarrassing - certain spots would get flaky during the day despite looking OK in the AM. Occasionally I would take a day or 2 off from T for this, especially if I had an important day coming up. Use a pea size amount for the whole face - dab in quadrants, then rub in. Best to do this at night so you can get some of the dead skin off in the AM before work. For daytime lotion, my derm recommended Cetaphil for oily skin (even though my face was now dry). I put some in a little travel tube and carried it in my pocket. Sometimes used hydrocortisone. It was really rough until about the 12th week. Then I started noticing gradual but real improvement in the acne (dryness started improving around week 8). I would still get some acne occasionally but much less frequently and went away faster. Small tube was expensive - $50 or $70 - but I still have more than 1/2 the tube left after 7 mos. It takes only the tiniest amount. Also- derm is NOT KIDDING about sun. I went from being able to be outside in a Louisiana summer all day without getting burned (maybe a bit pinkish) to getting sunburned literally in 2 hours from 10-12 am, sitting in half-shade under a tree on a day I skipped the sunscreen/lotion. Don't skip the sunscreen, or you'll be in pain AND throw your whole routine off for several days!

During this time I was also taking spironolactone. Started with 50mg/day in AM, then progressively upped to 100mg in am and 100mg in PM. W/ this, I noticed decreased oiliness in my hair and skin. I posted a review of my experience w/ spiro on that page... but in short, 1) do get your potassium levels checked as recommended by dr., esp if you're taking high doses and 2) it works wonders (at least for me) for monthly flare ups if I increase my dose the 3 days before and 4 days after my period starts 3) nice unexpected side effect, I wash my hair only once a week now, instead of e/o day- it's not oily, but not dry! Perfect.

Even w the T and spiro (and BC, and morning/pm lotions/cleansers) I was still getting periodic cysts (small whitehead every 1-2 wks, a large one 1x/mo). I'd tried minacycline before (bactrim upset my stomach too badly) and the M helped, I always took full rx, but acne came back shortly after stopping. So I took an extra long course of M - 6 or 7 weeks. Finally total success. I have not had any acne for the past 2.5 months, even though I have been traveling and not great at keeping up my normal routine. NOTE: don't forget that antibiotics mess w/ intestinal bacteria! Take probiotics or eat yogurt w/ live cultures, etc. I neglected this twice and paid the price after meals including lots of veggies/fiber. Seriously important.

So... for the past 2.5 months ZERO ACNE! Also overall much nicer complexion! Still have scars fading slowly , but my face doesn't get shiny in the middle of the day; neither is it too dry. Pores are much smaller (still a little visible on nose, but no blackheads. I can live with that!). SUCCESS.

I still try to be vigilant. It was too long a road to backslide now, especially given how terrible the first few months were w/ acne and dryness.

here is my current routine:

AM:

1. wash face with skinceuticals LHA cleansing gel for oily / problematic skin (recommened by derm, OTC but I can't find in stores, have to order online. Expensive but worth it - derm stressed importance of LHAs / glycolic acids to help get rid of scars more quickly).

2. pat dry (new towel e/o day)

3. Apply a cream with benzyl peroxide, preferably also w LHA. My derm recommended Effaclar Duo - 5.5% BP, 0.4% microexfoliating LHA. OTC, 15-20$. HOWEVER also at one point to try to get rid of the last of the acne I switched this out for Rx erythromyzin / BP cream. This was effective and non-drying but expensive and HAS to be refrigerated. I'm back to the Effaclar duo which is sufficient.

4. Cetaphil SPF 30 lotion for oily skin; especially generous on drier areas. Give time to absorb *once I switched this out on my own for CeraVe am, but for some reason this did not mix well w/ the rest of my routine - flaky in day even if skin did not feel dry. Cetaphil is cheaper anyway, and derm recommended

5. Makeup - bare minerals, wash brushes at least 2x/month; use q-tips should any problematic areas occur - no double-dipping a potentially acne-bacteria-laden brush into concealer! Fortunately not a recent prob.

6. 100 mg of Spiro. Off to work. Stay well hydrated. Try not to touch face.

Plan: Should cyst start to occur, immediately start mina. also, for 1 week. take w food but no dairy.

PM:

1. Wash face (gently) with PURPOSE cleansing gel (OTC, very gentle, $5-10, can find at any CVS).

* once every 2 weeks, I now use clarisonic sensitive head, and SKIP the T

3. Liberally apply CeraVe PM. Wait 10-15 mins

4. Thinnest possible layer of T

5. Switch pillow case frequently; wrap hair in satin hair scarf to prevent transfer of oil / product (my fave: littleblackscarf). Heard silk/satin pillow cases also idea (absorb less oil) but I don't use.

6. Take BC, also take spiro if 3 days +/- mense.

This is prob the longest review ever on this site, but hopefully some of this info will be helpful to someone - adult acne can seem hopeless, and first months of T can be the PITS - and T may not be sufficient alone- but once you get to the other side, it's so worth it. Best of luck, everyone!


different experience than most
Reviewed on January 3, 2015

Ok, so I have combination skin, but mostly oily. My backstory: I got on birth control and it started to clear up, other than the few days before my period, id start to break out a little, but that was it.. then randomly my BC stopped working and my skin turned...... absolutely horrible. I had two large cysts on my face (they were super painful and about the size of a large pea under my skin) and i had dozens of blemishes, where i would usually have like one or two before. I was getting super worried bc i don't want scars! and nothing was working! I was pretty reliant on just washing my face with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. And that was all good until my BC stopped, then nothing worked at all. I went to the doctor and got prescribed Retin-A. I started my treatment December 15th. I was suuuper worried because i read all of the reviews of "its going to get a LOT worse before it gets better! just hang in there!" and i was freaking out bc i thought "it's already bad enough, i dont want to go thru more, even WORSE stuff." but i tried retin-a anyway.... with little expectations..... and here's the weird part. My skin is almost completely clear. after like 3 weeks of using it... ? I guess I'm still waiting for the 'awful' phase but like ??? my skin was getting progressively better within a week. I asked a friend who uses it too and asked how long they were using it until the "purge" phase came around and they said like 4 days. So im confused, but i guess this is good ??? Idk. I use it every night . I do a light layer on all my face then dab it on thicker on my trouble areas. It dries my skin out pretty bad ( warning to everyone who uses liquid foundation - moisturize before you put on your foundation or your skin will look like its peeling after you put your foundation on.) but yeah, i still have hyper-pigmentation, but thats no big deal to me bc 1) its better than not having acne 2) i use foundation anyway when i go out 3) my boyfriend understands my skin issues and he's super sweet. i just didn't like having painful acne. so yeah. i read something that said "don't trust anyone who says their acne got better in 2 weeks... they're lying.." but mine basically did. I'm still using it religiously, (every single night after i shower) and my skin just looks healthier. i don't know if this will help anyone but i wanted to share my experience, bc almost everything i read before i started using it said "it's gonna get so much worse before it gets better!!" and that wasn't the case for me. PS- im a 17 year old girl. thanks! (also: email me if you want to see my skin before and after - cailin.dk@g mai l,c om ( wouldnt let me put actual link )


by Jimbo913 on 01/10/2015 23:53
Try jojoba oil, it works great as moisturizer along with retin a. It is so close to human sebum it fools glands into reducing production. Buy cold pressed organic. I use Leven Rose brand and very happy.