Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A) reviews

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Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)
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Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retisol-A)


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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Side Effects massive and no clearing
Reviewed on April 2, 2017

Hi everyone!

I am writing on behalf of my 16 year old daughter who would never in a million years write a review herself! But I have to say that this product has been the bane of my existence for the last year+. But I have a very head strong daughter who somehow has it in her head that she should keep using it.

The background is that like most teens, around 13, my beautiful fair skinned (blue eyes, blond hair) daughter started breaking out. We immediately started trying everything, first Proactive for a while but there was literally no change at all with that stuff. After about 2 months on Proactive, she stopped altogether and just started using bar soap. One day she asked me to go to the dermatologist - I think she had been talking to someone at school about it. So we went and they prescribed Retin A. I was 100% against a prescription of any type but I was better with a topical prescription than an oral antibiotic. she started with Tretinoin 0.025%. Again, there was no visible change in her acne but there was a visible change in her face. Her pores all over her face got much larger, so that I could see them from 5+ feet away and I started noticing scarring which, as a mom, I absolutely hate to see.

Around that same time, my younger daughter, who was now 13, began to get acne as well but had heard of another product at her school called Ninja Skincare. As kids do, she wanted to do what her friends were doing so we bought it. It was very affordable and had incredible customer service so I was pretty impressed. Her acne went away in a heartbeat. Literally within a month it was entirely gone. Obviously, I was pressing my older daughter to try it too but she wasn’t having it. She blindly believed that the doctors should know the best and wanted to go the route of the dermatologist.

Sorry - long story short, we continued with Retin-A because that is what the dr told her to do. But the doctor didn’t tell us about the side effects even after we asked about the pores and the scarring. I should have done more of my homework. The breaking point was when we went on a family trip to Mexico over Thanksgiving and even with sunscreen, her face turned BEET red to the point where strangers on the beach came up to me and pointed it out and suggested I get her out of the sun. I had no idea what was happening. We went home and iced her face, put aloe vera on it and her face remained burnt for over a week, sensitive to the touch. I felt so bad for her. Needless to say, the beach trip was completely ruined for her which sucked but at least she finally agreed that Retin-A was a bad choice for her.

Now after about 4 months on Ninja, she is entirely clear and her scars from that period are starting to face with the help of Salicylic acid every day. I have read all of the reviews here and am happy that some people got relief from this product but I honestly don’t understand why it worked for some people without these horrific side effects while for others it doesn’t? I guess everyone has their own sky types. I am just glad we are finished with the prescriptions and dermatologists!

by LauraLeesa on 04/19/2017 21:42
Hi has your daughter experienced any improvement or found remedies for your skin texture and pores? I endured the same exact unfortunate experience with retin-a. It's tough to watch skin transform for the worse when we were only trying to be pro-active and make positive changes.
Don't use it if your acne is mild!
Reviewed on March 31, 2017

My dermatologist put me on Retin A for keritosis pilaris on my face and it wasn't too bad before. I had around 3 - 5 little bumps on my face that came and sometimes I even had none. Well I wanted to fix the bumps anyways so my dermatologist put me on Retin A. This broke me out so bad, but I kept using it because I was told it would get worse before it got better. Well, then my skin started peeling and it was red and inflamed and painful. And now my face is covered in the little bumps and cystic acne - and I NEVER had acne before using this medication! It looks terrifying - my face has never been this bad before! There's little to no smooth surface on my face, it's just tiny little bumps and giant red cystic pimples all over my face. I've been using it for almost 4 months now and I don't see it getting any better from here. I would rather deal with what I had before.

6 weeks in
Reviewed on March 16, 2017

Hello All! I posted a few weeks ago and now I am updatng you with my results. I have been on tretinoin .025% for 6 weeks now. My skin is honestly about 80% cleared. I had acne on my forehead, both cheeks, and neck area. My forehead is clear, my neck is clear, and my left cheek is completely clear. I have 3 pimples on my right cheek that came up after I used sunscreen for a couple days as I was out in the sun. I shaved with a single blade razor yesterday and relaized my face is super soft and very smooth. I think tretinoin is a miracle cure for me. I had a bad initial breakout. The initial breakout started in week 2 and continued all the way through week 5. I am over the intitial breakup and I think my face has come a long way. My advice is to stick with it! ALl good things take time and if there was some way to get rid of acne in 2 weeks then I wouldn;t trust it. This stuff really works. My acne is mainly gone, but I do have some darker spots. I never had acne scars that were indented or anything, but I had the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I am hoping that this will go away by week 8. I'm used to waking up every morning and having at least 2 or 3 new piples everyday, I litrally have not had a pimple on my forehead, left cheek, or neck in over a week. Once my right cheek clears up I think I will be totally clear and my confidence is already starting to come back. Give it time! My face got much worse looking for a span of 2-3 weeks but trust me it will be worth it. I am 6 weeks in and I can't wait to see what I look like after 10 weeks.

Tretinoin/ Retin-a Review
Reviewed on March 5, 2017

So I have been struggling with mild acne since I was a sophomore in high school (I am now a senior about to graduate in a few months) and have had it pretty under control with the occasional break out. I had been using proactiv for about a year now and have only seen very mild improvement. In November 2016 I had a bad break out and finally decided to go to the dermatologist. I wasn't able to get an appointment anytime soon so I went to my family doctor to see if he could schedule me an appointment which he did for late December. In the mean time he prescribed me Retin-a gel .01% and doxycycline pills to take once a day. Before taking these drugs I read reviews online and saw YouTube videos about the results and they looked pretty good so I decided to try it out. A lot of these reviews have talked about an initial breakout or "purging stage" when using tretinoin or retin-a but I had no idea how bad t would be for me. My face went from having a few pimples to my entire face being covered in acne for about a month and a half to two months. I'm late December I finally saw the dermatologist and she told me to use less of the retin-a (I was only supposed to use a pea sized amount but wasn't, hoping to see faster results... bad idea.) She also bumped my retin-a to a .025% cream and prescribed me clindamyacin phosphate at 2%. I have been using these products for about two months now and have definitely seen my face clear up. I now longer have any active acne, only the occasional pimple which I get about once every week and a half to ever two weeks which is a lot better than what I would get while using proactiv as I would get a new pimple every other day or so. I have stopped using the doxycycline now and only have scarring left from my purging stage. My dermatologist has now recommended me to use a dermaroller at 1.0mm to help with the scarring. I hope to be free from acne by the time of my graduation in 2 months. Retin-a has completely changed my face for the better as I am now acne free :)))

Good Product, Bad Regimen
Reviewed on February 20, 2017

I used Retin-A quite some time ago but never got past my first tube. It's compleatly to be expected to have some irritation and flaky skin and well as nasty breakouts for the first few weeks to a few months when trying a strong prescription acne drug such as Retin-A. However, it may be a little less normal to start using it and than days later being in enough pain that you start crying in class beacause your face hurts and having to go home. Okay, so I may be a little bit of a wimp but it was way worse than the 'minor irritation' my dermatologist had described. Imagine the warm stinging feeling you get putting on moisturizer after exfoliating or after a blackhead mask. Now imagine that but four to seven times worse and for hours. It sucked. Overall though I think my dermatologist jumped the gun by having me use a very high dose of Retin-A as my first hardcore acne treatment without having ever seen my reactions to different products before.

Retin-A works very well for some people and not so well for others. I think that is most people start at a low dose and work their way up to using it every day or every other day they will probably have positive results. Just keep one thing in mind: just beacause you have bad acne or similar oily skin doesn't mean you should be tough back to your face. All skin-types can be sensitive so treat yours carefully and be cautious with acne mess like Retin-A.

Works when combined with the right medication
Reviewed on February 3, 2017

I have used Retin-A cream for roughly two years now and it has really helped with the scarring on my face from previous break-outs. When I first began using the cream, my face broke out so tremendously for two reasons: the first is that Retin-A is designed to bring out all the clogged acne under your skin, this could take months, and I also stopped tanning at the same time, so I didn't have the UV exposure killing the bacteria on my face anymore.

My doctor told me that acne is primarily caused by only two factors: hormones and genetics, and unfortunately topical treatments by themselves will rarely give you flawless skin. Benzoyl washes help kill bacteria ON the face, but for most people like me, the real problem lies beneath the skin! After about a year of Retin-A use, I finally paired it with doxycycline and it was honestly a miracle for me!

Retin-A is really a pain as far as drying out skin, but believe me when I say the good definitely outweighs the bad. I worked my way up to 0.1% but use what works for you since I have combination/oily skin. It's worth a try!

Oh Goody... Raw Skin!
Reviewed on January 20, 2017

First I'd like to say that I have been struggling with acne and acne scars for about 8 years now; I am an avid makeup wearer because nothing seems to work for my skin, and makeup gives me the self-confidence I lack. I would also like to say that this is not my first Retin-A rodeo. I was first introduced to it when I was about 16 by my dermatologist, who also prescribed that I take Doxycycline, use Clindamycin pads, and apply Benzoyl Peroxide to my face daily. This cocktail of prescriptions worked very well for me if I recall correctly, I think I just had to stop using them because my family couldn't afford it. (Having clear skin is so expensive *sigh*) Fast forward 3 years later and my mom takes me to the dermatologist as a Christmas present, and he suggested that I use, you guessed it, Retin-A once again. Whoopee. Alongside a prescription for Minocycline, and Clindamycin (in the lotion form this time). Yesterday night I started putting this concoction on my face and today I woke up with a face full of pimples and flaking skin. What a great life I lead. My dermatologist wanted me to apply it two times every day, so today I woke up, washed my face and slathered that sh*t right on. I put on my makeup and went about my day. When I came home, I saw that my face had peeled through my makeup (It doesn't get any sexier than this folks). I totally forgot that my skin is crazy sensitive and quite frail right now and so when I pulled out my Spin for Perfect Skin Spin Brush and tried to exfoliate the peeling skin away, I instead ended up removing a large portion of skin from the lower left-hand side of my face; very near to my mouth. My whole face burns right now, and I know it's my fault for being careless, but gosh darn it why me. I say don't use this cream/gel if you wear makeup everyday like me or can't stand the sight of peeling skin (because you're not supposed to do anything about it, you're just supposed to let it happen and wash your face with a gentle cleanser). It works but at a cost.

by Jayy42 on 02/20/2017 20:15
I had the same exact experience with Retin-A and makeup and it was not pretty. I had forgotten about that part but I never did have the self esteem to use it for over a couple of months.
Not working as well as I had hoped
Reviewed on October 30, 2016

Short acne story:

I started dealing with terrible forehead acne when I was about 10 years old. I never got pimples on my cheeks ever....until I was 18. I started noticing little clogged pores and bumps on the side of my nose and on my cheeks. I tried drinking more water, doing turmeric and honey masks, eating healthier, washing my face twice a day and using tea tree oil and moisturizer, green tea sleeping better and trying to stress less; nothing worked. So I went to my doctor and got prescribed 0.05% Tretinoin cream.


I started using the cream on June 13th, 2016 and it is now October 30, 2016 sooo I've been using it for a good 4 and a half months. I had a terrible purge for the first 3 months where my cheeks erupted with red bumps. I kept hoping that after week 12 I would see improvement but all that happened was that it cleared the purge acne but the normal issues that I was having are still there. I have a couple painful pimples along my jawline and 2 red ones on my cheeks, 2 on my forehead and some tiny ones by my mouth. It's a huge improvement from what my skin was like a month or 2 ago... but it is not the results that I was hoping for at all. This cream hasn't really worked for me and I keep reading reviews on how people used it for 6 months and suddenly had no pimples. I'm not sure if I will continue the tube after it is finished. I have been using it every night and have never missed a night. Also, I did not experience the usual reaction to this cream at all (dryness, pealing)... my skin has never burned while using this product but instead it seems oilier than it used to be. I guess it just doesn't suit my skin type.

by OKDERMO-COM on 11/06/2016 17:57
You can get in okdermo, recommend!
by TrentZev25 on 01/09/2017 04:16
Try the gel based version. The cream based version tends to cause issues with most folks. If that doesn't help try Epiduo or just add a benzoyl peroxide gel/wash that doesn't have awful inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients such as laureth 4 are things that you gotta watch out for because they will cause acne in most most people that are prone to it.
by TrentZev25 on 01/09/2017 04:16
Try the gel based version. The cream based version tends to cause issues with most folks. If that doesn't help try Epiduo or just add a benzoyl peroxide gel/wash that doesn't have awful inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients such as laureth 4 are things that you gotta watch out for because they will cause acne in most most people that are prone to it.
by TrentZev25 on 01/09/2017 04:16
Try the gel based version. The cream based version tends to cause issues with most folks. If that doesn't help try Epiduo or just add a benzoyl peroxide gel/wash that doesn't have awful inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients such as laureth 4 are things that you gotta watch out for because they will cause acne in most most people that are prone to it.
by TrentZev25 on 01/09/2017 04:18
Ooops didn't mean to repeat my comment lol
Hair loss after 2 months use
Reviewed on October 13, 2016

After a little over 2 months of use, retin a started causing my hair to shed abnormally. I have used retin a in the past, but never seriously, I’d use it here and there when I remembered but I was breaking out especially bad (I realized it was due to MAC waterproof foundation) so I was going back and forth between .5 and .25 every night. After a month or so my hair started shedding more than usual, and I tried contributing it to anything I could bc I had no idea retin a could cause hair loss. When I got close to 2 months of use I started reading around and realized hair loss was indeed a side effect of retin a, maybe rare but it exists. Retin a is essentially just Accutane you are applying to your skin, which afterall is your largest organ and main way you detox. Slathering it with Accutane would seem to lead to side of effects of regular Accutane.

Since stopping I believe the shedding is slowing, but I am taking all sorts of supplements meant for hair and got special shampoos.

If you start shedding while using this, don’t dismiss that retin a may be the culprit.

I have been using the Skin Cueticals acne kit with great results thus far (only a week). I have a derm apt soon and I might ask for Azeliac acid.

Works after some time
Reviewed on October 12, 2016

Ok so short history of my acne struggle:

Started off as some minor spots when I was twelve, by the time I was fourteen my skin went haywire and I developed severe acne, mainly on my forehead and chin. My back was also covered in acne. I started using Diane 35 (heavy duty birth control) which cleared up my acne and gave me a few years of acne free skin. Eventually I stopped using the BC because of side effects and my acne came back. (Luckily for me the acne on my back never returned)

Actual review:

The first three months were, well...not that great. The first week my skin started burning like hell when I would apply the cream. My skin started to flake like crazy, making it hard to apply foundation over my face because the scabs were always visible, no matter what I did. It was around the three week mark when my skin started to break out like crazy. I developed zits on my entire face, even in places where I didn't have acne before. This made me want to stop using Retin A, but I kept going. After three months, my acne finally calmed down and scars started to fade due to the rapid skin cell turnover Retin A gives you. I am now using Retin A for almost three years now. Although it hasn't spared me from hormonal breakouts, it has made a huge difference to my skin and it would be much worse without it.


Helps with the reduction of acne

Fades scars over time


Flaking during the first couple months of use + dry skin (so make sure you get yourself some heavy duty moisturiser)

Initial breakout

Final verdict:

I recommend using Retin A. Don't get discouraged when you experience an initial breakout. It sucks (trust me I know) but chances are if you give it enough time it will work.

by John_Johnson on 11/13/2016 02:29
What % of Retin-A are you using?
by Anna94 on 12/05/2016 21:56
I'm using 0.05%