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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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Okay, whoa, I'm reading these reviews and really wondering why you guys are using such irritating stuff in your routine
Reviewed on January 17, 2016

Everyone, seriously. Stop using:

Tea tree oil (guess what? It's an irritant, regardless of it's anti-bacterial properties. Stop buying into all the marketing, and applying full-strength tea tree oil to your skin is a big no-no)

Toners (ANY kind, you don't need this anyway- Retin-A is going to take care of all that)

Foaming cleansers


Salicylic/Glycolic Acid (because NO, these are not antibacterial, they are exfoliants. DON'T USE THEM AT ALL WITH RETIN-A)

Start slow with Retin-A, every 3 nights at first. Ramp up slowly, and avoid applying directly near your eyes and around your mouth. These areas get the most irritated, and once the rest of your skin adjusts you can start applying it there. Those areas slowly start to adjust via cell communication, so wait for the cells to communicate and adjust before you start applying it directly to those areas.

Retin-A is a miracle for deep, painful cysts. If you don't want to use Retin-A religiously all over, keep some on hand for the painful ones. It's a more effective spot treatment for those. However, if you are a female with deep cysts, talk to your dermatologist to see if these are more hormonal; birth control (or spironolactone) might be really effective for you.

I've been on both Accutane and Retin-A, which if you are informed know they work in a similar fashion (but Accutane works systematically from the inside out). Your skin does not actually "thin", but it gets delicate on either drug. And as much as people talk about initial "purging" you can avoid most of it by just moisturizing your skin- BUT REMEMBER- IT'S BETTER TO MAINTAIN YOUR MOISTURE BARRIER THAN TRY TO REPLENISH IT. THE OIL ON YOUR FACE IS NOT THAT BARRIER. Any time you rub/exfoliate/dry out your skin, it takes a lot of time to get back to where you need to be. That's the "purging" you're experiencing- when your skin is delicate, dry, and irritated, guess what? That gives you acne and rashes.

I prepped to take Accutane by keeping my skin moisturized and not being aggressive with it. And guess what? No "purging", no irritatedness. Flakiness only happened when I didn't use moisturizer. My skin was nearly perfect in 2 weeks and remained that way for the 6 months I was on it (and after). I wish I had listened to my dermatologist instead of buying into the fear people perpetuate on these threads about side effects. I shouldn't have waited until I was 30 to do it.


Products you SHOULD use:

Vaseline (won't clog your pores, do your research)

Products with mineral oil (it doesn't clog your pores; that was a marketing trick in the cosmetic industry to get people to buy their products by creating fear over using mineral oil; but it's bull. Do your research, mineral oil is actually one of the best moisturizers for dry (and damaged or irritated) skin.

I would avoid Cetaphil gentle cleanser. Why? It has sulfates. Yeah. Read the ingredients, people. You can, however, use a micellar water (I really recommend Sensibio H2O, its non-irritating and you can wipe your skin without force, no need to rinse. Cetaphil requires that you wipe it off (or rinse it off, which frankly leaves a bit of residue) It's all I use to clean my skin. Bam. Thank you, France.

You gotta treat your skin like you're a burn victim. Oiliness or not, okay? Are you guys listening? Please stop with the crap products (even the "natural" ones, which are frequently so poorly formulated I can't believe they're on the market)

EVERYONE should educate themselves regarding ingredients- Go to [link removed] and go through the ingredient dictionary. LISTEN TO SCIENCE, NOT HYPE, and certainly not teenagers on this thread.

Sorry for all the shouting; I'm worried you guys aren't listening to your dermatologists, or your dermatologists aren't informing you at all. TRUST SCIENCE NOT HYPE I can't stress that enough.

//end rant/review

by strugglecity on 01/23/2016 05:38
Do you mind spelling out the link that you tried to include? It has been removed.
Emo teen recommends this cream
Reviewed on January 15, 2016

First off I'm a 16-year-old female with mild to moderate acne. I've been using Tretinion cream .025 since August of 2015 and went up to .05 in October, I've been using the 0.5 for over three months now and my skin has gotten a lot better although I'm still breaking out pretty bad before I get my period. So I went to my derm again today and she told me I have hormonal acne and put me on doxycycline and birth control. I heard birth control could make it worse.. But I was just wondering if it would for me, considering the fact I'm on Tretinion cream. And how long doxycycline would take to see results. but anyways yes, Tretinion cream does work. The first month is brutal with purging, redness, dryness, peeling etc. but once u get over the first two months it does get a lot better. :-)

Works for wrinkles too !!
Reviewed on January 13, 2016

I am a 52 years old asian lady living in UK, I use retin A cream for 5 years now, and it is really perfect. I put it on my face at night and i put sunscreen during the day. My skin is better than before and i look younger everyday :-) The only problem with this cream is the I need a prescription to buy it here, and they give it on prescription only for acne.I used to buy it on Ebay, but they don't sell it anymore, they sell only generic low quality tretinoin cream, but i still can buy it on Facebook on the page Online Retin A

Did not work for 14 year old female
Reviewed on January 3, 2016

We have tried Tretinoin, Doxycyline, Onexton, and Epi-Duo. None have made a significant difference, thus the dermatologist prescribing all these products. During these trials, we cut out dairy and reduced sugar. Still no difference. Was told to use Cetaphyl and also CeraVe. I believe, if you have hormonal acne which my kid has... no external product is going to cure acne. It really didn't reduce it that much either.

Everything you need to know about tretinoin and finding a solution to your acne.
Reviewed on December 14, 2015

I am a 22 year-old female who started Retin-A Micro gel (tretinoin) in September 2015 for moderate acne. It is now mid December and my skin is nearly perfect aside from hyperpigmentation (which will go away over time). No more acne, no more under-the-skin bumps. This medication works if you use it correctly and religiously. When I started Retin-A, I applied it twice a week for three weeks, then three times a week for another three weeks, etc., allowing my skin to adjust to the medication. This is important to do because this medicine can cause a lot of peeling, redness and irritation for the first month or two. You can reduce those problems by starting yourself on the medication slowly. Application of this medicine is also important. Follow the exact instructions in the provided pamphlet and apply a pea-sized amount to your forehead, cheeks and chin. A little goes a long way. Only apply this before bedtime. It can make your skin very sensitive to the sun so always apply sunscreen in the morning before going about your day. I recommend Cera Vae AM Facial Lotion with SPF 30. Tretinoin is the only acne treatment that targets all causes of acne and it is commonly used with antibiotics which can be prescribed by your dermatologist. I have been taking doxycyline since August 2015 and it helped reduce inflammation when I experienced bad breakouts. I believe it was beneficial for me to decide to start the antibiotic one month before I began tretinoin because it allowed the medicine to build up in my system first. Side effects of the antibiotic were minimal. I only experienced a slight upset stomach if I took the pill without food and water.

To get the amazing results you want, you must be dedicated. This is a very challenging process and it will test your patience. For the first two and a half months on tretinoin I experienced terrible breakouts because my skin was purging. There was a lot of acne that I didn't even know was there that needed to be brought to the surface. It was incredibly difficult to deal with this mentally and emotionally, however, had I not decided to go through with the treatment plan I would still be dealing with acne. It is best to push through and tell yourself that you are taking a step in the right direction and being proactive about your skin condition. A lot of people stop treatment in the first month or two because they are not seeing quick results or they are unhappy with the side effects they are experiencing such as extreme dryness / peeling, sensitive, red skin and worsening acne. If you are on this treatment plan and see that your acne is getting so much worse, this is a good sign. It means the medicine is working and your skin is purging. It's a long waiting game and depending on your acne / skin-type and it could take anywhere between 3-7 months to see results. I was fortunate enough to be cleared in 12 weeks. I would encourage anyone who is genuinely interested in this treatment plan to also ask your dermatologist for an antibiotic to help fight the instant breakouts.

Since Day 1 I have religiously followed this routine:

Morning - Wash skin with Cetaphil, apply LUSH Tea Tree toner, follow up with Cera Vae AM lotion with SPF, apply another layer of regular Cera Vae moisturizer for extra hydration.

Night - Wash skin with Cetaphil, apply LUSH Tea Tree toner, follow up with Cera Vae PM lotion, apply another layer of regular Cera Vae moisturizer for extra hydration, set timer for 30 minutes, then apply tretinoin.

It is important to always wait at least 20-30 minutes to apply tretinoin. Your skin needs to be dry for the medication to absorb. The products I have listed above are the best options to use for this treatment because your skin is already going to be sensitive on this medicine. It would be too irritating for the skin to use any acne washes such as Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, etc. Quit them all together - it helps more than you realize. I found LUSH's Tea Tree toner and fell in love with it because it's so hydrating. It helps even out your skin tone and the tea tree is beneficial for fighting redness and excess oil. This product is 100% natural and vegan.

I wanted to write a genuine, real review on because throughout my acne struggles I have visited this website many times reading endless reviews and looking for the best solution, hoping I was on the right treatment plan. I hope this medication works for anyone who is truly dedicated to clearing their skin. It brought back my confidence and self-esteem and made me a much happier person. If you find that tretinoin was a solution for you, never stop using it. Quitting the medicine could allow your acne to return so stick to a routine!


by simone87 on 12/15/2015 00:08
Hi, thanks for the detailed review. Are you still taking the antibiotic or was that just for the initial purge? I was prescribed the same from my dermatologist and I'm worried about long term side effects from the doxycycline.
by emacartney on 12/15/2015 02:09
I'm still taking the antibiotic but since my skin has cleared up, I will probably stop taking it within the next month or two. My dermatologist told me I shouldn't worry about the antibiotics having long term effects. Generally the only worry is building up a resistance to the antibiotics. But several patients take this drug for long periods of time with no health problems developing. I would recommend trying it while you're also on a topical treatment because it certainly helps and then if you feel uncomfortable continuing or no longer need it you can stop the drug.
by Wtaylor8 on 12/15/2015 17:27
This was very helpful for me. I usually don't comment on reviews or message boards, just look at what's being said. But this I have to reply to. I've been taking Doxycyxline, clindamyacin lotion, and tretinoin cream since Nov. 2nd and I'm still dealing with the purging. I've taken accutane twice, once when i was 12, again when I was 16. I'm 21 now and my acne has returned. It's honestly the most depressing thing to deal with. It truly brings down confidence levels. After reading your review I realized it will take longer since I have deep rooted acne, and always have. Thank you for this, honestly. Hopefully I'll be as lucky as you & around week 12 start to clear up!
by Wtaylor8 on 12/15/2015 17:34
A question: did you have any acne scarring and did this treatment help to lighten them?
by emacartney on 12/16/2015 03:03
I did have quite a bit of acne scarring and dark spots. I've noticed that while the tretinoin was peeling back layers of my skin, older acne scars actually appeared darker. However, by now a lot of the scars have faded, and they are supposed to because tretinoin is also used for treating wrinkles, dark spots, etc. So give it some time. At first, scars appear darker and then gradually fade away.
by tigger81610 on 12/17/2015 05:17
Hi, thanks so much for posting your experience! I have been using tretinoin cream for about 6 weeks now and it has made my breakouts far worse than they have ever been before. What was the transition like between "purging" and clear skin? Did you all of a sudden stop breaking out or was it gradual? Any words of encouragement would help!
by emacartney on 12/18/2015 06:40
The progress was gradual and I did notice some improvement over time, however, I didn't recognize how far I had come until one day I woke up and my skin felt smooth. I noticed other physical characteristics in the mirror other than my skin / acne. My purging stage lasted 2 1/2 - 3 months and it was truly miserable. The beginning of the second month was the worst. You will notice at some point that you're breaking out less but it won't stop overnight. Each problem area has to break open and heal itself until there is finally nothing left. When I saw that I was coming to the end of my acne, I helped it along more quickly by using a blackhead remover tool to get those stubborn blackheads / whiteheads out -- but I only reccommend doing that once you feel you're coming to the end of your acne. It's a long and challenging process but you'll thank yourself in the long run if you stick with it.
by emacartney on 01/04/2016 01:50
Note: I have seen a few reviews on here stating that there is no cure for hormonal acne. This is untrue. The cause of my adult acne was purely hormonal. Tretinoin is designed to change your skin in many different ways, even its response to stress and hormonal imbalance. As someone who has been patient and dedicated to tretinoin, I urge you to try it for at least four months. Don't let other people deter you from a cure because they became impatient or used it incorrectly. If tretinoin truly has done nothing for you and you have severe acne, I would recommend talking to your dermatologist about Accutane. It's not as scary as it seems. In fact, I was told by my dermatologist that I was a perfect candidate for it if tretinoin didn't work, and I was prepared to look into the drug. Anyways, I want you all to know that acne can be cured. Don't let some of these reviews discourage you. Not everyone who has reviewed this drug has used it correctly or for the amount of time necessary to see results. Keep your head up!
by MiaOri on 01/10/2016 16:35
Thanks for the review! I was about to give up on it. But I'm glad a read this review. Would you mind telling me exactly which cetaphill do you use? Bar soap, foam wash for sensitive skin? Thank you!
by emacartney on 01/11/2016 10:25
I use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It's not foam but more of a creamy face wash. It never irritates my skin, so I love it. [link removed]
by emacartney on 01/22/2016 20:34
Also, toners do help! They even out your skin tone and can provide hydration. I highly reccommend any of the LUSH toners. Any dermatologist will tell you that it wouldn't hurt to use toner. Eau Roma is my favorite, but I also love the Tea Tree. It does not irritate your skin and it helps calm problem areas.
by DT on 02/21/2016 21:48
Hi there, thank you for your detailed review. I just have two questions? How many hours did you leave this cream on at night? My derm said to apply it in the evening and leave it on for 3 or 4 hours before washing it off to reduce any irritation and then apply moisturizer. He suggested not to leave it on over night since I have sensitive skin. I am not sure how that works because from my understanding the active ingredient breaks down on its own after few hours anyways. Also, did you experience any glossy-ness or thinning of the skin? Thank you for your help
by emacartney on 02/26/2016 21:25
I have very sensitive skin, but I left it on all night and did not wash my face until morning. It's a little strange to me that your dermatologist would reccommend that you leave it on for only a few hours. I don't really feel like there's a way around the side effects like the minor stinging sensation (after using it for a while), the dry skin and flaking. It was annoying to deal with, but when the medicine started working, those side effects went away - you just have to give it time. Honestly, I'm not a professional but I would think that leaving it on overnight will give you better results, or at least allow the results to come faster. I have heard of people adding a little bit of moisturizer to the tretinoin when they apply it, but I never did that. As far as glossiness goes, my skin did appear to go from oily-looking to dry and flaky every day. I never had oily skin before and I think maybe the glossy appearance was just a side effect of the tretinoin. It went away eventually. I didn't notice any thinning of my skin.
by Danedane on 03/24/2016 03:44
hi I have some questions! did you noticed some enlarged pores and wrinkle by using retin-a?
by emacartney on 03/25/2016 11:20
Not at all. It made my skin appear more smooth, if anything.
My opinion of Tretinoin
Reviewed on December 7, 2015

The following statements are my experiences and my opinions.

I was prescribed Tretinoin after a topical antibiotic worked for a while and then decreased in effectiveness. Also, I was prescribed an oral antibiotic along with staying with the same the topical antibiotic. After about a month, my face broke out worse than it ever had before and I was severely dry and had irritation. This caused permanent scarring and my face looked like it was on fire and somebody put it out with a brick. I underwent several chemical peels around this time and completely switched prescriptions. After becoming completely disillusioned with dermatology, I switched to a more natural and superior product.

by Stephench on 12/10/2015 00:19
Well, what is this natural and superior product then?
by Stephench on 12/10/2015 00:20
Well, what is this natural and superior product then?
Reviewed on December 4, 2015

Acne sucks we all know that, you feel ashamed of yourself, you can't look at people's eyes and ugh it's hard, I know.

This product WILL cure you. In two weeks, three, or even months, but it will trust me. It just depends on your skin.

Well my skin is 40% cured in the last two days in the FIRST WEEK! the first five days my face peeled alot, it was red i mean, too red. but it's not as bad as it sounds, i handled it fine, and you will too! yes, i broke out, but so what? we always break out, but this time you will break out for a reason, to clear your skin, consider it as process, believe me i was too afraid to use it, but i'm so gad i did! just take it easy and go for it! PLEASE! IT WILL WORK!

second chance...
Reviewed on July 27, 2015

i tried 5 month long period before, it worked for my back and chest acne (not completely gone, really more better than before), but it was partly good on my face. especially around my chin and nose area it did nothing. so i ended for my face. then two weeks ago, i decided to use it again (now with vaseline for moisturising and imex soap for cleaning). today i have two deep and persistent ones and a couple of smaller. everybody knows that tretinoin can develope plenty of them at the first weeks of the treatment (i experienced before). i think if this treatment is working for my body, it can work on my face as well. maybe it needs longer time. i hope.

WEEK 3: i decided to use tretinoin with clindoxyl for only initial breakouts because it helps to heal persistent and deep acne faster. 2 more huge and deeper breakouts in this week and so far the total number is 5 huge/deeper (3 gone), lots of (8-10 maybe more) smaller (all of them around my chin area and left side of my nose -right side no problem). the smallers are ok, they don't disturb me, nobody notices. the initial breakouts started with the second week. a little bit peeling and no redness so far because of vaselin. i use tretinoin (%0.1) every other night.

i will try to write the stiuation every week.

WEEK 4: this week i have no more huge and deep acne. they have been nearly cured, some dark areas remained. three medium size (papules) around my chin and nose and a couple of smaller acnes recently. i hope initial breakouts have just started to calm down. within next weeks i will see the first result i hope. i'm still using clindoxyl gel but not everyday. there have been lots of minor, non-infectious white spots which come to surface since the treatment began.

WEEK 5: i had 3 medium-size and 5-6 small-size acnes in this 5th week of tretinoin treatment with vaselin and clindoxyl gel. as i said before, i'm using clindoxyl for only breakouts for quick results. no more deep and huge breakouts in this week as well. but my skin remains uneven after breakouts. a little bit peeling no redness.

note: when i edit, helpful votes disappear ;)

WEEK 6: only one medium size pimple and lots of fast-growing small white heads around my bottom lip and nose (maybe 12-14 totally). sizes are decreasing which is good but breakouts are increasing so far. at the same time there are lots of non-infectious white spots around my chin, the most problematic part. uneven skin appearance is not good at all, some darker spots, pimples...

WEEK 7: medium size pimples (5-6) around chin and more small size white heads. nothing better.

WEEK 8: last week i was in holiday and i discovered that it is better to use bepanthen plus cream with tretinoin and vaseline. it is good for redness and also pimples themselves. the pimples become less visible. so this week it was a bit more better than last week. less medium size pimples and white heads, but not a big difference.

WEEK 9: only one middle-size and a deep cystic one in the right side of face, close to my ear but it is hardly noticable because it is really deep. i think this is not related to tretinoin because i didn't use it in this area regularly. except this, this week was relatively better.

WEEK 10: best week ever! no new huge or medium-size acnes, just some tiny whiteheads. i hope this is not temporary.

WEEK 11: better than last week! just a few whiteheads...

WEEK 12: a few whiteheads, one bigger (not too big) deep but hardly noticeable acne around my chin.

WEEK 13-14: no new bigger acne, just a few whiteheads and i completly quited using vaseline. BEPANTHEN PLUS is the best for acne problem and also good for moistrizing.

by zipz on 09/03/2015 09:44
WEEK 7: medium size pimples (5-6) around chin and more small size white heads. nothing better.
It really works!!
Reviewed on October 1, 2015

I have struggled with acne as an adult for years. At first I thought I could treat it myself however it quickly became evident I was loosing the battle. My dermatologist initially prescribed me onexton, which helped at first but then seemed to stop. When she prescribed me retin A I was nervous because I had read about the "purge" that users experienced. Retin A has been a miracle! I did not experience a purge and although it makes my skin dry, it has cleared my acne completely!!!

Beautiful skin requires patience and acceptance
Reviewed on September 3, 2015

So ive been using 0.1 tretinoin for just over two years and my skin, my confidence, as well as my relationship with my skin (and myself) has changed so much. Now instead of getting panic attacks near mirrors and obsessively checking my skin, I love staring at my smooth complexion and admiring just how much better it gets every day.

This was not the case when i first began my treatment as many of you know the purging stage happens at around the first few weeks/months of daily use and I was still very emotionally vulnerable and sensitive about my skin problem so it was a difficult time seeing my skin go from problematic to lots of clogged pores unplugging themselves all at once all whilst going to school and interacting with people. There was no hiding my skin problem anymore as concealers only made my dry bumpy and healing skin look worse and redness persisted as my skin tried to adjust to this new irritant routine.

At that point I knew there was no going back and i continued to use retin a daily slowly incorporating a non irritating moisturizer into my night time routine as my skin needed it and it didnt slow the process but helped my skin heal quicker. I find paraffin/petrolatum based creams for very dry and sensitive skin are best as they deeply moisturize, arent irritating and help remove flakes.

Retin a has taught be to be patient with my skin as before I would scrub and squeeze the hell out of it and for what? Temporary feeling of gratification which resulted in superficial scarring. With retin a i learned to give my skin time to heal and clear itself naturally and I havent gotten a scar since. I am much MUCH less compulsive about my appearance now than i was and I have also grown to be OKAY with whenever i do get acne, because i know it wont harm me. its normal, its only temporary and most of all doesnt define me as a person. <--This was not how i felt before i began my treatment, it took about 7 months for me to adjust to the routine and develop the patience and discipline required to have and maintain the baby soft baby smooth skin i have now.