***If you aren't interested in my history and just interested in my current experience with tretinoin gel, I sectioned this post out with bolded subtitles, so just scroll down )
Hi everyone. I'm not sure I'm even doing this correctly and I am brand new to blogging, so please bear with me. Just want to share my experiences in real time in hopes of being able to possibly help others as well as help myself keep track of my progress. So here is my BACKGROUND:
I started breaking out when I was 10 years old, and I've never had clear skin since. I've tried pretty much every OTC treatment and Proactiv. Tried Retin-A Micro about 5 years ago, but only for about 3 months. Didn't have any improvements and it was causing painful, raw spots on my face. I became frustrated and gave up (I also do NOT have insurance, so price was an issue as well). Also tried Doxycycline and Cephalexin antibiotics, but again I was not consistent with it (have a horrible time swallowing pills, gag reflex actually got worse at one point in time so made it VERY difficult to get the pills down as prescribed). When I was moving out of my last residence I saw my roommate who had already moved out had some old tubes of tretinoin cream .04%. They were expired by a couple years. But I thought what the heck, my face has experienced it ALL and started using it. No great improvements but it seemed to keep my acne from worsening. That may just be my imagination, I don't know how effective expired Tretinoin cream really is...
I absolutely HATE being 25 years old and still dealing with this after a 15 year battle. I was just living with it for a while... but recently took some photos at an event and saw how horrid my face looked in comparison to everyone else in the picture who had perfect skin. And even when I'm having a "good acne day," I still look like I'm broke out because of all my red marks/hyperpigmentation. So I started becoming more observant and actively looking at everyone's faces on my college campus. Very rarely see ANYONE with acne (and most of them are younger than me!). I went home, cried, and made an appointment at the campus health center. Because I had been using the expired tretinoin cream and believed it to have helped somewhat, I requested it. I was prescribed Tretinoin GEL 0.025%. She offered a referral to the derm dept because she thinks it would be beneficial for me to look into laser treatments for my hyperpigmentation and light box car scarring, and also thinks I may qualify for Accutane. But I will be losing my health insurance in a month (which does not even cover prescriptions, just doc visits), I declined. In my opinion, I wouldn't qualify for Accutane anyways. I consider my acne moderate at most. I have VERY RARELY experienced anything cystic.
So a few days will be my 1 month mark on the tretinoin gel. I think it's helping. No crazy initial breakout (hopefully I won't have one, maybe using the expired treinoin cream prepped my face?). But I still have breakouts nonetheless. But the tretinoin definitely helps the breakouts heal faster than they had before I started the treatment. I have dry skin hanging off my face every morning (gross!), but it's a small price to pay for potentially clear skin in the future. I think my skin has an overall healthier look, and is ever so slightly starting to work on my blackheads (nose and chin). My face also seem to get less greasy throughout the day. Still lots of hyperpigmentation..not sure it's done much in that area yet. I will post pictures with my next post.
Here is my CURRENT ROUTINE:
Wash with plain Dove soap (considering switching to Cetaphil antibacterial bar)
Moisturize with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream for dry, sensitive skin
Spot treat hyperpigmentation with Hydroquinone 2%
Wash with Dove soap, wait 30 min
Tretinoin gel 0.025%
spot treat hyperpigmentation with Hydroquinone 2%
*I have also been taking Tri-Sprintec (generic Ortho-Tri-Cyclin) for the past 5 months
And that's it! Sorry this is HORRIBLY long. I promise to keep my future posts straight to the point and with pictures!
***Added pictures to blog.. hopefully I did it right!