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(Today, Tuesday) Day 5 on Retin-A:

I am definitely through with the stinging, and the dryness, and the peeling. I'd take it very kindly, actually, if they would just cut it out. Because no matter how many times I read the little inserts, and realize that it's completely normal, it doesn't change the fact that my chin is peeling and I feel like I have leprosy.

Again, I felt the sting when I applied the moisturizer, but.. BUT... I can actually move my mouth without ripping out pieces of skin. Which I take as a victory.

The good news is that people are much too polite to ask me why I'm red and peeling. And I have a theory that people can't remember 3 or 6 or 12 weeks ago, so I'm not worried about looking too awful. I'm just concerned about looking awful short term. It is rather irritating and an inconvenience.

It's not like I had bad acne to begin with, just a little here and there. Oh well, beauty comes with a price.

(Thursday) Day One:

I read the inserts, applied the gel and waited for the stinging. None.

I smirked, gloated in my superior super-tolerant skin and went to bed.

(Friday) Day Two:

I applied the gel, and felt a wee little bit of stining. Still, nothing major, and I actually cheered that I was feeling the stinging for the first time. It means that it's working, I thought to myself. I also thought: I can totally handle this.

I gloated in my superior super-tolerant skin and went to bed.

(Saturday) Day Three:

Too exhausted, went to bed without applying the gel, justifying to myself that I can alternate a day because the dermatologist said it was ok.

I kept up on the cli..whatever lotion my dermatologist recommended, twice a day.

I also noticed mini-peeling. Nothing that I was concerned about.

(Sunday) Day Three (for real):

Peeling is a little more pronounced. Since I didn't have the right moisturizer, I used an ultra gentle eye cream as moisturizer. It worked well in a pinch.

Bought the moisturizer the dermatologist recommended. Only took me 3 different stores to find it.

The gel stung on application. Gritting my teeth, I applied the rest and went to bed.

(Monday) Day Four:

A whole lot of peeling and redness. Painful peeling.

Moisturizing a lot with the moisturizer the dermatologist recommended made me look like I had a kabuki mask on. What the heck!!

I logged onto acne.org, looked up moisturizers and got Aveeno ultra gentle super calming moisturizer with spf15 during lunch. Sweet.

Applied the moisturizer like once an hour or whenever needed (Which was like once an hour). My superior super-resistant skin is such a wuss - stinging sensations from super gentle and calming moisturizer. Lame!

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Day 9 on Retin-A:

No substantial change.

I think I may be breaking out on my forehead, which has been completely clear since I started treatment. Nothing major, just little dots that don't change color either. I don't know if this is part of the "initial break-out", but I'll take it if it is. It's nothing major, and it's not bothering me.

My cheeks and chin are clear and acne-free, except they are still flakey and dry. Not the most attractive look on me, except the flakyness is now smaller in size, which I guess is a good thing.

So, by my calculations, I'll have super gorgeous skin by spring. :)

I've also found that by applying chapstick at night, I've been getting wicked awesome lush and moist lips.

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Day 11:

Nothing new to report except that most of the flakyness from the Retin-A treatment has washed off!

Today, I am decidedly less flakey and scaley. I still have a minor amount (comparatively) of dryness and peel, but nothing like where the entire lower-half of my face was falling off.


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Day 12:

I think I may have started the "initial breakout", as I've counted more than two new blemishes on my face. For "initial breakouts", this isn't bad.

Dryness is mitigated for now... and my skin is flushed. The little insert says "blush", but it looks like I've been working out.

Not a big deal.

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Day 13:

I've noticed even more peeling and flaking, and it seems that no amount of moisturizer can stop it. It got to the point where I had to run home from work during lunch to wash off all the moisturizer and scrub off some of the flaking. I re-applied some "dead sea salt" lotion (of the extra gentle variety) that actually calmed my skin down. The moisturizers were making it worse.

As a result, my face today has resembed a fairly bad sun-burn. I'm flushed all over my face, definitely not blushed, as the insert claims. Either I'm having a really hard reaction to this, or all the scrubbing wasn't good.

Additionally, I need to moisturize every 2 hours or so.

The disheartening thing is that this is not even two weeks yet.

Of course, I'm also clinging to the hope that since I didn't have bad acne to begin with, my "treatment" will be a whole lot shorter... and that all the effects are condensed.

I mostly doubt it though.

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I also had mild acne, a few occasional white heads around my chin/jaw would occasionally go wonky. The RAM gave me about 4 weeks of the worst skin ever. I had huge pimples, 2 or 3 new ones everyday, and the red spots linger for weeks after. I have been doing RAM for about 8.5 weeks now, and the peeling and redness have subsided. I do notice my pores are clearer, though right now I am dealing with two pimples (I suspect they are hormone related). I would recommend holding off on the scrubbing. I tried to do the same thing and I realized I just got redder and irritated my skin. Irritated skin=more pimples. I just let it slough off, which is quite embarrassing but less painful. Sometimes sitting in the shower for a little extra time softens up the dead skin and you can gently rub it off by using your fingers. The lips get better. The corners of my mouth would bleed, which was ridiculous because I meticulously applied the RAM in such a manner as to not get it on my lips. But, that too went away. I found that the Cetaphil line worked really well for me, as far as face wash. The moisturizer was too greasy. I used an oil-free spf15 like proactiv's. The Aveeno is probably a good choice too. BP spot treatment works well during the day.

I really hope this works for you. Remember, no matter how discouraged you get, its only 2-3 months of your life. At 8.5 weeks I have just reached a point where my skin is slightly better than before RAM, but I can tell that it is getting better and any scars/red spots I had are diminishing. Another plus, no wrinkles (I am only 26) but the fine laugh lines are virtually gone! Good luck, and remember keep up with the treatment!

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Day 16:

Man am I starting to break out!! I count over 5 blemishes - and one really painful one on my upper lip line! I'm still flaking and peeling, so I think the irritation has something to do with it as well.

Fortunately, the weather here is sooo frigid that not many people question me on why my face is peeling. And the few (read: 2) people that have, accepted that I'm reacting to the weather a "a new cleanser". Which is totally true - because Retin-A is a cleanser of sorts.... and the weather probably is playing a <i>part</i> as well.

Unfortunately, ever place I go has the heat on HIGH and there's a lot of dryness going on indoors. I've figured out why my skin gets soooo peely and flakey around noon everyday - its because my place of work doesn't believe in humidifiers, so the moisture is sucked out of my skin. Yuck.

HOWEVER, I have found that if I apply a wet paper towel to my face, my skin gets instantly less peely, flaky and obvious. And it feels so much better too! I've been doing that a lot to relieve some of the discomfort. Which also means I'm not tweezing off flakes of skin from my face. Another plus.

I'll have completed a WHOLE 3 weeks by the end of the month... Which is kind of like a half way mark (under the assumption that I'm clear by week 6).

I'll take it!

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Day 17:

I count 8 blemishes on my face. I might be missing some that haven't come to the surface yet, but I have 8 blemishes that have come to the surface. Hopefully all the reviews on Retin-A are accurate, and these do not take long to heal. Other than that, nothing else has changed much. My skin is still flakey and dry.

Yesterday I did a Vitamin-C scrub, which got rid of a LOT of dead skin, so I looked normal (for once!) when I went to the gym. The results were short lived, however, because I'm back to flakyness today.

I've been trying to keep a fairly up-beat attitude towards the fact that I look like a leper. And it's working so far because nothing is forever. And I'm aware that I'm not going to remember today in 3 weeks or so. So I'm going to keep being positive, even though I think I've strained my rotator cuff. I'm not sure, but I'm going to get it checked up tomorrow - but if the sports doctor says I have... then it means it'll be at least 3 weeks before I can exercise again. :(

I'm trying to find positives here... and I guess the obvious one is that by the time I can exercise again, my skin will no longer be peeling, and hopefully by that time, I'll have super gorgeous clear skin. But I'm still bummed that it'll be mid-February at the earlierst before I can work out again. I guess if I don't exercise as compulsively (4-5 times a week, when I really should be going every other day), I can focus on my studying... or finally get that naval piercing I've wanted...

I don't know - I might buy another gym membership and do wussy-work-outs until I'm fully healed. Sorry that most of this post isn't about acne.

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I'm currently on Retin-A and experiencing a lot of what you are: dryness, peeling, because of the weather/retin-a/dry heating systems.

Here's what I've been doing that has really helped. At night, before you go to bed, but an hour or so before you apply the retin-a, try applying bag balm.

Now, if you haven't heard of this, don't freak out! Yes, it's made primarily for chapped cow udders, but it works fantastically on humans as well. Its only ingredients are petrolatum, lanolin, and hydroquinone. The hydroquinone is similar to retin-a in that it helps reduce redness by preventing hyperpigmentation. In fact, some people suggest you use hydroquinone in conjunction with retinoids.

Anyway, I'm originally from Arizona, a very dry climate, and EVERYONE out there uses this, on their knees, elbows, feet, when they get really dry. My face has been so horrible the past few days that I just gave up and put a VERY small amount on the dry patches (I would dig out a small chunk, since it's very waxy, more so that vaseline, and put it in my palm, mixing it around until it was thinner and easier to put on), and it's been fabulous. I'm not peeling as much, and the few zits I've gotten recently have gone down in redness and bumpiness.

If you can't get this (you can usually find it at drugstores or pet stores), vaseline works too. I just love this stuff. :)

(I should also probably note that none of its ingredients are comedogenic)

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Day 18:

Can it be that the little insert is acutally correct? If so, I'm in for a whole lot of trouble in the upcoming weeks.

First, the good news: my skin has stopped flaking and peeling off. Instead of applying moisturizer several times a day, I'm down to once or twice. So now I resemble a non-peely human being again. Which I am enjoying.

I'm not going to lie, there is a bit of dryness, but Nothing (And I stress NOTHING) quite like what it was a week ago. A week ago, I could tweeze chunks of skin off my chin and cheeks. Moisturizing didn't help - it just caked on top of the chunks of skin. Now I can moisturize and have it actually absorb! into my skin!!

The other bit of good news is that my nightly application of Retin-A no longer stings my face. In fact, I actually have to pay attention to what I'm doing now because I cannot rely on the stinging sensation to "guide me".

I remember being very WARY of my night applicaiton of Retin-A for awhile because of how badly it stung and hurt. My face would turn soo red immediately after application. I would have to take a deep breath before finishing the rest of the application.

So if you're in the same boat - take heart that it will one day, all of a sudden, not sting and hurt.

Now for the bad news: if the insert is right about the peeling and stinging, then chances are that it will be right about the incresed occurance of blemishes. In fact, I'm noticing an increase of blemishes. I currently have as many blemishes as I did prior to starting Retin-A. I had a brief 10 days of (flakey and peely) but acne-free skin.

Ah well.

Nothing is forever, not even "Initial Breakouts".

Zitophobe - I am not a writer, but thanks! :)

Headtrip Honey - I will look into bag-balm, I think we have something similar on the east coast... it's also udder cream and I've seen it sold in stores... Thanks for the heads up.

Hopingforclear - Thanks for your encouragement. I used a spot-treatment on the blemish at my lip and it was helpful. :)

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Day 20:

I'm still holding my breath for the initial break-out phase of the treatment. Which, according to the little insert, should begin tomorrow through the next three weeks. Currently, the 8 blemishes have died and now my skin is not in the "break out" phase, but in the "seriously, I can't heal any faster, so quit your whining, woman" phase.

I've also decided to try to improve my diet and increase my water intake. I used to be sooo good about drinking 2 liters of water every day (two fills of those large nalgene bottles). And my skin was soooo glowing from all the moisture and the healthy eating. I even lost a lot of weight too.

After reading a scary article on fiber, I've decided to up my fiber intake as well (which is supposed to be good for acne too). I'm going to focus on eating broccoli (one of my favorite veggies), carrots (also good for the eyes) and actually have cereal in the morning (full of seeds, nuts, oats and other grains). I'm going to hold off on supplements for later.

So, condition of my skin: Good. I'm clear except for the areas that are healing. I very much doubt that this will last, but I'll take it if it does.

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Day 20, addendum:

I just applied my nightly ritual of Retin-A, and let me tell you, it started to sting again! Not a lot, but definitely not "no-feeling-at-all". Wow, I thought I was over it.

The other thing that I wanted to share is that I'm way too easily amused. I notice that when I go to apply the Retin-A, after washing my face and then dutifully waiting 20-30 minutes, that my forehead is super shiney. Not oily-shiney, just that my skin has dried together and is now reflective. I seriously spent some time moving my head around to see it reflect light.

I know, I'm lame... (o.O)

Has anyone else noticed this?

Or am I really just an absurdity of nature?

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Day 20, addendum:

I just applied my nightly ritual of Retin-A, and let me tell you, it started to sting again! Not a lot, but definitely not "no-feeling-at-all". Wow, I thought I was over it.

The other thing that I wanted to share is that I'm way too easily amused. I notice that when I go to apply the Retin-A, after washing my face and then dutifully waiting 20-30 minutes, that my forehead is super shiney. Not oily-shiney, just that my skin has dried together and is now reflective. I seriously spent some time moving my head around to see it reflect light.

I know, I'm lame... (o.O)

Has anyone else noticed this?

Or am I really just an absurdity of nature?

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Hey do you think Retin-A would help me with my minor acne scars and help with my redness left from acne? I dont know if I should be using Retin-a for my situation, could u give me advice? Thnx in advance and good luck with using retin-a.

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Day 23:

I'm really beginning to love Retin-A. And when I say "beginning to love", I really mean "falling head over heels in love" with Retin-A, with one, no, with two stipulations.

It has been a little over my third week on Retin-A, and my skin is turning incredibly beautiful. It is clear (sort of, that's stipulation one - I'll get back to this point in a second) and dewey and luminous and all around pretty.

I really like it.

I am, however, testing my patience with my LEFT side. I have 3 little red bumps that need to just suck it up and heal and join the immaculate condidition of the rest of my face. That is, my skin is clear except for my left side, which has 3 little red bumps on my cheek. And these 3 little red bumps are taking their sweet, excruciating, little time to heal. That's stipulation one. Hurry up. It's not like I'm asking for a lot - just 3 bumps.

I haven't hit the "break out" period yet, and I'd really rather not hit that milestone. My skin is nice as it is and I'd like to keep it that way. But, I have noticed that I'm still peeling a little bit during the day. Not the way it used to peel (in bucketloads), but a little here and there. I'd like that to stop too, please.

Because IF my skin stops peeling, and those 3 stubborn red spots heal, then I'll have absolutely super-ultra clear, glowing skin. And that is my end goal.

I know that after some weeks, I'll no longer peel, and that with continued treatment, my skin will heal and clear up new blemishes - but a girl can hope at 23 days. :)

At 23 days, my skin still stings a bit when I apply the Retin-A, but just a bit. I've noticed that my skin actually blushes just a little bit as well, but nothing quite like before when my face actually turned RED. The look is now fresh and pink-ish and that is perfectly acceptable as well.

Hopingforclear: My skin is only reflective after I wash it and wait to let it dry. I don't find my skin reflective during the day, so I'm not that bothered by it. I'm using oil blotting papers throughout the day (because I found 2 packs in my closet), so I'm controlling the oil to a degree as well. It seems that your treatment with Retin-A is going well, and I thank you for your well wishes. :)

Deadbeat: I'm on a 0.025% prescription in the gel format. Thanks for your well-wishes too :)

Jon: I don't know if Retin-A would help with acne scarring and redness from prior acne. I didn't really have any of those when I started Retin-A. I've never experienced acne scarring, so I can't speak for that. Maybe someone with more dermatological experience could answer that. I used to have a bit of discoloration from my acne (usually from picking at it), which would be a darker spot on me. I've discovered that these discolorations are disappearing with Retin-A.

I know that I haven't answered your question, but I'm not qualified either. I would continue to ask around or go see a dermatologist. Or you can call a dermatologist's office and ask to speak to someone. Good luck!

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Day 25:

I'm operating under the theory that under the Retin-A treatment, things or reactions happen in cycles. First I experienced the stinging and then the peeling. After that came the red-flush, sensitivity, and then for a brief few days, clear skin. And then the stinging, and peeling... and sensitivity...

Although, it could also be that the Retin-A is encountering "new" skin, so the "new skin" will naturally be more sensitive to the treatment, leading to reactions like stinging, peeling, sensitivity and the flush.

Whatever the case, at day 25 on the Retin-A treatment, my skin is still mostly clear with just a few blemishes. Actually, I've noticed that "scabs" or whatever heal over really quickly on treatment. Like those 3 blemishes on my left cheek I mentioned like 2 days ago? Gone - only thing remaining are the little brown spots that will fade in a week or so.

Application of Retin-A still freaking stings! I may be using too much (am not, according to the little insert), but freaking ow! My skin takes on a "flushed" appearance after application, but the flush disappears in the morning, when I wash it off. I have noticed that my skin is more sensitive (like I can't use a LOT of pressure when I dry my face - which is probably a good thing), or my skin will get really red and painful.

Twenty more days until the "Initial Breakout" period is over. I haven't noticed many new blemishes on my face, so I hope this lasts! I sort of wish they'd all come at once and then I won't have to worry about it. But it'll work as it works, so I'll just have to wait and see.

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Day 27:

My skin is progressively getting clearer. I have no blemishes on my face at all, new or old. (However I have minor hyperpigmentation, which is healing.) I'm quite pleased with my results on Retin-A. Once my skin either heals or peels off, I'll have the skin that looks photoshopped and airbrushed, you know, clear and glowing.

I'm still peeling just a bit on my chin/sides of my mouth, but it's nothing major that I can't keep on top of with my moisturizer.

I'm startled when I look in the mirror because my skin looks so fresh and glowing. I quite like it.

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Day 30:

The little insert in the Retin-A treatment mentioned that between weeks 3-6, users may see an influx of new blemishes. Yeah... Complete understatement. (Kinda like "some users may see their skin take on a blush" - which translated on me as "holy crap, how did you get sunburned in the face - in winter?!")

Yeah, so about that "new blemishes" thing... I was expecting 2 or 3, or even 4 new blemishes. I wasn't expecting, at the end of the day, to count nine (N-I-N-E) new blemishes! Wow.

And while I'm ok with that (only in theory, not really in actuality), I'm also not exactly leaving them alone. I've been using the little extractor tool to push/press out whatever it is that's been blocked.

So that's been speeding up my healing. I think. I don't really know for sure because I haven't left ANY alone. The strange thing is, these things will develop fairly rapidly. I'll wash my face in the morning and notice nothing on my cheek, but by 10am, I'll feel a little bump! By 1, I can generally extract something and the next day (sometime during the day), it's gone.

So I should expect another 2-3 weeks of this?

Yeah, I'm not exactly cheering. But nothing is forever.

Especially when I have a neat-o extractor tool.

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Day 32:

I can honestly attest that I currently have no new eruptions. I have noticed that my chin is peeling a little bit more now. I'm not sure if that's due to treatment or if the really cold wind is irritating my skin.

My skin doesn't look dreadful. Yes, I wouldn't mind if the dead-acne on my cheeks finished healing and I really wouldn't take it personally if acne just decided never to come back... but it is what it is. My skin actually looks really healthy. I look glowy constantly and I'm getting some color back into my face (I'm usually very pale).

I doubt I've seen the end to the "initial breakout", but it hasn't been so bad so far. At least, there's never been a day that I didn't want to get out of bed due to acne (due to still being sleepy... plenty of times! ;) ).

And dude! I just realized that I'm in my 5th week. So according to the little insert, I should be watchful for the "initial breakout" for another week and I'll be in the clear? I'll definitely take that!

Blazemore: You can find a variety of extractor tools here: http://www.nextag.com/blackhead-extractor/search-html

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lyha thank you for your enjoyable posts!

i have a couple of qs - what kind of skin did you have before you started your treatment...sensitive??? oil???

Also, has the retin A got rid of any of your blackheads (if you had any to start with)

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lyha thank you for your enjoyable posts!

i have a couple of qs - what kind of skin did you have before you started your treatment...sensitive??? oil???

Also, has the retin A got rid of any of your blackheads (if you had any to start with)

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Day 35:

The Retin-A treatment has been working in killing off or preventing new acne. I'll give it that. My skin is clear, except for the hyperpigmentation spots and those are fading. I look healthy, glowy, and I'm always startled when I look into the mirror.

I'm really protesting the fact that my skin is peeling again and the treatment is stinging upon applicaiton as well. I'm not sure if this is something I can attribute to the Retin-A or the really crummy weather.

Oh well, I know that this will pass.

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