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fletch1978

Nothing new, just my experience

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So, I'm starting a retinoid experience log...nothing fancy or drawn out, just want to put my experince ot there, and hopefully have any questions answered that I might have.

Week 1 - .05% tretinoin cream QD along with 100mg minocycline BID. No difference...just alot of excitement about trying yet another product. (sigh)

Week 2 - same as above, except forgot to mention I'm using Cetaphil face wash and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 30 (phew, thats a long name). No big deal, a little red, but it could be me. Still normal breakouts.

Week 3 - ok, so breakouts have increased SLIGHTLY, but the big difference here is that a)these new zits are HUGE in comparison, and never really come to a head. 99% of them are on my chin, jaw area, so when i shave, them seem to get cut open (ouch), bleed alot, then stop and heal very quickly. No dryness, no peeling (ok maybe a bit).

Week 4 - Skin cleared up with one fading redmark, than 3 or more new of the above mentioned huge pimples appeared, and the same thing happened. Shaved, bled, and healed. Also, a rash of noninflammatory whiteheads came up along my right cheek.

Week 5 - Read somewhere that week 5 is a pretty typical time frame for major breakouts, and its right. My skin is schizophrenic, in that it seems so clear and healthy one day, and then a broken out mess the next (literally). Overall, at this point, I'm starting to see the other benefits of the tretinoin, ie, improved texture, less ruddiness, evening out of skin tone, etc. I likey, so far.

Week 6 - And here we are currently. Still getting breakouts, but like I said, they are the same type of breakouts that I started getting around week 3 of using the tretinoin. I like the overall improvement ive seen, even if I am still breaking out. For some odd reason, I don't seem to mind these breakouts, as since they have fundamentally changed from what they used to be like, I'm convinced its the tretinoin thats causing them, not just my own crazy skin. I'm looking foward to the improved quality of skin in the coming weeks, and will weather the breakouts as they come. Even though the literature says 12 weeks for maximum benefit, I have a hunch that it will be longer than that, which in a way makes me happy, since at merely week 6 I'm already so pleased with the results.

ps. I have an offer of switching from the .05% tretinoin cream to .05% tazorac cream. should i take it up? I do hear that potency wise, tazorac beats out tretinoin, but maybe the reason I'm enjoying the tretinoin is exactly that...its not to potent on my skin. Any inpu would be MUCH appreciated!

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Week 7 - Breakouts, all in the same area...chin and jawline. BUT, I'm only halfway through the 12 week mark, so I'm not discouraged whatsoever. On a side note, I know that, scientifically, topical retinoids dont absorb deep enough into the skin to reach the oil glands, so therefore can do nothing to reduce oil production. HOWEVER, it seems that my skin is behaving very much like it did when i was on Accutane, i.e., oil production is cut way back. And no, its not the drying effect of the tretinoin, because when i use topicals that dry my skin out, i have both dry skin AND oily skin (i'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about). Anyhow, thats it. BTW...i'm still asking for a response to my question about whether or not i should take up the offer to switch to tazorac .05%. Please let me know!

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Mid-week 7 - breakouts, same as before, all around chin and jawline...but thats not why i did a mid-week post. last night while shaving, i saw a whitehead, and decided to go ahead and shave it away, like ive always done. BIG BIG mistake. I nicked off a pea sized chuck of skin, which began to bleed copiously. it was like a horror movie in my bathroom :shock: it was a fresh blade, so i take that into account, but what i really attribute it too was the retinoid thinning of my skin. that, and my own stupidity. so, for future reference, DO NOT shave off whiteheads by intentionally nicking at it. especially while on a retinoid, topical or oral. lesson learned...

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Hmm...I've been on Tazorac before, like in the 8th grade. It gave me a lot of blackheads. That's all I remember lol. Thanks for the input! I'll try to stick to a simpler regimen but factors like weather and how my skin feels makes me switch it up a lot. It's like an impulse. =/

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As a girl, I never thought about what a pain it must be for guys to shave over their acne! Ouch! Anyway, I'm on week 13 of .025% generic retin-a cream and I've had wonderful results if you want to check out my log.

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Week 8 - After the midweek disaster with the shaving massacre, things are pretty much steady. In fact, and I know i'm going to jinx it here, but i've only had one small pimple this past week. now, i'm confused, though. i'm on a topical retinoid, a topical antibiotic and an oral antibiotic. i'm all for synergy, but how much of this can i attribute to the retin-a and how much can i attribute to the antibiotics? oh, i also use the 2% BHA liquid from Paula's Choice in the morning...what is doing what?! So, in essence, as promised, as soon as the breakouts stop (assuming they do), I cut back the topical clindamycin by one dose a day. if all goes well, i stop the clindamycin. then if all still goes well, i cut down the minocycline to once a day. then if all STILL goes well and my skin STILL isn't all broken out, I stop antibiotics and hope just the topical retinoid will be enough to maintain results. i'm a big proponent on not using antibiotics longer than necessary, because in this era of antibiotic resistant 'super bugs', i need to do my part in curbing excessive antibiotic use. seems so complicated sometimes...all over some effing pimples. :wall:

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Week 9 - retinoids are a very strange breed of drugs, to say the least. the overall improvement has been quite amazing....no more oil, even tone, a fresh, smooth, healthy complexion. on the other hand, hell can breakout (literally), in just one day. but then its back to the improved skin i just mentioned, as if the breakouts were never there. the marks from old acne are near gone, and any new marks just dont seem to form. odd, but i'm not going to complain! its funny that i used to think that topical retinoids were 'weak, ineffective, pointless'. especially since ive done several rounds of accutane, and after the miracles accutane performs, a topical cream seem woefully inadequate. but i have been corrected. and, from what ive read, dermatologists in general have almost 'rediscovered' the topical retinoids and just how effective and important they are in the treatment of acne. anyhow, this is running on kind of long, so ill not keep you hostage anymore. overall, my skin is just as i expected it would be at the 2 month mark.

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Just wanted to start out by saying thanks. Thanks for the lovely post you made in my log. After reading your progress i am going to try to stick with it.

I did notice you were on Mino though... Mino cleared me up beautifully within 3 months, and i started to see results in about 2. So you are probably seeing such amazing results because of the combination of retin-a and an antibiotic. Just be careful. After 7 months of the most amazing skin in my life the mino stopped working... s..l...o...w...l...y. And thats how I got where I am today. And the funny thing was I went on the DKR regimen while on Mino so that when this happened I would be fine. But it didn't seem to matter.

I just hope that it is the Retin-a working and not the Mino. Because when I was on mino it stopped my oil production, made me have an IB, and changed the overall texture of my skin-just like Retin-a claims to do.

I hope I can see the same results you are even though I am not on an antibiotic, and I hope that the retin-a is powerful enough that when you stop the mino you are still left with clear skin.

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Thanks for the comment :)

yeah, i have some concerns about the minocycline lulling me into a false sense of believing that the results I'm seeing are all due to the retin-a. i'm sure that the mino is playing a part in the dramatic difference in my skin that im seeing now. but my past experience with antibiotics is that they only ever really helped body acne, while doing little for my face. also, my skin just looks and feels fundamentally different than before i started the retin-a. i will of course have anxiety when the time comes to stop the mino, but i have faith that the retin-a can hold my results. optimisim never hurt anyone, and i think everyone can deal with a little more positive thinking regarding their current treatments, whatever they may be!

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Week 10 - i'm not used to looking in the mirror without expecting to see what i want to see...in other words, when im not looking at a mirror, i still FEEL like i have acne all over. so im always pleasantly surprised when i see how much progress my skin has made since starting the tretinoin. there is still quite a ways to go before i can say i'm crystal clear, or breakout free (indeed, i may never get to that point), but there's no questioning now that there has been a very significant improvement in my skin. even if the results stopped here and no more improvements are to come, i'd be happy, and say that the decision to use tretinoin was a success. and to think that i was one of the biggest scoffers of topical retinoids, seeing them as 'wannabe' accutane's. (admittedly, the accuatne was better...but the damage that can be wrought on ones body by taking accutane is not present with the topical retinoids.)

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Thanks for the comment :)

yeah, i have some concerns about the minocycline lulling me into a false sense of believing that the results I'm seeing are all due to the retin-a. i'm sure that the mino is playing a part in the dramatic difference in my skin that im seeing now. but my past experience with antibiotics is that they only ever really helped body acne, while doing little for my face. also, my skin just looks and feels fundamentally different than before i started the retin-a. i will of course have anxiety when the time comes to stop the mino, but i have faith that the retin-a can hold my results. optimisim never hurt anyone, and i think everyone can deal with a little more positive thinking regarding their current treatments, whatever they may be!

Oh gosh once I had clear skin after taking the antibiotic I still took it religiously, because I was so in love with my new skin, and I didn't want it to stop. I think Retin-A is much more powerful then BP, so you shouldn't have any problems... I am just warning you to actually ween yourself off. Cause i told myself I would but then I just couldn't :), it was as if that little pill was the cure to happiness. And it's good to see that you are being positive about your regimen- That's hard to come by. I just keep telling myself that I will continue to use this product until I become clear, I try not to think about the possibilities of failure. It can be hard sometimes though

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week 12 - so this is it. this is the the time period that one is supposed to wait to see if their treatment is working. and, i'm happy to say, it is. it's working BRILLIANTLY :) i'm still applying the tretinoin every night, i stopped the topical clindamycin and cut back the mino to one 100mg capsule in the evening. now as i write this, i'm concerned about the slow drop off of the mino. did the tretinoin work as well as it would have without the mino? is long term tretinoin going to be enough to keep acne at bay? (and aging, for that matter.) we'll see. i'd love to say, as so many often do, 'thank you for the support, i'm clear now...talk to you soon!'. but, i think that a) i owe this site more than that because i got so much out of it that it's only fair i put that much back in and b) i may come limping back here with my tail between my legs once again looking for an answer to my acne. i'm a worrier, and as such, i'm worried that i'm going to start breaking out again. soon. ah, well...that's another story altogether. but right now, i have completely clear skin. its healthy, glowing and smooth. i'll just try and enjoy this!

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week 12 - so this is it. this is the the time period that one is supposed to wait to see if their treatment is working. and, i'm happy to say, it is. it's working BRILLIANTLY :) i'm still applying the tretinoin every night, i stopped the topical clindamycin and cut back the mino to one 100mg capsule in the evening. now as i write this, i'm concerned about the slow drop off of the mino. did the tretinoin work as well as it would have without the mino? is long term tretinoin going to be enough to keep acne at bay? (and aging, for that matter.) we'll see. i'd love to say, as so many often do, 'thank you for the support, i'm clear now...talk to you soon!'. but, i think that a) i owe this site more than that because i got so much out of it that it's only fair i put that much back in and b) i may come limping back here with my tail between my legs once again looking for an answer to my acne. i'm a worrier, and as such, i'm worried that i'm going to start breaking out again. soon. ah, well...that's another story altogether. but right now, i have completely clear skin. its healthy, glowing and smooth. i'll just try and enjoy this!

Fletch that is such great news!!!

Even if you don't return, i will still be reading your log to compare to my progress. I hope that 9 weeks from today I can have the same progress

So you are finally breakout free.... go do all those things you told yourself you would do if you had clear skin... live!

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Hey Fletch

Thanks for the comment...

I don't know how to post it where you said. I'm on my second week of it now and everything is pretty much the same as when I started. As you can see in my pics it's pretty bad. I have an appt Tuesday with 20 derms for hard to treat cases. I a m looking forward to it.

Sounds like you are doing great. Glad to hear it.

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ok, so i might be throwing monkey wrench into my regimen, and if i am, then i know what to go back to. i am turning in the tretinoin cream in exchange for tazorac cream. i'm doing this after a long debate with myself because i've heardand read studies about the tazorac being *significantly* better at treating closed comedones (ie blackheads) than tretinoin. it also has mild antinflammatory properties, something which the tretinoin does not. i have the better part of 3/4 of a tube of the tretinoin cream leftover, so i'm going to put it in a drawer and come back to it if the tazorac isn't a good choice. now, the real question...will i have another IB? will my skin become irritated, even though its already acclimated to the tretinoin, another retinoid. i think the answer is no and maybe. if i do have another IB, however, perhaps its stuff that the tretinoin never dislodged, and i should be happy that it will get resolved. so, i guess that all the remains is to wait and see. believe me, i will keep everyone posted on what happens over the coming weeks and months.

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