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Not sure if Retin A is really working

Hi guys. I'm 19 and a half and I've had acne in various severities for the last 2 and a half years or so.

It gets better, it gets worse, it gets better again, but it never really gets BETTER, if you know what I mean.

I've been on Retin A for over a year, but I really only count about 2 months since my dermatologist switched me to the .1% (the .04% was completely useless). I'm also taking Doxycycline.

The Doxycycline took care of any issues of inflammatory stuff, and the Retin A has gradually removed a lot of the bumps on my forehead, but the problem is it's just not working as well as I think it should.

Now I basically get pimples that come and go sporadically on my chin, in front of my ears, and worst (and always has been) around my cheeks.

The thing is I don't know if these are new, or if they're just being pushed through my skin by the Retin A. The Retin A website said it would take 4-6 months to see FULL effects. However it could just be that more pimples are forming and the Retin A isn't controlling them. That I do not know.

The issue mainly with my cheek area is it is incredibly red and the skin just looks kinda awful. Like it's not pimples or scarred but it just looks weird and abnormal in those areas.

The other issue is my skin is INSANELY oily. Like insanely. It drives me crazy. It's mostly on my forehead and my nose. The Retin A has helped this a LITTLE, but not much. I have a feeling this contributes to the acne (although my forehead is the worst and the acne there is almost completely gone since I started using the stronger Retin A).

I seriously don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to take Accutane (which I hear doesn't work for everyone and causes colon problems now). I don't trust any new medicine like MaxClarity because most of them are worthless. I've tried a bunch of other things. My dermatologist is not helpful at all. If I could just get rid of the damn redness and oil it would look 100 times better even if I still had a little acne. I've stopped using salicylic acid because apparently it can be irritating, but I am also using benzol peroxide wash when I take a shower.

Maybe I'm just hopeless. I don't know. Clearly I'm not the only one.

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How often do you use the retin-a? Once a day or more often?

My regimen is similar to your and it has worked well for me but i have been doing it for almost 3 years (clear for the last 2)

Is the BP wash a prescritpion or over the counter...I have found a major difference in quality results and less irritation between otc bp and script bp!

What does your shaving routine consist of if any?

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Wish I had some advice for you, but I'm in the same boat with the same meds and same results. Only difference is I also take spiro and I'm old. :redface:

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I've been doing retin A usually twice a day, sometimes once.

The BP is over the counter.

As for shaving I don't shave much because I really don't grow that much facial hair but whenever I shave my face gets kinda itchy. Sometimes it breaks out. The areas that I shave are not really a huge issue with acne though.

I have a feeling that the Retin A is making my skin more red. At least it doesn't peel my skin anymore. I think it's gotten used to it. Maybe that's why the oil hasn't gotten better recently. I don't know.

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im having the same exact problems as you are. ive been using retin-a micro .04 for the past 2 and a half months now. im not sure if its working or not becuase im still breaking out. my skin is also really oily like yours, and if anything the retin-a is just making it more oily. ive been using duac in the morning too. ive been thinking that i should switch to .1 becuase the .04 didnt really make me peel at all, only for the first 2 weeks, its been oil city ever since. i think the .1 concentration would give me more results.

another problem is that my face is pretty red. its been that way for a couple of years now i think from the acne products ive been using (i use to slather on 10% bp everynight). and the retin-a hasnt helped at all, if anything its made it worse. i think accutane might be the only thing to help me, and you too. im 18 btw, so we have a very similar case here. i think taking accutane is worth the risks, becuase my self confidence is in the gutter with all the redness oilyness and acne on my face. i think it would solve both of our problems. my best friend just finished his course with no problems. he had the same problems as me before he started and he now has no acne, oil, and very little redness. if retin-a doesnt work after 3 months, which is in 2 weeks, im gonna ask my derm for accutane

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cubsfreak, I'd recommend the .1 Retin A. That stuff actually had a noticeable effect on both acne and oil (although not more than 75% on either one). The .04, as far as I'm concerned could just be hand cream. It's completely useless IMO.

And the peeling was more of an issue in the beginning, but it's gotten better.

Self confidence issues? Yeah I'm with you there. Didn't help that when I was in high school I was overweight. Of course now I'm in better shape but I still have issues because of the acne. And it's worse cause I'm in college whereas in high school it's more common to have acne (I mean nearly everyone has it to some degree).

The risks of accutane don't scare me that much, it's more the success rate. I don't know anyone personally who has used it but from what I've read for some people it's helped dramatically, and for others it has had no effect or even made it worse (or it's helped and then when they come off it, they breakout again).

The other issue is I don't think my mom would ever let me use accutane. Especially with those "have you taken accutane and had ___ problem? You may be eligible to sue" commercials. But honestly, if I had confidence that it would really work, I would do it.

The final issue with accutane is both my mom and dermatologist said my acne was not severe enough. It's not cystic and inflamed, and I've seen much worse acne than mine. But it still won't be healed by anything completely. And the oil and redness don't help.

I was considering trying Maxclarity because it actually sounds like it might not be another useless "miracle cure" for once, but who knows.

Honestly, my face would not look bad at all if it was completely free of oil. I really don't have a ton of pimples anymore. It's just the redness makes them stand out more, and the oil makes the skin look weird. And as I said before the skin between my cheeks and my nose looks weird anyway.

Edited by done_with_acne

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