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XenoMiang513

Starting My Journey With Retin-A .... Tonight.

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Hey everyone! I'm relatively new to the forums, although I've been browsing here for quite some time. Let me tell you a little about my story.

I'm a newly 30 year old woman and have been dealing with all types of acne for over half my life. When I lived in Wisconsin, being a cooler climate, I had mild to sometimes moderate acne but it was the pimples that would come and go within a couple days and never leave a trace. My skin care regime stayed the same all through my teens and 20's, using Ivory soap and moisturizer in various forms, and it worked well enough for me then. Skincare was really not a huge issue since my skin never really got to THAT point. In moving to Texas a few years back (where my now husband is) I've experienced the worst kind of acne I've ever had, cystic acne that once gone leaves shallow scars all over my face. I don't know if it's because of my genetic makeup, the hot sticky climate, age, or a combination of all the above but I can't shake it and anything I've attempted has made it progressively worse. I now usually have at least one acne bump one my skin and many shallow scars on my cheek areas and forehead along with one larger boxcar scar on my cheek. (yes I did pick some at that one) I will attempt pictures in the morning since the lighting is better to see exactly what I'm dealing with. (and we'll see what my face looks like in the morning)

After a consultation with a dermatologist, and establishing the fact that I cannot afford profractional laser treatments, she recommended me to Retin-A saying for many that it has been a miracle worker for their skin. She also told me how great it is for fine lines which, lets face it, have been popping up in certain places .. I mean I'm getting into my 30's now. I have now received my first tube of .05% tretinoin cream and am willing to share my journey over the months to come for all those wanting to read and live it with me.

This is night one, so I obviously don't have much to share. But I will keep you updated in the morning and let you know how my face is faring and over the next weeks what the degree of side effects are and hopefully some positive changes. I am optimistic that this will be it for me, but I've said that many times along with I'm sure plenty of you. My skin care regime, with recommendations from the derm and things that I've read will be as follows:

-Morning: Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser for all skin types followed by Neutrogena Sensitive Skin sunblock lotion spf 60+

-Night: Again, the Cetaphil then waiting 30 minutes to apply a pea sized amount of the Retin-A to my entire face (once every 2 or 3 days depending on my reactions) avoiding the mouth area, nose creases and eye area. Wait an hour or so and then apply CeraVe moisturizing cream to my entire face. Once my skin calms down I will try for every other day, or everyday if it gets to that point.

Again, I will hopefully have some pictures for you tomorrow. I'd love to hear your experiences with Retin-A and what you found to be a regiment that worked for you. eusa_pray.gif

UPDATE: So this morning 9/13 I had a very small amount of redness on my face but it doesn't hurt. I think the cream I got really helped. Again I will provide some pictures soon and keep everyone updated on my progress.

UPDATE 9/14: I know I don't have pictures yet, I guess I'm more self conscience than I thought. Well anyways, this is the second morning after using the tretinoin (I won't use the cream again until tomorrow night) and my face is faring well. I have a small amount of peeling around my smile line areas but it doesn't hurt and I don't have any redness or real discomfort so far. The peeling gives me some sense of relief actually, as weird as that may sound but it makes me feel as though it really is working.

UPDATE 9/18: Almost a week in and the only irritation I have is slight itchiness and peeling. So far no massive reactions but again, I'm not even at a week yet. The skin underneath feels really smooth though which is something I haven't felt on my face since I was a teenager. Skin has a slight orange peely texture, but nothing too bad.

Edited by XenoMiang513

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I too have just started using it, and i wanted to get your opinion...how often should it be used? like once every other night or every night? because boy am i scared for the initial breakout and all the side affects! I have been drinking apple cider vinegar for the last 4 weeks and i purged alot so i hope i dont purge too much on retin-a!

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Well, I was told to start off once every three days but depending on how my skin reacts I may try doing once every two days. I haven't done any kind of purging so I'm worried too how much I will, but I know I have to look to the future and bear with whatever it may bring. It gets to a point when there has to be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, so lets hope for both our sakes that this helps.

Oh, and I will be eating as little sugar as humanly possible and only drinking water since soda and candy really cause my skin to freak out.

I too have just started using it, and i wanted to get your opinion...how often should it be used? like once every other night or every night? because boy am i scared for the initial breakout and all the side affects! I have been drinking apple cider vinegar for the last 4 weeks and i purged alot so i hope i dont purge too much on retin-a!

Edited by XenoMiang513

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Don't mind me butting in here, but I just recently started retin-a as well and figured I could chime in with any advice etc. I'm just starting on week 8 right now, which may seem like I'm way ahead of anyone just starting, but believe me it is a slow journey. I've had acne since I've been 11 and now I'm 23. Before I started this new regimen I was doing an altered version of Dan's regimen which I've been doing for a few years off and on. Still got breakouts though not severe but every zit left pink and red marks, so my skin looked a 100x's worse. I figured, retin-a is supposed to help all that and breakouts, so why not? I've tried everything else except accutane.

So, here I am week 8 and here's my advice. Whatever you do, do not give up! Stick with retin a for a full 12 weeks to see if it starts to improve your skin etc. I know everyone says, "stick with it," and I know it's easier said than done, but in order to see if it works you have to give it that time. A lot of times(especially in week 5-7) I wanted to stop.

I'm going to be honest and say your skin will probably look worse at some point before it gets better(meaning you will most likely purge). I've never had it happen to me before on an acne treatment until retin a. I'm not sure what people are supposed to expect with a purging exactly but for me it was whiteheads. New whiteheads everyday, on my chin and around my mouth. And a few close to my lips. They didn't last long but then would be replaced with more and a few inflamed pimples as well. I believe the general concensus is that you're skin is turning over so fast that deep, plugged pores are coming to the surface. So, it's technically a good thing.

My first few weeks my skin was looking really good and I didn't break out until week 5 and now in week 8 I'm still not completely done, I do notice a big improvement compared to those really bad purging weeks though.

What I'm getting at, with this long winded rambling is that it might get a bit rough but stick it out if you can. Last week I was a sobbing mess and now I feel slightly more encouraged. I'm not speaking as someone who knows retin a works, just helping to encourage you both to keep with it in the next few weeks and hoping it ends up working for all us starting out.

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Nobody that replies here will be considered to be butting in. I consider this a learning and bonding experience for all of us going through it and anything we go through will only help the next person that wants to know about it. Plus we can help each other out, so I say KEEP CALM AND POST ON! hifive.gif

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Hi all!

Good luck with the retin-A!

I'm about 6 months into using tretinoin cream (0.025 for 4 and now 0.05) and it's true that it's not always easy. I had very mild acne, but it was persistent and no OTC products were working for me.

I didn't have any sort of purge until about 2 months into it, in fact my skin cleared up perfectly initially. My purge manifested as a million closed comedones all over my forehead. It looked like a non-inflamed rash! Of course, they got inflammed and then went away, leaving marks after.

Even 6 months into it, I've had some small break outs, but I attribute that to my search for a good sunscreen and trying different ones.

The most important thing when you're feeling upset about your skin is to take steps back and look at your face as a whole, and not at individual pimples. You'll notice that overall tone and texture have improved, and your skin is glowy! For awhile there, I was regretting my starting of tretinoin because I felt my skin was worse than when I started. But actually, my skin looks much much better overall!

It's normal for skin to clear, break out and clear again. Even if it does suck.

Also, take it very slow, it will minimize redness/dryness/inflammation. The schedule that I followed was:

Week 1 - Every 3rd day

Week 2 - Every other day

Week 3 - 2 days on, 1 day off

Week 4 - 3 days on, 1 day off

In fact, I STILL do 3 days on, 1 day off.

Good luck again!

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You guys are awesome!!! We have to think positively..honestly for me it's nt the purge that I'm scare of really sine I've purged like crazy with the apple cider vinegar..it's more of the dryness and flakiness and redness...but it has to get better!! Oh I have a question...is any of u taking oral antibiotics?

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You guys are awesome!!! We have to think positively..honestly for me it's nt the purge that I'm scare of really sine I've purged like crazy with the apple cider vinegar..it's more of the dryness and flakiness and redness...but it has to get better!! Oh I have a question...is any of u taking oral antibiotics?

Well I updated my original post with my update so far and I haven't gotten the redness or dryness yet, just a small amount of peeling around my smile line area (I didn't put it any closer to my mouth than that.). I know I've only used it once so far but I really expected my skin to freak out the first time and it hasn't, but we'll see after a couple more times if I have any other irritations. What strength are you starting on? I'm not taking any oral antibiotics, what are you taking?

hows it going? i use tazorac 1% but am debating making the switch to retina? does anyone know of the material differences?

The only real thing I read to be different is that the Tazorac may be a little stronger but apparently both are very closely related chemically.

Edited by XenoMiang513

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The strength on the tretinoin is .025%..I've been using it every other night and I haven't had any flaking or irritation..maybe because my skin is oily, but yea and I'm on doxycycline ...I wouldn't want to be on it but it's doctors orders and I can't abruptly just stop so I just have to keep taking it. And I've read around that taking an antibiotic while you are using retinoids is good because the inflammation and redness isnt too bad..we will see.

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In my problems areas, t-zone mainly, my skin is on the oily side as well so maybe that's the reason I don't have any real irritation yet. I wouldn't even care if my whole face was red and irritated and peeling like mad at this point, I just want something that works. I'm hoping I won't need to go higher in strength, the .05% seems high enough I would think.

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So I may be a little too optimistic about this whole thing, but I honestly think I can see a difference already. My cyst has gone done and since my skin peeled a little it feels so soft and looks better already. Here's looking to the future!

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