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ShoeOfSin

9 Weeks Of Retin-A, No Improvement

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I have struggled with acne since my early teens (I am 22), and tried topical clindamycin, birth control pills and just about every OTC treatment available. I was really excited to start using Retin-A, and even more so when my skin started to fall off - at least it was doing something!

Nine weeks later, the irritation has subsided. My skin is drier than ever (and oily!) but it's managable. However, I'm still not really seing any results and I'm starting to feel disencouraged. My skin feels different, but I'm still getting pimples and comedones. Everybody keeps saying you have to be patient with Retin-A, but shouldn't I be seeing some improvement by now?

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Can I ask what your daily regimen is like? Are you moisturizing? Are you using anything else aside from the retin-a like antibiotics or using other topicals? I'm on about week 13 or so of retin a, so I can only tell you what my experience has been like so far and that is that it's been a bit like a roller coaster, up and down, up and down. I didn't have an innitial breakout until about week 5 and up until then my skin was slowly improving and then BAM! My chin broke out in dozens of whiteheads. Every day I was getting more and more, and they were all around my mouth and jawline and starting to move toward my neck(and I never breakout there!) I was getting frustrated, depressed but kept with it because that's what everyone else says, "Be patient, it takes time." By the end of week 7 the breakouts were dying down, I was getting less whiteheads on my chin, though my skin still looked awful from the purging. I started to feel hopeful again, things were looking up and then week 11 or so I broke out in to these nodule/cysts on the right side of my jawline. I've had them before but only one or two at a time and usually it was a rare occurence. Well, I broke out in about five or so on the right side, it was horrible. BUT, slowly over a week or so they started to go away and get better and as they did the left side of my face decided to break out in cysts and nodules. The breakout on that side of my face has started to clear, though I still have them they are a lot smaller.

However, despite the bad breakouts and my mom getting on me about, "Trying something else!" I stuck it out and I have noticed improvements. The improvements are hard to notice when you're still going through awful breakouts but they should be there. For myself I noticed that the areas where I wasn't broken out the skin looked healthier, had that glow to it and the texture and overall appearance was a lot better and didn't look so rough from the years of BP. I noticed the blackheads on my nose would slowly get darker and darker(I assumed because the layers of skin were being taken away) until eventually they started to clear. The pimples I get now don't leave so horrible red marks that last for ages, they seem to fade a bit more quickly than they did in the past. It's little things like that.

That's just what it's been like for me so far and as I say this I'm still not sure if I'm out of the woods yet on the breakouts. But I agree with those who say to be patient with the retin-a because I've wanted to quit so many times but I didn't. Also, I've found that using tools from my old skincare regimen and using them alongside my retin-a regimen has helped a lot. This is probably not for everyone because everyone's skin reacts differently but for myself I have extremely sensitive skin that's prone to overdrying but I've had no problems with this. My current regimen:

A.M.

Wash with Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

Wait 30 minutes

Apply just enough BP5% to cover my face

Wait another 30 minutes

Apply Neostrata Smoothing Cream Level 2(Basically just a glycolic/aha cream)

P.M.

Wash with Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

Wait 30 minutes

Apply 0.5% Retin A

Wait another 30 minutes

Apply Cetaphil Moisturizer

Sometimes I moisturize in the morning as well and sometimes I skip moisturizing at night, it all depends on how my skin is, but that's just an example of what I've been doing. At the start I was only washing, putting retin-a on and then moisturizing and then I read where other people had mentioned using other products and I figured that retin a isn't a one stop solution. It exfoliates and helps with cell turnover and helps clean out your pores I believe but I still think you need other things to treat the acne.

Anyway, I know I just wrote an entire epic there but I hope I was helpful. I'm in the same boat as you currently but don't lose hope! Keep with it a little longer to see if you get any results, you put in the first 9 already and those I think are the worst.

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Thanks a lot for replying! I use a very mild soap (big taboo right there but hey, at least it's pH balanced!) twice daily, and an oil free moisturizer in the morning. I've tried just about every skin care product available over the years, ranging from Dermalogica to olive oil. Nothing seems to work for me so now I just try to use mild, fragrance free products in order to let the Retin-A work it's supposed magic undisturbed....I wasn't sure about using moisturizer on top of the Retin-A but I suppose most of the Retin-A would be absorbed during the 30 minute wait.

As for improvement, I think the blackheads on my nose might actually be a little less visible by now, and pimples are perhaps healing a bit faster. Yay! My main concern right is the little white bumps in my forehead and temples, they seem to be extremely resistant. Maybe some BP with the Retin-A will do the trick (although I hate using it since I always manage to bleach my towels with it).

Out of curiosity, what are the main ingredients in Cetaphil? I live in Sweden and it's not available here, but I was thinking I might find something similar.

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Retin-A can take 3 months or more to become effective. My skin got worse for almost all of three months before I made big improvements.

I hope that will be the case for me as well...

I hate it when you're trying to convince yourself that it might slowly be starting to work, just to wake up with two epic new pimples huh.png I have scheduled an appointment with my GP, but I guess the next step is antibiotics and I'm really hesitant to try them. Haven't heard anything good about them, really.

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