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I thought I would share with you my survival guide for starting a retin a treatment. Feel free to add your own tips :)


Do not use BP on the area you are treating with retin a. BP hinders the effectiveness of the retinoids and will only contribute to dryness and irritation. Instead, try using tea tree oil to treat active spots instead. I also find that witch hazel helps.

do not pick at your face! This is a no brainer, but it is super important now because the retinoids are thinning out your akin, so you are susceptible to scaring. If you do pick your spots, try cleaning it with a mixture of witch hazel and tea tree oil then putting some 100% aloe gel to promote healing.

If the initial breakout is very bad, talk to your doctor about antibiotics, either applied topically or taken orally. These will help a lot.

be sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy!

During my IB phase, I broke out with angry red cysts. Below I will list treatments and products that have worked for me.

Tea tree oil

tea tree oil face mask by the body shop (as a spot treatment)

Pure aloe gel

sea salt soaks (like the kind you would do for a new piercing)

calimine lotion

epsom salt soak

Steaming my face


stop using a harsh cleanser and invest in a gentle one, preferably one that doesn't foam.

Use sunscreen every morning! Retinoids increase your voulnerability to UV rays.

Wait about 20 minutes after washing your face to aple the retin a. This will ensure your face is dry when you apply the retin a, avoiding added irritation.

Find a good moisturizer.

use a warm damp washcloth to buff away flakes.

Use bruts bees res-q ointment on any flakey dry spots. It works wonders.

Below I will post some products that have worked well for me.

Shiesido the skin car gentle cleansing cream

cetephil gentle cleanser

shisedo the skin care. Night moisture recharge

burts bees res-q ointment

origins drink up moisture intensive mask.

retin a can work wonders for your skin, but it can take up to 12 weeks for your skin to get used to it/start working! Truck through the beginning side effects :)

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Thanks :)

I am currently on Biacna which is a combination of clindamycin antibiotic and tretinoin gel. -- I didn't know about not picking because it will leave scars moreso because your skin is thinner ! its hard not to pick because everything seems to be purging out and wanting that little 'push' but ill try and calm myself.

I do use the alcohol free lavender witch hazel and use the Fresh Umbian Clay face mask as a spot treatment.

whats your suggestion for a 30+ gentle sunscreen?

thanks for the tips :)

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Neutrogenia age shield protection is SPF 50 I think and is non greasy. I know that the aveeno positively radiant is SPF 30 :) both of these are drugstore products!

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I've been using Retin-A since 18 (I'm 21 now) years old. I have absolutely zero scarring other than a few shallow ones that just occurred recently, and are already healing. It really is a miracle cream if you use it consistently.

0.05% Strength Cream by the way.

Edited by Josh92
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I'm glad I read this thread~ I've been using retin a for almost 12 weeks (11 weeks and 5 days to be exact) and it seems that I have not seen any good results and was on the verge of just giving up and quitting on it. I've always read on websites about how as early as 6 weeks you could see results from this so I was unsure as to if I should continue retin a or not. Thanks to your post I'm feeling much assured and hopeful again for retin a. I'm hoping to finally see results a few more weeks from now. thanks! :DD What do you think of celeteque moisturizer, though? I'm planning on changing my chia seed moisturizer from the face shop with it because I'm having suspicions it's one of the causes of some of my pimples -.-

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