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navya

Starting Retin-A!

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So....after trying lots of "natural" treatments for acne including turmeric, witch hazel, green tea, egg yolk, mud masks and even hundreds OTC products since I was 14 (now Im 21), my acne still has not improved as much as i would have hoped. As of today, I have given up on all these treatments and will start Retin-A 0.05%. I'm going to post my daily results and maybe some pictures if i notice any significant changes. Hopefully, posting on a discussion board will motivate me to not give up on this product like i did everything else in the past.

Prior to treatment: Mild acne; 1 active pimple on right cheek, a few scars and some reddish/brown marks on both cheeks/forehead

This is the regimen I follow:

-AM- Dove sensitive skin soap --> Cerave AM facial moisturizer with SPF

-PM-Dove sensitive skin soap-->Cerave PM facial moisturizer --> wait 15 minutes and apply Retin-a

-St. Ives scrub every other day

-daily Zinc supplements

-limited dairy, sugar and gluten/refined starches

* side note-I've been using Cerave for the past 6 months and its pretty great. Its the only sunscreen and moisture that does not break me out. Also, Zinc is amazing. It makes my skin heal faster and prevents it from getting oily

I know I can expect a lot of flaking and irritation the first few days of treatment. There may also be some purging which I'm not looking forward to :( Does anyone know what else to expect with Retin-a?? When do most people begin to notice improvement?

Edited by navya

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Day 1: Using retin-a overnight did not irritate my skin as much as expected. Its a little red and one of my old pimples which never healed properly has popped up again. The painful cyst on my left cheek has reduced in size instead of coming to a head and is also starting to flake. I've noticed some flaking around areas where I have red marks and on my nose, but no alarming changes yet.

Edited by navya

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I've been on it for 7 weeks now. I started breaking out at week 5 and I'm still breaking out :( But I'm hopeful that from week 8 to 12 I will see some improvements. It's not easy to go through "the uglies" but apparently if you stick with it you'll be happy with the results. Keep us posted on your experience!

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Hi

Retin A works slowly so you need to be patient and it can seem worse before it improves. My daughter saw improvement by about the 3 month mark and remarkable improvement by 6 months ( all her pih was gone!)

The only thing I would mention is that she was advised against using any scrubs while on the Retin A as they can cause major irritation especially something like the St Ives scrub. Any kind of manual exfoliation like that is not recommended and scrubs that have particles in them can actually cause microscopic tears in your skin which will make it worse.

Just my two cents worth - what works for everyone is different!

Good luck.

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Hi

Retin A works slowly so you need to be patient and it can seem worse before it improves. My daughter saw improvement by about the 3 month mark and remarkable improvement by 6 months ( all her pih was gone!)

The only thing I would mention is that she was advised against using any scrubs while on the Retin A as they can cause major irritation especially something like the St Ives scrub. Any kind of manual exfoliation like that is not recommended and scrubs that have particles in them can actually cause microscopic tears in your skin which will make it worse.

Just my two cents worth - what works for everyone is different!

Good luck.

 

Thanks for the advice, I'll avoid the St. Ives scrub then!

Day 2: no new breakouts but also no new changes of existing pimples, more flaking and dry spots in areas of PIH

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Day 3: some more peeling, one new breakout where I had a clogged pore. The cyst on my cheek which I had prior to treatment is a little larger and more red.

Edited by navya

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Day 4: more peeling and itching today, not just on jaw but also cheeks. A few new mini-breakouts at hairline which is an unusual location for me. Otherwise, skin looks more clear and hyper-pigmentation is turning lighter.

Edited by navya

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I took retin A which really did nothing to me at all, I was using it for 4 months. I'm now on accutane but I don't think I ever got an initial breakout with retin a and it wasn't harsh on my skin. The accutane IB IS SO MUCH WORSE!

Edited by cshock1

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day 5: face is really pink today and very dry but peeling is less, initial breakouts are healing nicely.

Edited by navya

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day 7: Ay old cyst finally came to a head and drained this morning. Yay!! It was bothering me for 2 months I'm so glad the huge bump is gone. Also, while the retin a has been breaking me out in tiny whiteheads, they usually disappear within a day or two and are easy to conceal. Overall my skin tone looks better than last week; I don't think theres any changes in my scars or old PIH yet but its still a little early. My skin is still ridiculously dry and burns for a few seconds after using moisturizer. I've been using Retin-a every other day because daily is just too much for me. Now my eyelids are dry too, even though I didn't apply Retin A there. Has anything noticed this happening to them? I tried using vaseline over my eyelids, but they really burn! Maybe when I wash my face in the morning the retina a spreads there or something?



I took retin A which really did nothing to me at all, I was using it for 4 months. I'm now on accutane but I don't think I ever got an initial breakout with retin a and it wasn't harsh on my skin. The accutane IB IS SO MUCH WORSE!

Im sorry it did not work for you, did you use it daily?

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Yes, I also noticed that when I first started using it (my eyes were sensitive, dry and red although I hadn't used it near my eyes). I think it's part of the process of getting used to it. Also, I think it's normal that it gets absorbed by your skin and sort of spread a little - like a paper towel maybe? I'm glad you're having success with it early on!

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day 11: skin is still dry and peeling, however it is no longer as red. Skin is still breaking out in small whiteheads which heal quickly. I've been taking a break every 3rd day so that my skin can recover on the day off.

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Just returned from dermatologist this morning, and now I'm more confused than ever! Anyway, she gave me a script for Tretinoin (Retin A). Do you spot treat with it or do you apply to entire face? Her notes say to NOT spot treat, but Internet info says to apply to entire face. Also, are you using it every day? She also gave me samples of Aczone and Tazorac to use. So confused!

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My quick personal story with retin-a. Started treatment July 2nd 2014, noticble improvement August 1st. I was prescribed tretinoin cream .05 + clindamyacin. I was to apply clindamyacin just the morning, then before bed apply Tretinoin. This worked FAST to clear up acne but I was left with unsightly "red" face. I was "over" medicating and transitiond to tretinoin only + spot treat clindamyacin as needed. Now for application, apply pea sized amount to cover entire face, after 1-2 mos the face will become "used" to the prescription. At this time I recomend spot treating stubborn areas after initial application, wait 20 mins then go to sleep. the Impact made by these two medications is unmeasurable. Remedy after remedy failed on me, I would try almost anything. Now I. A different person with clear skin :)

Ok here are the products to use:

MORNING

wash: Cetephil gentle skin cleanser (not the face cleanser) there are two different kinds

Sunscreen/lotion: Aveeno protect + hydrate 50spf for face

Medication: clindamycin (only spot treat)

NIGHT

Wash: Cetephil gentle skin cleanser

Medication: tretinoin cream (pea sized amount) after 1-2 mos (spot treat) only at night

Oh and no more scrubs, or dove crap soap. Not needed and anything that "bubbles" is horrible for the face.

Xoxo have fun!

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Thanks, Djones175! The Tretinoin may not be a possibility for me after all. Due to my age, my insurance will not cover it. :( So I'm only using the Aczone and Tazorac samples right now. Fortunately, the dr gave me a lot of samples of both. The Aczone will cost me $200+ a tube out of pocket. Ouch! Not sure about the Tazorac cost. I just started using these so I'm going to see how it goes. If neither works, I guess I'll end up getting the BC pill RX filled and begin using that as a last resort. This is definitely hormonal acne I'm dealing with. So far I really like the Aczone as far as application goes. It goes on so smooth and actually makes for a great primer under my foundation! If a tube lasts a really long time AND the Aczone works, I may just have to bite the bullet and pay for it. We'll see! I'm also using these in conjunction with my Paula's Choice products.

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Day 18: My skin is finally getting used to the Retin A. Its still very dry but moisturizer seems to get rid of that, and theres no peeling. I am still getting little whiteheads every now and then but they are less frequent now. Skin tone is more even, but still no significant changes in the scars/PIH.

Last week, I switched over from using dove soap to a cerave foaming cleaner, but this seems to be just as drying. I guess I'll buy the cetaphil cleanser since it seems to be easier on the skin.

Edited by navya

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navya: are you ONLY using the Retin A? My derm gave me samples of Tazorac and Aczone. I'm having trouble finding a happy medium with these products. The acne hasn't returned (yet), and the red marks from the old pimples aren't fading at all. The Aczone makes my face peel and flake horribly, so right now I'm only using it every other AM. I've backed off of the Tazorac since my face didn't seem to like it either. I can't seem to get an answer from other users to the question of will my skin eventually get used to these products and stop peeling/flaking? I'm doing every thing I can to NOT start taking BC pills again.

PM: Cerave Cleanser, Cerave PM Moisturizer w/some jojoba oil mixed in; Tazorac every 3-4 days

AM: Salicylic Acid Cleanser (generic form of the Neutrogena), Paula's Choice Hydralight moisturizer, Aczone every other day

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LHARTWICK:

My daughter has been using Tazorac for about a year now and has seen great results, but it works slowly (painfully slowly!) It took her skin a few months to get used to it (without being red and flaky) and about 6 months for her pih to start fading but after a year all her pih is gone. She applies it at night only. You really need to be consistent and patient.

She was also prescribed Aczone to use in the morning to get rid of her inflamed acne but after using it for 3 months with no improvement she stopped. She has been using Benzaclin in the morning for the past month and is getting great results. But as we know what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.

My only other comment would be that maybe you should use a gentle cleanser (ie,without salicylic acid) as our dermatologist recommended not using products with any other acne medications (eg. salicylic, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid etc) as they may irritate your skin more if you are using Tazorac. Just my two cents worth!

Good luck!

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Hope7 - thank you! Very helpful. How often did your daughter use Tazorac in the beginning and did she work her way up to using it daily?

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LHARTWICK:

Her dermatologist had her use the 'short contact method' (apparently this is a thing - you can even google it!) every other night for the first 2 weeks and then every night after that. This involved applying the Tazorac (on clean skin) and leaving it on for 5-10 minutes and then washing it off with lukewarm water before going to bed. Apparently you get the benefit of the medication without the irritation especially for people with sensitive skin.After 6 months he said she could leave it on over night but she never has because it has worked well for her just leaving it on the short time.

You have to really go with your own skin's reaction so if your skin is really red and irritated take a day or night off of the medications. Just my opinion.

Hope you find what works for you.

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No problem!

She used Aczone for 3 months (so her routine was - Aczone in the morning, Tazorac in the evening) but the Aczone did not help her active acne at all.

So now she uses Benzaclin (routine - Benzaclin in the morning, Tazorac in the evening). she has been on this routine for a month and it works very well for her.

She still gets the odd small patch of dry skin (usually around her mouth for some reason) but her moisturizer handles that easily. She uses one by EltaMD which doesn't contain any pore clogging ingredients.

These topicals make you more sensitive to the sun so make sure you have a good sunscreen too.

:)

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End of week 4: My skin is doing so much better than when I started. I went to class today without any makeup/concealer for the first time and I didn't have the urge to hide! I still do have some dark PIH spots but overall my skin tone is significantly better and there are less dry spots this week. Yesterday I ate lots of chocolate because I was so happy about my skin and now I have two new pimples on my chin and forehead. Unfortunately Retin-A doesn't seem to prevent sugar induced pimples :(

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week 5: no new breakouts. Scars are little lighter. Starting peeling a lot again. My skin refuses to stop being dry.

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week 8: I think I jinxed myself. My skin was doing so well and then all of a sudden I broke out in a big painful zit on my cheek. It really hurts and i hope it goes away soon.

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