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Retinoids-Initial Breakout

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I have been thinking of trying a retinoid like Tazorac but I'm scared to death of an initial breakout. If my skin got a lot worse I would not be able to ride it out hoping it gets better as my skin is not terrible right now. Has anyone used retinoids and not had things get worse? Any overall tips in avoiding an initial breakout? Thanks.

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The retinoids breakdown the fibers holding the whiteheads, blackheads, gunk, and the skin together. They also cause the texture of the oil/sebum to change from a cloggy solid to a milky liquid. And the pores to mature and shrink.

When you start the topical, it can cause everything to "surface" nicely so that a gentle cleaner and GENTLE light exfoliation will remove the "flare up". But that's if you don't have anything big underneath. If the top skin is containing (holding back) a lot of debris, and letting it come to the surface at a controlled rate, adding the the topical may allow it to erupt forth suddenly, clearing your skin in the long run, but you'll have that initial outbreak. The topical is basically weakening the blockage while causing the pore to make more normal fluid, pushing out the mess.

So, the only way to prevent that is the doctor giving you a topical or oral steroid to prevent the flare up. They don't like to do this until you show signs you need it. So.... you could ask for a small script on storage in case you need it, but they might not bother to agree and want you to return if having an issue.

I could say that ice and hydrocortisone can help the flare up, but you might not think it enough. I've treated what seemed small, but then was a very large mass underneath, and the hydrocortisone keeps it from turning red/inflamed while the ice keeps it flat. But if you go to work or school or out for the day, those few hours might be all it takes to start surfacing, and the next available time to treat yourself might not be enough to conceal it. It really is hard to say.

I have "mild" acne, which I think is ridiculous because I have it everywhere. Entire face, chest, shoulders, back, and then "folliculitis" on my arms and legs. All the same to me--red inflamed bumps of pus or sebum plugs. It is considered mild due to being spaced out, not "scarring" (besides the 2-3 years of discoloration), and not large. I hate textbook type Docs...

But with all that said, I'm happy to go through a flare up when it keeps my skin "clear" (my face only, but hey, good enough when you have docs as horrible as I have).

If you are moderate to severe, go for it, cause you're already "bad" and this will be "better". If mild, you might make it "worse" looking, but it's only bringing out all at once what is already there. So if you rather have your body keep it contained and breaking out at the rate you currently are, then you might want to pass.

Another thing, you might want to leave it on light for only 1 to 2 hours, then wash it off gently. Then skip reapplication to every other or every third day. Build up to leaving it on longer and longer, until following the directions. This allows the loosening to be gradual, and you can possibly have things drain without a flare.

But, if you notice one flaring up, you might want to then keep it spot treated to allow it to surface faster and drain with less resistence. Sometimes, placing the topical on the skin too gently just makes the flare turn into a prolonged process, so you might want to go full strength and let it drain quickly. It all depends on how gunky it'll be with coming out clean or problematic. If you go full-strength, you'll possibly avoid any breakouts, but WILL have to deal with dry skin, peeling skin, cracked skin near the nose folds, eye corners, and lips/lip corners if you got too close.

Moisture. Moisture. Moisture. And nothing harsh for cleaner. Skin can feel paper thin.


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Don't use it, I had porcelain skin before summer and then my dermatologist put me on retina micro and ever since I have been battling with constant pimples. I dont even feel like going out anymore

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Im using the mildest retinoid (differin 0.1) yes man the initial breakout was shit. Week 1 improved, week 2 i got worse,week 3 improved,week 4 got worse again,now in week 5 and it seems improving and i wish it will continue to improve.One thing that seems to help a little during initial breakout was clindamycin gel and spot treatment with BP

Im using it with low dose accutane though(20mg/day)

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I've done 8 weeks on Differin so far. I didn't even notice I had my initial breakout until I look back at photos. It never seemed that bad. I have had 2 more breakouts but they literally consisted of 3 pimples each time. I spot treat in the morning with BP so think that may of helped a little. Also, as merch said Differin is the weakest so that may of made a difference in the severity for me,

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