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Hey guys, 
I'm here to share my story about Retin A damage. I used Retin A for 2 months (exactly 12 uses) and it destroyed my skin. I had very nice skin before this happened and was only given Retin A as a preventive against aging and for a few chin breakouts. It has caused huge pores, orange peel texture, dents, lines, cracks, dehydrated, dry, molted skin with a shiny film covering it. I'm extremely depressed about this, but I'm still hopeful that this damage can be fixed. I'm just short of 3 months out of stopping Retin A but it seems the damage has progressively gotten worse. This thread is a means to not only share my story, but to also warn others. Putting my pictures out there makes me extremely vulnerable so although I'm depressed about this whole ordeal I'm not giving up. Feel free to share your own stories and whatever information you deem important and/or useful. Just remember this is totally individual and there is no "quick one size fits all" remedy for this. So keep that in mind and know that what works for one person may not work for another. Let's please support each other in this!
2 Befores And then close up After IMG_1642.JPGIMG_2028.JPGIMG_3109.JPG

Edited by Yola4
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After countless hours searching and sending hundreds of messages to skin care specialists, I think I found the closest thing to an actual scientific answer that we will get. I am not a fan of promoting things before I know they actually work. So I will update this thread as I go whether I progress or not, but hopefully I will heal. I start this new regimen in a few days and this will be a very slow process as the skin barrier is rebuilt. There's already a couple threads dedicated to this type of damage or similar damage on this site so I didn't expect many to comment. This will be more for me, sort of like a journal of my thoughts, and for future sufferers. And of course, anyone that wants to contribute is welcome to. If you have any questions feel free to inbox me. I pray that we all wake up from this nightmare soon. 

Edited by Yola4
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Hey yola! I had a very similar experience to yours (same symptoms) except I'm now 4 months post damage and luckily I've seen some improvement. I think the trick is to bring down the inflammation so that your skin can start healing properly.

All I've put on my face for 2 months is emu oil, the ordinary's niacinamide and psoria gold sensitive and its looking a lot better. I don't have any dents, the shiny "scaliness" that comes with an orange peel texture is receding and my skin feels very smooth and supple. I'm still dealing with some shininess and some open pores but it's improving. I've given myself a year to heal before I make any judgements. I have no idea whether these things will work for your skin or not but I wanted to reach out with the hope that that maybe you'll find something helpful. I really recommend joining the IPL Laser Damage and Support site (you have to send an email to the administrator to get membership). Reading the recovery stories of electricboom and chase315 got me through my lowest lows. All they did to recover was use emu oil and take supplements so the trick is less is more!

It goes without saying no exfoliation for the foreseeable future, eat healthy (dairy and gluten free - I see you already do that), take supplements (collagen, tumeric for inflammation, etc) and try to take things month by month. 

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Hey Brittaback!
Thank you for the positive words of encouragement because this is very stressful and making me depressed. I'm trying to rebuild my barrier with a specific plan by an expert on dermal repair. I have used some of the things you mentioned but I probably didn't give them enough time. Oh yes, I'm already a member of the ipl and laser damage board under the same name. But no one ever visits there anymore
:(....I have read both electricboom and chases story and was also inspired but my skin looks beyond chewed up. So it's distressing which I'm sure you are aware of. In fact, I'm a member of every skincare board out there now! Thank you again for the support during such an emotional time. I'm going to DM you to talk more! 

Edited by Yola4
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Retin a cuts down on your skin layers. Maybe that's why it appears that way. Once the layers regenerate, it should be fine. Maybe ask your doctor for a lower dose retinoid? 
Hows it going now?

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Hey ronrox,
Yea, it definitely thinned my skin. And my skin was in such a good place before this disaster. Now I'm breaking out once again. I'm trying to rejuvenate the stratum corneum and acid mantle with dermal repair products. No more Retin A for me....never again! It'll probably take a year to 1 1/2 years to recover. I was told I won't see repair until 3-6 cellular cycles due to the fact that the new skin coming in is already damaged. My barrier is in emergency mode and isn't functioning properly, but the pores should shrink back down and the orange peel look should diminish as the inflammation decreases. This is going to be a true test of my patience! I'll update this thread as I progress. Thanks for asking how I'm doing! :) 

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I'm so sorry for your experience. I can speak for over 20 years of experience on Retin-A. A lot of it has to do with the strength you are started out on. You should be started out on a weak dose, like 0.025%, no more. Also you should be wearing a sunscreen religiously to protect the new skin that is being exposed every morning. I am assuming your dermatologist told you to wear the Retin-A at night. Your cells will turn over at night. 
I would recommend a really good moisturizer like the Cera Ve line at Walgreens to get your moisture barrier back in line. That's what my dermatologist has me on and it does wonders. I am on a very strong Retinoid called Tazorac. Maybe you could work up in dose on your Retin-A if the problem is that your dermatologist started you on a high dose? Don't lose hope!! I would get a second opinion if I were you. It never hurts! Good luck!

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On 9/12/2017 at 7:58 AM, clearalltheway said:

I'm so sorry for your experience. I can speak for over 20 years of experience on Retin-A. A lot of it has to do with the strength you are started out on. You should be started out on a weak dose, like 0.025%, no more. Also you should be wearing a sunscreen religiously to protect the new skin that is being exposed every morning. I am assuming your dermatologist told you to wear the Retin-A at night. Your cells will turn over at night. 
I would recommend a really good moisturizer like the Cera Ve line at Walgreens to get your moisture barrier back in line. That's what my dermatologist has me on and it does wonders. I am on a very strong Retinoid called Tazorac. Maybe you could work up in dose on your Retin-A if the problem is that your dermatologist started you on a high dose? Don't lose hope!! I would get a second opinion if I were you. It never hurts! Good luck!


Hey! I probably should have specified that I started out with Skinceuticals retinol .05% then went to Retin A .025. So yea I did start out correctly. I also used sunscreen religiously. But probably exfoliated (lightly) more than I should have. :( Either way this should not have happened! From researching, I've found that Retin A just isn't good for some skin types. It appears that quite a few people have experienced the same thing. I'm glad it has worked for you though. I just want my skin back! I hate dealing with this mess over a cream nonetheless. Thanks for your comment! :) 
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Hi! I'm so sorry you're still feeling bad:( I have used some of the skinceuticals products before and some were gentle but I wasn't impressed overall. I like Mario Badescu if you're looking for something simple for right now. Anyway, I totally know what it's like to want your skin back. 
I hope your skin heals nicely. Maybe go see another dermatologist to help you out? I'm going to see mine this upcoming week to help me out for acne...
 

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Hi Yola,
im recently going through the same thing as you, very stressful. I wondered if you could update me on your progress? I’m hoping to hear your skin has returned to normal. Thank you 

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Are you seeing any improvement ? I'm similar but way worse due to 1 ipl. I think with retin a damage you can get some real progress overtime . I don't know abiut the product use though . I'm using nothing and my skin is incredibly dry and so itchy I can't sleep. I am taking all the internal supplements and drinking water but that's not going to stop water loss from the face bevause no barrier. Not sure if I'll ever have a barrier again . I also got a zit several times s year, small ones, maybe the hairline or something , now I have 9 zits all at the same time, they seem to be forming where I have deep red cuts from the ipl. Don't really care about the site other than I hope they don't scar since the skin is so wrecked 

I guess everyone can handle different things and there is the need to keep moisture in and thrn the need to not interfere with your Skin's healing process, last thing it wants is a chemical of any kind .

the people who have been successful stopped everything, that's the plan I'm on but I've never had dry skin and now it's truly dehydrated , I can't stand it really.

sorry you're going through this . It's so depressing and I don't even leave home anymore . I look 20 years older and like I'm made of wax and the ipl does bizarre things to your texture , put weird designs on your face .

just wish there were success stories . I see people on realself saying it gets better but their photos look the same , or worse . 

I woulf nkt try the emu and honey method you saw on realself , that post has a lot of questionable things , one being that she used other people's photos and said it was her. The other obvious thing is that honey is terrible for damaged skin, will dry you out and exfoiliate. The worst thing you can do is exfoiliate , never exfoiliate again . Whatever we get bsxk will be weak. You are very young and that's a huge advantage here .

you will get better . Please update if you can 
thanks 

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Same thing happened to me from the use of Accutane..! I had a very bad sunburn on Tane, stopped it, and my skin is a real mess now. Like real mess. Scarred pores, ice pick looking scars, inflammation, etc.

i stopped using everything for a couple of days and my skin felt better but ‘tight’. I started moisturizing again and ohhhh what a mistake. Even with Glaxal Base or Toleriane, my skin got crazy, all the pores reopened, the orange peeled texture reappeared, the burning sensation came back, etc.

These retinoids are definitely not for every skin type, especially not the very sensitive ones. I just hope things get better in time!

Keep us posted about your improvements a year later..!

Hugs,

Catherine xxx

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Hey guys,
Sorry I haven't updated and I'm so sorry to hear you guys are also experiencing this. It's now been 13 months for me and no improvement. I spoke to someone who healed and am actually trying their method but since it's kind of controversial I'm holding out on talking about it until I know it works. I also just started serrapeptase. And I absolutely believe things get worse without moisturizer even if it burns and stings like hell and causes inflammation. I just use a plain bland eczema cream because I tried the caveman regimine and things got way worse with dryness and dehydration. Please DO NOT listen to those on this board promoting peels or any other type of exfoliation. We have to repair our thin fragile damaged barriers not thin them out anymore...
I wish you guys well. <3 My heart goes out to all of you going through this. 

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Hi. I Got exactly the same kind of damage, But from Benzoyl Perxodie - orange peel texture, constant inflammation, redness,  irritation, sensitivitet, holes/pores, scarred red/Brown open pores.
Any updates?

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Hi Yola!  

I'd love to hear what you are trying now.  I have a very similar experience with RetinA.  My skin is completely different, and I too took it as a preventative for wrinkles/aging skin and oh boy do I regret that.  My problem is mainly with acne and the inability for my skin to heal properly from it.  I started the retinA last October and discontinued use end of December when I started to notice acne flair ups that would not heal properly and cause huge red blisters (often times with yellow crusts forming - as if it was a staph infection).  These would take 1-2 months to heal depending on the size and stay a red mark on my face (I still have a few many months later plus 1-2 huge new marks per month).  

I went to my derm about this and he basically told me I am wrong and that I just have regular acne or rosacea and retin A wouldn't cause new acne.  Needless to say I am not going back to him.  I have been on a routine with AHA (The ordinary 10%) at night and niacinamide in the Am following both w/ Squalene.  It isn't causing additional damage but the healing is the same (very slow) and the reaction to breakouts is similar as well - very irritated skin (I used to just get regular pimples that were localized and never had a lot of redness).  

Good luck to you and if you have any tips that work please update here.  thanks!

IMG_1206.jpg

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No updates yet this will be a long process
Hi Essie, your skin besides the acne looks good to me...I just see regular skin texture. Some dehydration. I could be wrong though...Maybe it's the photo? But the fact you can use an AHA makes me think it's not a barrier issue since most of us can't tolerate much of anything...even water burns. I hope the best for you.

Mine is bright red and bad but I'm hoping to get it even better than it was before the damage. This will take an internal and external approach and time probably 8 months or so. I'll be back then. Praying for all of us. ❤️ 

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Hi Yola,
I really appreciate your post regarding the experience you had with Retin A. I too have suffered since using 0.025 pct of a trentinion cream ( a generic brand of Retin A) used only 4 times on my forehead, 2 times on My chin area and never even applied it to my cheek area and it ruined my skin as well. I followed the steps and used a sunscreen as well. I now have very large weird pores that are connected with lines and look like wrinkles everywhere with odd shapes developing. My cheeks were also affected and I didn’t even apply it on my cheeks.  The veins around my eyes started to appear blue and very noticeable and 4 new wrinkles ( which I never had before) under my eyes appeared the next morning. I thought that was just the uglies that everyone was mentioning. Unfortunately it wasn’t. For some reason I notice my face looking or appearing worst even after I stopped. It took about a month to start seeing the open pores on my cheeks and forehead cane later along with big deep wrinkle lines and zigzags.  I would really like for this to end. I’ve tried all the supplements recommend on the other sites from others that have experienced this same reaction. So far I haven’t seen much difference. My face has changed a lot since after I stopped In June.I know it’s still early and only had this on going reaction for 3 months or so, so I’m not giving up.  I would say it was a very bad reaction to say the least. I’m looking for hope and there has to be something out there that can help repair this damage. Doctors will say it’s just me aging, but that can’t happen in a few months. I had laser damage just a few areas with textural issues and that’s why I even tried this cream. It only made things worst. One product which I find makes my skin appear a bit better is from LaRoche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. I think the B vitamins topically help repair the skin. I seem to tolerate it quite well. I’ve read over 100’s of posts looking for answers. I have yet found any great stories except for 1 which was repaired from taking supplements.  
B3 is something that I am testing out. It’s a B3 serum, I will let you know if I notice anything positive. A question I have is when did you notice the lines and marks stop forming? Does it take a long time for it to stop reacting? I feel that the trentinion cream is still in my blood stream. I wish I knew how to counter it from reacting. If you hear of anything would you please let me know. I hope we can all get better soon. Thanks so much for sharing. 

Edited by Mo7
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The exact same thing happened to me after using A313 (a retinol pommade), which has excellent online reviews and had been recommended by a friend (with a very different skin type). When I put it on the first night, my skin felt warm and kind of burned, and the next day I could see a slightly grainier texture, but assumed if I kept using it, it would get better and smooth everything out. It kept getting worse instead over about a month of using it a few nights a week.

I had some cystic acne before this, but not these skin texture issues. I now have large pores by the sides of my nose/cheeks, diagonal line scars, and worse acne scarring on my cheeks, along with the grainy texture. This was around 7 months ago. I am hoping it will heal over time.

I think the advice to not put any actives at all is the best from my experience: no acne or anti-aging treatments or anything that exfoliates (for example: no vitamin C, retinol, AHA, benzoyl peroxide, etc). My skin looks better when I slather it with thick moisturizers (right now I'm using Orlane samples I got from my mom) and when I use a sunscreen (one that doesn't have irritating ingredients). Right now I'm using a Devita sunscreen and it doesn't seem to irritate the condition.

I found the following advice helpful. I really think that some people who have more sensitive skin cannot tolerate some of these chemicals and treatments. I've read a lot of other posts about retin-a and laser treatment causing this kind of damage.  

https://faceonomics.blogspot.com/2017/02/how-i-fixed-my-dehydrated-skin.html

I think combating dryness and allowing the skin to regenerate is key. I want to try micro-needling at some point but am scared to do that as well. Has anyone tried it for this condition? Also, has anyone tried Mederma for this? 

(I'm attaching a photo below of my skin right now, which I hate to do, but I am hoping that this will help others going through this. I'll post updates if I get any results/try anything new.)

my skin nov 2018.jpg

Edited by EmilyBimily
added another question and photo
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How is everything going 9 months after your last post? Sending love to your skin and its healing. Struggling with this has been terrible and severely lowered my quality of life. Praying that healing is possible. 

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His am currently going through something similar. My skin has not recovered from over exfoliating. My skin is severely dehydrated. I don’t know what to do and this has been very hard.

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