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update on my progress

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After 9 weeks of nothing short of hell, by my 10th week the Retin-A Micro is helping pretty consistently (I shouldn't jinx myself!). I still have a lot of red marks, but those will heal in time. Otherwise, my face is pretty clear--I'm getting maybe one or two small spots every other night (which is fine, considering that pre-RAM I'd have up to 10 and for the first 9 weeks on RAM up to 50!).

It's been a struggle to find the right method of exfoliation--one that will keep my pores unclogged and control the flakes without irritating my skin. I started stupidly in the scrubs-and-peels route, which obviously was a bad idea; then tried the Oral-B electric toothbrush, which surprisingly just increased my flakiness; then decided to stop exfoliating entirely, which only left my pores super-clogged and skin with a bad texture; and FINALLY I think I've found the perfect solution for me--the Elizabeth's Spa Clean Weave Facial Buff. It's very, very gentle (meant to be a few steps down from a facial loofah) but still exfoliates well, and I haven't had any flakiness since I've been using it. I just clean my face twice a day by lathering the Purpose Bar on it and rubbing the buff gently across my face.

Anyway, let's hope my regimen keeps working! Thanks

Oh, and if anyone else is interested in trying the same facial buff that I use, I bought it in the skincare section at Wal-Mart for just $1.39!

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Hi Jess! So glad to hear you are making progress .... it sounds like you have learned to ride out the setbacks, which is the toughest thing with retinoids. As I keep saying, progress is not linear!

Anyway, welcome to the forum -- we are very happy to have you. :)


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Thanks, Sara!!

More good news to report...

The ultimate test was last night. I went clubbing (no, not baby seals), and whenever I do this, the combination of moisturizer, sweat, and cigarette smoke around me makes my skin look like CRAP by the end of the night. Despite the fact that I was all sweaty and gross and didn't wash my face at all until I got home, my skin looked fine! And it looks good today, too! I am happy!

Yay Retin-A Micro!

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Hi, Sara,

Sorry I've been AWOL recently... I'm in the process of moving and changing jobs, been busy dealing with all that hassle and haven't been on the forums as much recently! But it's settling down now.

As for my skin? Meh. I don't really know what it's doing. I'm *waaaay* past week 12 on the RAM at this point, and I'm still not consistently clear.

Here's the problem. My skin likes to switch from really clear to really crappy every 4-5 days or so. So, for 4-5 days, I'll have no new breakouts and I'll look in the mirror and say, "wow, I have good skin today." Then I'll wake up one morning with 20-30 new spots all over my face, and I'd classify my acne as severe. Then, 4-5 days later, it decides to clear up again.

Has anyone ever had this problem with the retinoids and successfully resolved it?

Before the RAM, my skin was consistently kinda crappy. Now, it skips kinda crappy and just vacillates between the two extremes--really clear and REALLY crappy.

I've tried making little adjustments to my regimen, like taking a night off the Retin-A every few nights or so. But even with just one night off, my skin breaks out like crazy as soon as I resume the Retin-A.

It's annoying. :wall: I need to see a derm, but I won't have health insurance again for another month or so. Right now, I'm starting a clear phase, but I know in a few days I'll get a breakout from hell again.

Grrr! Suggestions appreciated.

What's up, Jess?

Hope you are still doing well ....

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Well, there are a couple of possibilities.

Either the Retin A is not enough to cope with your acne on its own ... or else it is irritating your skin so much that the resulting inflammation is causing breakouts.

To reduce irritation, you can moisturize lightly before applying the Retin A. You might also try using it every other night for awhile and see if the regularity of that schedule helps at all. Or you could put it on for 15 minutes each night and then wash it off.

Also, you might look into anti-inflammatory foods and supplements ... SweetJade, the moderator on the Diet and Holistic forum, is extremely knowledgeable.

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facetia i too have been using RAM for a while to i think for a little over 4 months now but in conjunction with benzaclin to help the inflammation... and to help with the flakiness i use st.ives scrub and prior to not exfoliating regularly i was just like u with using RAM, i would have clear skin for about a week and then id be in hell again, but now i only see about one zit every few weeks or so... so here is what i do:


wash with ST. ives scrub followed by neutrogena fresh foaming cleanser in the shower

apply benzaclin...wait about 5 minutes...apply cetaphil spf 15


same as morning but sometimes i dont take a shower at night so its up to you

apply RAM .04%...wait 15 minutes...apply cetaphil lotion

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