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Long-Term Retin-A Micro - It's Not Working. What Now?

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I guess I'll start with a little background about my skin. I started breaking out in the 11th grade, and I would consider it moderate. By the time I started college, my skin was clear again and stayed that way until with the exception of occasional minor breakouts. Once I reached 24, however, my skin just started breaking out more and more. I sought the help of a dermatologist who prescribed Retin-A Micro .04%. I had a terrible initial breakout, but I was perfectly clear by the third month. It stayed that way for about six months before I started breaking out again. I didn't mind so much because the breakouts were so minor and healed so quickly. Also, Retin-A Micro kept me clear of cystic acne for more than a year. Unfortunately, I started breaking out again a few months ago. I think my skin is almost as bad if not worse than it was before I started RAM.

Now I want to share what I've been doing lately in case it could help anyone. I've tried a number of things, including supplements, treatments, etc. I will say that apple cider vinegar saved me from the terrible breakout that started everything. It settled my skin, and I definitely recommend it. The Clarisonic Mia helped, as well. I also got almost entirely clear from taking the following vitamins and supplements:

Vitamin D3 - 2000 IU

Vitamin B Complex (Sublingual)

Beta Carotene - 25,000 IU

Zinc - 50 mg

I think the reason my skin started breaking out yet again (just in the past week or so)is directly related to adding saw palmetto. This is when I started breaking out, and it also caused sore breasts. I believe it was perhaps causing estrogen dominance?

I'm going to continue taking the vitamins and supplments that were already helping, but I also added Nature's Way DIM.

My question for you is about retinoids. As I mentioned, I've been using Retin-A Micro .04% for more than a year, and it's just not working. I'm wondering if anyone has experiene with increasing strengths (from .04% to .1%). Does the higher strength work even though the lower strength stopped? Or should I move onto another retinod, such as Tazorac? I'm interested in the Tazorac .1% gel, but it seems more harsh than RAM. If RAM will work, I want to stick with it in a higher strength. The only problem is that I'm getting married in less than four months, and I just want clear beautiful skin at my wedding.

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Personally I would try and get the stronger Retin-A .1% rather than switching to Tazorac. Just because I wouldnt do a drastic change that may irritate your skin especially if you have a wedding coming up.

Absorica Aug 2013 -Feb2014

Claravis March 211 - July 2011

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Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with CW. From what I understand, your skin will acclimate itself to lower-strength retinoids after a certain period of time, so increasing the strength makes sense. You risk another initial break-out though, I bet.

My Accutane log (with pictures): Holy Isotretinoin Batman It's another Accutane Log!

26 y/o female- approx. 54kg

Absorica -40 mg, 1 daily, December 26, 2013 - February, 25, 2014

Absorica - 60 mg, 1 daily. February 26, 2014 - July 6th 

Probiotic - 1 daily

Fish oil supplement w/ vit D - 1 daily



Cetaphil cleanser

Food Grade Rose water - Toner

La Roche Posay Mineral Water Spray

Vichy 50+ Capital Soleil Cream for Sensitive Skin



Cetaphil Cleanser

Food grade Rose Water - Toner

Ziana (tretinoin/clinda combo) August, 2014 - Current

La Roche Posay Mineral Water Spray

Aveeno Positively Radiant intensive night cream

Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion- PM

Avene Cicalfate (as needed)

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Tazorac is amazing,absolutely.My favorite retinoid (and mind You I have tested them all;)) .But it's so strong and harsh.When I was using it I was basically peeling all the time.And of course my face was bright red 24/7.But I knew it wil be like that because my face is very sensitive.I just wanted to even out my skin tone,get rid the red marks and scars and make the black heads go away.All of this I achieved;D

I don't know if You have it in US,but if so,You could always try Isotrex or Isotrexin (that one is with erythromycin - anitbiotic).In my case it doesn't cause the peeling ,and if You have red marks and scars you will have to wait much longer for them to fade than with Tazorac,but It works great for pimples,blackheads ,and doesn't cause the irritation:) Hope that it helps.

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