i just wanted to post something here at the moment in order to track my progress and help others just in case it helps. I have had acne since I was about 14, and it's always been mild. I used differin when I was a teenager, however I do feel like it didn't clear my acne completely but rather made me dependant on it. I have tried almost everything, from becoming vegetarian to every kind of cream etc. I get facials every month so my acne was never out of control, but it was getting tiresome and didn't seem like a long term solution. My mom then said something to me, my brother's acne had gone away after using retin-a. So when i was on vacation in vietnam i picked some up OTC at the pharmacy. $10. Week 1 - I bought my locacid cream which is 0.05% Started using it with paula's choice salicylic acid 2% toner. Morning toner, Night cream. I started purging out this small white heads, so i got a facial and and had A LOT of them taken out rather painlessly. I have maybe like 3 normal pimples on my face. Week 2 - I have started to get dry skin. I use a sheet mask every other day now to boost the water content in skin. Have noticed that the mask helps to bring the heads to the surface, and yes, I do pop them. I do notice it helps the pimple heal faster, but yes, there will be a mark. If I don't pop the pimple it does not seem to go away. My skin at this point in time is still reasonably clear maybe, 2-3 pimples. Key take away - Use sheet masks every other day. Will help comedones come out. Week 3 - My skin is now starting to get a little bit more dry than tolerable. If i open my mouth wide the sides are cracking a bit. Tried to let my skin peel to get the full effect, but it seems like the retin-a works better with moisturised skin. I am starting to get this weird under the skin pimples, some come out some do not. If you moisturise, they're more like to come out. My skin looks blotchy and raw. Alot of the pimples that are coming out, are coming out from the old acne pigmentation, but as soon as they're out, the pigmentation seems to lighten and peel off. I'm assuming this means that theres stuff inside of the hyper-pigmentation that is getting pushed out. Is this the purge? The beginning of the week and brutal. Looked terrible. But, on the bright side, everything seems to be flattening out at the end of this week. I have been getting some pimples on my chin which, but very small ones here and there. Still tolerable.I am starting to moisturise my skin daily, and my skin is reacting well to serums, but not coconut oil. Will try almond oil with vitamin e next week. Skin is starting to look better, but I'm not 100% sure the purging is done. Key take aways this week - DO exfoiliate, it will help get rid of the small bumps and loosen plugs. I use the salicylic 1% pads in the morning before moisturising with argan oil. That's all for now, going away to india for a yoga retreat for 3 weeks. Will update on week 7. Fingers crossed!