Acne.org’s Real World Take
Works about the same as the other two topical retinoids, tazarotene and adapalene, and lands in the middle of those two when it comes to side effects. Should provide partial clearing, but comes with sensitivity when you first start using it. It probably won’t be a total game changer but it should help reduce acne.
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist? Make an appointment to get this medication. Don't have a dermatologist? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find one.
Used Tretinoin? Rate It:
Choose from 1 to 5 stars
May 22, 2018
on week 3
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!
April 27, 2018
PUSH THROUGH IT
I had suffered from comedones since I was about 16, and it just kept getting worse; nothing could fix it. My derm prescribed tretinion as a topical, and she warned me about the side effects (which all came true). At first, it's really bad. Not only will your skin be itching you constantly (because it's 'shedding', if you have blackheads/whiteheads like me they will probably turn into pimples and you HAVE TO WAIT FOR THEM TO ALL POP. That horrible phase lasted me about 3-4 months. But it's completely worth it. Looking back, I'm so grateful I didn't stop it (even though it got really realllyyy bad) because I finally got rid of something that was really bothering me. Just hang in there, it will get better and you'll be so happy you didnt stop midway
December 5, 2017
Awful month but there is a light at the end of the tunnel
I faced problems with acne through all my life and now, with 26 years old, I'm still with the same issues (the only notable difference is where the pimples grow). I have adult acne (hormonal acne) and this condition started to really bother me at the beginning of October; I was with 5-6 cystic pimples in my chin and left cheek. So I decided to seek for a 'birthcontrol pill' free treatment (side effects sucks) and went to the dermatologist. She prescribed me 100 mg of spironolactone and topic tretinoin 0,25mg/g with clindamycin fosfate 12mg/g. I was really excited to get rid of this problem, but actually, It just get worse. I've had the WORST breakout ever (a lot of cystic acne and some pustules), and was facing dizziness and fainting sensations due spironolactone. The conclusion: the side effects of spironolactone&tretinoin were worse than taking birthcontrol pills. Through all the month, I was sad, kind of depressed and with painful acne. Last week I visited my dermatologist and my gynecologist, I'm now taking Diane-35 (hopefully I'll switch the pill in the future), a lower dosage of spironolactone (50 mg), doxycycline (100 mg) and topic tretinoin. Since then, I had zero breakouts and the appearance of my skin is slowling improving, so yes, I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Apart from the prescribed drugs, I've made some daily changes that also seem to have helped. I'm using FPS 60 (I was using FPS 30 before) and I always manage to cover my face when I'm outdoor, I'm really engaged in moisturizing my skin and this really helps!!!!! I'm using this gel moisturizer with thermal water, 2 times a day. Also, it's REALLY important that your skin is completely dry when you are applying tretinoin. Finally, I'm trying to avoid dairy products (so sad). To put it shortly: if you're having a bad time with tretinoin, try to moisturize your face frequently, use high FPS sunblocks and apply tretinoin only when your skin is dry. And also, keep in mind that stress affects your acne situation and the picture can really get worse (try to relax). Hope it helps. (Sorry for my english, I'm from Brazil :) ).
October 13, 2017
Tretinoin cream works pretty well for me when I've used it. I'm fortunate not to get much peeling skin and redness from it- just some dryness, but I don't always use the the product straight up on my skin (I mix it with a bit of moisturizer if my skin already feels a bit dry). It never cured my acne completely but when I've used it I've noticed a big difference in the number and severity of my acne lesions- enough for me to really recognize the difference in my skin.
March 16, 2017
6 weeks in
Hello All! I posted a few weeks ago and now I am updatng you with my results. I have been on tretinoin .025% for 6 weeks now. My skin is honestly about 80% cleared. I had acne on my forehead, both cheeks, and neck area. My forehead is clear, my neck is clear, and my left cheek is completely clear. I have 3 pimples on my right cheek that came up after I used sunscreen for a couple days as I was out in the sun. I shaved with a single blade razor yesterday and relaized my face is super soft and very smooth. I think tretinoin is a miracle cure for me. I had a bad initial breakout. The initial breakout started in week 2 and continued all the way through week 5. I am over the intitial breakup and I think my face has come a long way. My advice is to stick with it! ALl good things take time and if there was some way to get rid of acne in 2 weeks then I wouldn;t trust it. This stuff really works. My acne is mainly gone, but I do have some darker spots. I never had acne scars that were indented or anything, but I had the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I am hoping that this will go away by week 8. I'm used to waking up every morning and having at least 2 or 3 new piples everyday, I litrally have not had a pimple on my forehead, left cheek, or neck in over a week. Once my right cheek clears up I think I will be totally clear and my confidence is already starting to come back. Give it time! My face got much worse looking for a span of 2-3 weeks but trust me it will be worth it. I am 6 weeks in and I can't wait to see what I look like after 10 weeks.
February 20, 2017
Good Product, Bad Regimen
I used Retin-A quite some time ago but never got past my first tube. It's compleatly to be expected to have some irritation and flaky skin and well as nasty breakouts for the first few weeks to a few months when trying a strong prescription acne drug such as Retin-A. However, it may be a little less normal to start using it and than days later being in enough pain that you start crying in class beacause your face hurts and having to go home. Okay, so I may be a little bit of a wimp but it was way worse than the 'minor irritation' my dermatologist had described. Imagine the warm stinging feeling you get putting on moisturizer after exfoliating or after a blackhead mask. Now imagine that but four to seven times worse and for hours. It sucked. Overall though I think my dermatologist jumped the gun by having me use a very high dose of Retin-A as my first hardcore acne treatment without having ever seen my reactions to different products before. Retin-A works very well for some people and not so well for others. I think that is most people start at a low dose and work their way up to using it every day or every other day they will probably have positive results. Just keep one thing in mind: just beacause you have bad acne or similar oily skin doesn't mean you should be tough back to your face. All skin-types can be sensitive so treat yours carefully and be cautious with acne mess like Retin-A.
February 4, 2017
Works when combined with the right medication
I have used Retin-A cream for roughly two years now and it has really helped with the scarring on my face from previous break-outs. When I first began using the cream, my face broke out so tremendously for two reasons: the first is that Retin-A is designed to bring out all the clogged acne under your skin, this could take months, and I also stopped tanning at the same time, so I didn't have the UV exposure killing the bacteria on my face anymore. My doctor told me that acne is primarily caused by only two factors: hormones and genetics, and unfortunately topical treatments by themselves will rarely give you flawless skin. Benzoyl washes help kill bacteria ON the face, but for most people like me, the real problem lies beneath the skin! After about a year of Retin-A use, I finally paired it with doxycycline and it was honestly a miracle for me! Retin-A is really a pain as far as drying out skin, but believe me when I say the good definitely outweighs the bad. I worked my way up to 0.1% but use what works for you since I have combination/oily skin. It's worth a try!
January 20, 2017
Oh Goody... Raw Skin!
First I'd like to say that I have been struggling with acne and acne scars for about 8 years now; I am an avid makeup wearer because nothing seems to work for my skin, and makeup gives me the self-confidence I lack. I would also like to say that this is not my first Retin-A rodeo. I was first introduced to it when I was about 16 by my dermatologist, who also prescribed that I take Doxycycline, use Clindamycin pads, and apply Benzoyl Peroxide to my face daily. This cocktail of prescriptions worked very well for me if I recall correctly, I think I just had to stop using them because my family couldn't afford it. (Having clear skin is so expensive *sigh*) Fast forward 3 years later and my mom takes me to the dermatologist as a Christmas present, and he suggested that I use, you guessed it, Retin-A once again. Whoopee. Alongside a prescription for Minocycline, and Clindamycin (in the lotion form this time). Yesterday night I started putting this concoction on my face and today I woke up with a face full of pimples and flaking skin. What a great life I lead. My dermatologist wanted me to apply it two times every day, so today I woke up, washed my face and slathered that sh*t right on. I put on my makeup and went about my day. When I came home, I saw that my face had peeled through my makeup (It doesn't get any sexier than this folks). I totally forgot that my skin is crazy sensitive and quite frail right now and so when I pulled out my Spin for Perfect Skin Spin Brush and tried to exfoliate the peeling skin away, I instead ended up removing a large portion of skin from the lower left-hand side of my face; very near to my mouth. My whole face burns right now, and I know it's my fault for being careless, but gosh darn it why me. I say don't use this cream/gel if you wear makeup everyday like me or can't stand the sight of peeling skin (because you're not supposed to do anything about it, you're just supposed to let it happen and wash your face with a gentle cleanser). It works but at a cost.
October 12, 2016
Works after some time
Ok so short history of my acne struggle: Started off as some minor spots when I was twelve, by the time I was fourteen my skin went haywire and I developed severe acne, mainly on my forehead and chin. My back was also covered in acne. I started using Diane 35 (heavy duty birth control) which cleared up my acne and gave me a few years of acne free skin. Eventually I stopped using the BC because of side effects and my acne came back. (Luckily for me the acne on my back never returned) Actual review: The first three months were, well...not that great. The first week my skin started burning like hell when I would apply the cream. My skin started to flake like crazy, making it hard to apply foundation over my face because the scabs were always visible, no matter what I did. It was around the three week mark when my skin started to break out like crazy. I developed zits on my entire face, even in places where I didn't have acne before. This made me want to stop using Retin A, but I kept going. After three months, my acne finally calmed down and scars started to fade due to the rapid skin cell turnover Retin A gives you. I am now using Retin A for almost three years now. Although it hasn't spared me from hormonal breakouts, it has made a huge difference to my skin and it would be much worse without it. Pro's - Helps with the reduction of acne - Fades scars over time Con's - Flaking during the first couple months of use + dry skin (so make sure you get yourself some heavy duty moisturiser) - Initial breakout Final verdict: I recommend using Retin A. Don't get discouraged when you experience an initial breakout. It sucks (trust me I know) but chances are if you give it enough time it will work.
Been using retin-A cream for mild but stubborn acne that I still struggle with after accutane (accutane completely got rid of my moderate to severe level of acne, and since then I only get mild but stubborn whiteheads/blackheads that are small but persistent). Best advice I have is STICK with it to AT LEAST the 6-month mark - yes, 6 months!
BE patient and give your skin time. Slow and steady. IF you're dealing with beyond mild acne and have moderate to severe, I HIGHLY recommend accutane FIRST to get rid of the severe acne, because nothing beats accutane.
For Retin-A I have JUST reached the 6-month mark and have been using it nightly for the entire time. After the intial purge, I go through consistent cycles of breakouts and then they clear - but over the 6 months I CAN confirm that EACH cycle is less severe and heals FASTER.
I know a lot of people use the 8 to 12-week rule of thumb for topicals but honestly that is NOT enough time to tell. If by 6-months you see ZERO improvement in severity then of course revist your derm/doctor. But do not expect clear skin in 8-12 weeks. Everyone's skin and acne are different so please be patient.
At 6 months I STILL get the same cycle of breakouts and then it clears but like I said, each cycle has been less severe AND heals faster. If you think about it, I'm still only HALFWAY until I reach 1-year of every day use, so I can't wait to see how it progresses.
Be VERY patient. For me, the lowest possible dose (0.01) has worked best - I'd rather slow and steady and avoided the initial irritation of redness/flaking/peeling nightmare etc.
*My derm prescribed me the lowest dose 0.01 and said try to stick with it for a full YEAR to really tell if I can rely on this topical to maintain clear skin and get rid of the mild/stubborn acne
1 user(s) found this helpfulReport