AFTER SO LONG I HAVE FOUND THE KEY !!!!
As implied, I have dealt with acne since early high school, and I am now in my fourth year of university. Yup, great timing eh? I have tried everything under the sun, and intense stress this past year threw me into a severe acne breakout on both my cheeks.
I went to the doc, and was prescribed retin a. At first I was quite skeptical and put off using it thinking it wasn't gonna work like all the other products/antibiotics (which btw are a terrible idea- your body is not supposed to be on antibiotics for a long time) etc... and I also didn't like the idea of having to wear sunscreen everyday (I figured the sunscreen would just make me look more greasy and break me out).
Anyways, I decided against accutane due to side effects by telling myself I should at least give this ago before doing "the hammer".
Boy am I glad I did. This stuff works amazing. it's exactly what my skin needed, clearly. After all these years, I have never seen results like I do with retin a. I have been using it for 3 months to this very day, 0.025 percent (I have fair, sensitive skin). Few pimples still coming up here and there, but my skin is almost completely clear, compared to earlier this year. Very weird though, retin a normally makes people very dry, but I got the opposite effect: my skin was greasy greasy for the first two months (4 blot sheets a day). It's better now, but still using 2 blot sheets a day. For me, the pimples only show up mainly around my period now, whereas before it was unpredictable... like 2/3 new ones everyday.
(Night) Manuka Honey +16 mask for 2 hours
rinse in warm water, pat face 80 percent dry
pat pea size of cetaphil lotion onto face
wait 45, apply dime size of retin a to entire face, patting it in
(morning) Wash my face using the Sukin all natural exfoliant
pat face 80 percent dry, pat pea size of cetaphil lotion onto face
This seems to work super well for my skin. The manuka honey has been amazing at keeping my skin redness free and blotchiness free while on retin a, and moisturizes so well.
Also, I never use sunscreen. Probably not good since it is recommended, but my skin tone seems to be fine and I haven't noticed any "sunburns" or whatever. I heard something about the sun diminishing retin a effects though but whatever I hate the feel of sunscreen.
EDIT **** After 5 months I have discontinued. Worked well, but didn't reduce breakouts very much in the end. Was better for scarring. Made my skin oily and orange-tinted and uneven. nothing compares to Neostrata... SEE MY NEOSTRATA GLYCOL RENEWAL REVIEW. Incredible. Retin A was good, but Neostrata is INSANE.
I've used this product for 10 months! TEN WHOLE MONTHS. I am impressed with the results it gave me. Before, I was riddled with acne. Small dots and zits all on my forehead and cheeks. It was horribly stressful. I've tried everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Anti-biotics, gels, creams, anything they can write a prescription for. Retin-A must have been my favourite. It's a sloooow process. I didn't see full results until around 3 months- and it did get quite puffy and inflamed before it got better. After 3 months... my skin improved drastically. I was not completely clear though. I stopped using Retin-A a 6 days ago because I am going on Accutane. I mean- I still have acne and Retin-A really really helped- but I'm looking for something to completely get rid of my acne. Thanks Retin-A! but It's time to bring in the big guns (Accutane)
Using this product is like taking a detour through hell to get to heaven. Seriously. I've suffered from acne ever since I graduated high school in '09. It's been 5 years of constant battle. My acne has gotten worse year after year. So painful and unbearable, to the point where I don't even go out with friends because I'm embarrassed. I use the, "I don't like going out" excuse. Anyways, I went to a dermatologist for the 1st time on September with hopes of obtaining Accutane. I was rather bummed when she told me I had to try Retin-A tretinoin 0.04% gel first alongside antibacterial pills. My insurance covered it and it was less than $30. I began using the gel every single night religiously. My skin became so irritable, sensitive, itchy and painful. My skin began to purge like HELL alongside my cheeks and jaw line. Painful, cystic acne began to emerge out of the nowhere. Yes, it deteriorated my self esteem. I began wearing my hair down at work to help conceal all of the bumps I had. This went on for the first 5 weeks. I am now on my 6th week and I am beginning to see some improvement in the texture of my skin. A lot of the acne on my cheeks has subsided and my skin is very smooth. Scars, so it seems, are beginning to fade away. I am still purging along my jawline but I'm sure it will subside soon. My makeup goes on smoother and I couldn't be any more content. I will give it a few more weeks and hope that one day I can go makeup free. Please, please, do not feel discouraged if your acne becomes unbearable and painful in the beginning; this is how the gel works. Give it some time. It will get worse before it gets better. It will work! Xo
My daily regimen is as follows:
-Cleanse w/ Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser
-Apply Hyaluronic Acid all over face (about 4 drops)*
-Apply a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 (SPF is a MUST!!!)
-Remove all makeup w/ wipes
-Cleanse w/ Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser
-Wait 15 mins
-Apply pea sized amount of Retin-A tretinoin gel
-Apply Hyaluronic Acid all over face (4 drops)
-Apply Cetaphil lotion
Hope it helps!
*I purchased the 100% Hyaluronic Acid from Amazon. It is an excellent product and has allowed for my skin to replenish itself and helps absorb the moisturizer into my skin, thus preventing it from flaking due to the dryness Retin-A causes. I recommend it!
My forehead and right cheek are still purging a bit. No cystic pimples, just the regular, small, annoying ones. However, the texture of my skin has improved dramatically. My skin is so smooth! My left cheek has absolutely no bumps whatsoever. I shall continue to use!
I am still purging along my sideburns/jawline area, but nothing too drastic. Though I still have really pigmented scarring, my cheeks are very smooth. No rocky mountains here :-) I am determined to allow this product to work at its full potential so I will continue to use.
I currently have 2 breakouts on my face. ONLY 2! The rest of my skin is bump-free and smooth. I can't even believe it. I'm so happy I stuck through this hell of a roller coaster because I could've easily quit. Many stated you don't begin to see results until after 3 months and I must say I completely agree! Give it time peeps! Now to tackle my acne scars. Wish me luck. Xo
Ladies and gentlemen, I have zero breakouts. ZERO BREAKOUTS at this very moment. Even after I threaded the sides of my face. (I was terrified of threading since it caused breakouts before. I found that using alcohol wipes on the area prior to threading AND after, prevents your skin from breaking out). I honestly cannot believe it. My skin is as smooth as a baby's bottom. 3 months of hell were so worth it! I am now left with a ton of scarring, so I purchased rose hip oil. I apply 3 drops all over my face after applying retin-a. I hope it works!
Considerably reduced the whiteheads in my T-zone but left my skin reddish, blotchy and very dry after a few weeks. Too bad as it made my face look fresh and younger looking at first. Even tried skipping a day with no better results. Harsh in Canadian winter even for my oily skin. Mine was .04% retinol and my insurance covered it. However, after reading other posts on this site, I'll give it another shot. I want to look young and be whiteheads-free for once in my life. It would be a miracle if this happened.
An alternative I've found while off RAM are honey masks. I've been trying this twice daily in the last two weeks and whiteheads are almost gone but not the wrinkles. Honey makes your skin marvellously soft and non greasy.
Edit Oct. 23, 2014: Thanks to some of your tips, I've been reusing RAM but only after my skin is done flaking from the previous application, which is 2-3 days. My skin already looks more luminous and fresh. I use a very hydrating face cream the day after to avoid the dry feel on my skin as well as reduce the flakiness.
I'd been using Neutrogena healthy skin night cream and Dennis Gross alpha beta pads for years, but finally decided it was time to step up my anti-aging efforts. Thankfully, I don't have major skin problems or wrinkles. Just want to keep my skin looking good. I avoided retin-a cream due to acne triggering ingredients, and instead opted for the micro formulation. Some points about the micro:
1) It can be used right after cleansing with no need to wait;
2) Do not buffer it with any other creams as that will render the product ineffective;
3) Do not apply anything over it if possible;
4) Remember to wear sunscreen and/or stay out of the sun
5) Be nice to your face. Use a gentle cleanser and don't scrub it.
I started off with the 0.04% strength, using just less than a pea-sized amount (less is best!) every 2 days. On off days, I applied a small amount of cerave at night to help with minor flakes that went away within a week. After 2 months, I added 2% bha on the off-mornings, while still keeping RAM application to every 2 days (no need to change frequency). So far it has been ~6 months and my skin looks great. I don't get flakes or peeling, but once in a while my face can feel a little dry and tight. Those days I skip the RAM and just apply cerave. So does it work? Well, I regularly get told how great my skin is and how even and natural my face looks (psssst....I normally go bare faced!)
I just start using it last May 20 so I'm still experiencing breakouts so I'm just gonna use it for 8 weeks since that was my dr said and so scared about all the breakouts I'm 40 yrs old and scred that I'm might have more acne.. If somebody could advice me with this product I'll appreciate it. I was prescribe to use it 2x a day. Need help and advice Thanks a lot
In my teens, i had horrible oily skin, large pores, whiteheads, always had at least 2 or 3 cystics pimples, and acne scars. I was so self conscious of my skin that I never socialized with anyone nor did I join any high school activites or sports, it was that bad. I discovered retin-a and chemical peels at a dermatologist visit back in 2003. I did strong peels once a month and used the retina-a nightly religiously. After a year passed and I stopped getting chemical peels, my skin has never been better although not perfect. Im now 26 years old and still use retina-a to upkeep my skin, i only use it twice a week though because I do have to admit, it makes your skin very thin and sensitive. I was first prescribed the cream years ago but something in that made my face greasy, so the micro gel works the best for me. I can tell i will not have any wrinkles as well anytime soon because of the retin-a, my skin is super smooth. Just a note: never wax any part of your face if on retin-a, parts of your skin WILL rip off! And when applying retin-a at night, make sure your skin is completely dry and use a pea sized amount, pat it onto your skin DO NOT rub it in. Also, your skin will become dry so use a nourishing moisturizer even if you have oily skin. Trust me, those little tips make a huge difference in preventing irritation.
My experience seems to be the same as many others - Used this product years ago and could NOT stick with it. It was unbearable. I know, however, that if you can make this stuff work for you, it will produce benefits that no other product can. So I've begun using it once again, differently than before. I used to use it for one night then wait until the severe burning, redness and peeling died down to use it again, which ended up being once a week usage. I wasn't able to use it consistently enough to see real results. My skin just couldn't handle it. I should mention two important points - I have incredibly sensitive skin that reacts in a huge way to seemingly anything, and my goal in using this product is to decrease pigmentation/acne scarring, decrease breakouts/clogged pores, and smooth out my skin texture. Other info: I'm a 28 year old female, I'm using the .04% strength, my skin is very oily but still gets flaky really easily.
Here is what I'm doing: Every day during a span of time that I'm home alone and it's ok to be makeupless I wash my face and WAIT 30 minutes. I then apply a pea-sized amount (in actuality it's probably half that) to my whole face - dot it all around then smooth it out. I do not apply any more under any circumstance. In the beginning, I left it on for 1-2 hours. Sure enough I had peeling so I knew that was an appropriate amount of time to start with. After a few days of this, I increased to 2-3 hours. I'm currently using it for 3-4 hours, and I've been using it now for 3 weeks. I did try 5 hours one day and ended up with a chemical type burn, very painful. So I stopped for a few days. Even at this duration, I sometimes will skip a day or two here and there to let the reaction calm down. I must say tho, this is much more manageable doing it this way. I also use Paula's Choice BHA, ProActiv Glycolic Toner, and ProActiv Benzoyl Peroxide lotion every day (one layered over the other, at night/under makeup - Never in combo with the Retin A Micro). I exfoliate with a baby face cloth or the ProActiv cleanser, and I moisturize with a Paula's Choice gel moisturizer. Some days my makeup goes on ok, and some days it doesn't. But I'm willing to stick it out. If I have an important event and really want to make sure my makeup looks good, I will make sure to skip at least the day before so that I can minimize flaking as much as possible. Usually the day of is ok as long as the peeling is under control that day (peeling is usually delayed by a day or two).
What I'm noticing after 3 weeks, currently in week 4: My skin texture is becoming smoother.
I'm determined to keep using this so I can see full results. I will update in a few weeks or sooner if I notice any bigger changes.
Update: It's been one month, currently using it almost every day for about 4 hours each time, give or take a half hour. Today I used it for 5 hours. My skin looks the best it has looked in a long time. Old hyperpigmentation is fading. Texture is smoother and skin seems to be peeling less (although may take that comment back tomorrow haha). No active breakouts.
Update #2: It's now been just about 6 weeks. I'm noticing that my skin is thinning and I have to be more careful with it now. I can use the retin a micro for up to 8 hours at a time, with no crazy burning/major redness, just very dry peeling/flaky skin. For some reason it seems to depend on the day how well my skin will tolerate it/how much dryness and how long it lasts. My skin doesn't look as good as it did two weeks ago - my skin can literally look fairly good one day and pretty awful the next (blotchy, red, uneven, broken out) - For me it pretty much all depends on my hormones. That said, overall there is a *definite* improvement. I'm currently using it every second or third night (it's tough to use it more because I want my skin to look good in makeup...). I'm going to start every second night religiously and I'll update. It was a bit easier to use it daily for a shorter amount of time but I know the duration is important as this topical is time-released... To get the full benefit, you need to use it for more than a few hours. It's been a great way to ease into it tho and I don't think I could have done it otherwise! One thing I find is helping is to spray my face lightly after I've set my makeup with powder with a hydrating spray - The one I'm currently using is by Earth Science. I don't think it really matters what you use as long as it doesn't irritate your skin. It helps disguise the peeling. Some days it looks pretty great, other days it's quite noticeable. Random observance: My skin seems to feel more firm. Will update in a couple weeks. :)
Update #3: It's been 2 full months. I took a week off when I was away on vacation because I didn't want my skin to look peely. 2-3 days after stopping, my skin looked pretty great. Makeup was a pleasure to apply and much quicker bc I wasn't spending my time carefully concealing. I'm back to using it - the first time I used it since the week break I peeled big time and waited three full nights in between use again. The second time was less severe, more manageable. I'm due to use it again tonight, so I'm back to every second night (if/when possible, I decide the night of if my skin's ready). Spots where I had a blemish and it peeled are leaving large red marks that gradually fade. Life cycle of blemishes is greatly reduced. Still few breakouts in comparison to when I wasn't using this product.
Will update in a month.
I have suffered with acne since my early teens and Retin-A is one of the only products that has worked for me. It's not a quick fix and took over a month to show results, but over time it has really controlled my breakouts and helped to clear my skin. I started out using .04% a few times a week, but now my skin is no longer sensitive to the medication and I use it every night. Occasionally, I get a few dry spots but I put moisturizer on the dry area and have no further issues. It's been a lifesaver for me and really transformed my "problem skin' into 'great skin". I recommended Retin-A to a friend of mine who has cystic acne and it dramatically changed her skin as well after a few month. It's definitely worth a try!
I like this incredible well! It has transformed my skin!