Retin A


533 reviews

82% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$


Retin A Cream Each g of cream contains: tretinoin 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.05% or 0.1% in a bland, hydrophilic base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: butylated hydroxytoluene, isopropyl myristate, polyoxyl (40) stearate, purified water, sorbic acid, stearic acid, stearyl alcohol and xanthan gum. Retin A Gel Each g of gel contains: tretinoin 0.01% or 0.025%. Nonmedicinal ingredients: butylated hydroxytoluene, ethanol undenatured and hydroxypropyl cellulose. Retin-A Liquid (0.05% Tretinoin w/w) polyethylene glycol 400, butylated hydroxytoluene and alcohol (denatured with tert-butyl alcohol and brucine sulfate) 55%

on 10/26/2012 6:50:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I've been using Retin A .05% for four months now and I'm quite pleased with the results. My skin is less oily, the pores look smaller, and the tone is more even overall, particulary on the neck and chest. I don't have many lines or wrinkles, I can't say how well it works on those. I started off using it twice a week, half an hour after washing, then three times a week, and I now use it every second night. I didn't experience much in the way of irritation or peeling, but I had been using a lactic acid face cream for a few months prior to starting the retin a. The only times I've experienced irritation are when I've put it on damp skin right after washing, or when I've used the lactic acid cream on alternative nights to the retin a (duh). So basically when I've had irritation, it's been my own fault for not following the instructions. Anyway, both times all I had to do was stop using it for about a week and I was fine. I purchase it off Ebay for a very inexpensive price so this definitely gets two thumbs up from me.
Edit: While retin a did help my skin somewhat, it never made much difference to my age spots or melasma. I continued to get irritation occasionally, and due to the irritation, it even made my melasma look worse. Using retin a was too much of a juggling act. I went back to using a otc lower strength retinol product with added skin calming ingredients. Prescription retin a is just a bit too much for me.

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 10/10/2012 5:45:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I've used brand name tretinoin in one form or another for 20 yrs. I began in my 30s to treat stubborn "adult acne" and I did experience results. The results have never been 100% eradication of breakouts (but major improvement), and I had to be patient (waited 12 long weeks before judging effectiveness), but my skin had improved enough then to continue using to this day. The undesirable side effects (peeling, redness, increased sensitivity) were much less than anything containing Benzoil Peroxide (sp?). This product is effective for acne and tretinoin is the only product that truly works for aging concerns. Patients have to be smart about how they use this, and deciding what else they use on their skin. Your skin will always be sensitive when using a tretinoin product. Be careful not to combine other products containing acids on top of the tretinoin - your skin will rebel. Even after 20 years, I use Retin-A Micro Pump 0.04% no more frequently than every other night. I alternate with a OTC retinol product, I stay out of the sun, use physical block sunscreens (less irritating) and read labels on products in detail. My skin is aging much better than friends who have not been as diligent about reducing sun, not smoking, and using a tretinoin product.
Now, here is my dilemma: Retin-A Micro has become astonishingly expensive and is not covered by my health insurance (and I use the largest provider in my state!) I just requested a refill and was quoted $486.00!! The last refill, in 3/2011, was $276.00 (Yes, it lasts a while.) Why has it become so damn expensive?!!! Should I try Tazorac, which is covered, or a generic? My issue with generics is that although the active ingredient is the same, the delivery of that active ingredient is not necessarily as effective as the brand. Retin-A Micro in the pump was developed to deliver more of the active ingredients into the skin, while also being less irritating. At least that's how it was described by my dermatologist. The manufacturer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, provides coupons only if the product is covered by one's health insurance company (?)
Can anyone provide some insight into possible substitutions, and does anyone know why Valeant has increased the price of Retin-A Micro to such an extent? Very frustrated at the moment!!!!

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 10/10/2012 12:27:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I've used Retin-A .05% on and off for about 5 years. I tend to not use it in the summer, when I'm worried about too much sun exposure here in the south (yes, I use sunscreen). Anyway, I've always gone through bouts of flaking, redness, and sensitivity when starting back up on it...until this last time. I've changed up my routine a bit and I think that it's made a world of a difference in the adjustment. I've started using Super GHK Serum (copper peptide) before this to help heal irritation and instead of mixing the Retin-A 1:1 with a standard moisurizer, I'm now using CeraVe PM with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. I've used a hyaluronic acid serum with Retin-A briefly in the past and found that it helped cut down on the side effects during the transition, but not as well as this PM lotion. I'm exceedingly happy with this combo and my skin consistently looks amazing. I know that the transition from not using to using Retin-A can be tough, but maybe this will help someone like it's helped me.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

on 10/6/2012 10:23:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I started the .025% recently and now that most of the peeling and burning has subsided, I'm already noticing a difference. I got it to nix any breakouts in the making as well as to prevent wrinkles. Back in the day when I was 13 this came in a greasy, nasty ointment that didn't seem to do anything for my acne. I don't think it's as effective with hormonal acne as environmental, since mine was brought back on by central air and heat after years of using neither.

The new skin is sensitive and reddish but very soft and the dryness is subsiding a bit. I'll add to this when I'm completely in the swing as far as results, but so far this looks promising. Not cheap, but not nearly as expensive as the less effective OTC retinols.

on 9/19/2012 10:21:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

I have been using this for a few years now and for me, it's been a lifesaver. It is the one product that I've tried that has really changed the texture, look and feel of my skin more than anything. Beware, as others have stated, that you will not see results overnight and your skin does get worse before it gets better when you start using this but when your skin adjusts to it, it really works miracles!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 9/17/2012 1:56:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Ok so a little bit about my skin. I have always struggled with acne and for the most part I can keep my skin fairly clear by using tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide. I also wear foundation so this hides any red or acne marks I may have. This used to work for me but for the last year I have been breaking out so much. My skin just took a turn for the worst and I keep getting these stubborn little bumps under the skin that will not go away no matter what I do. So I decided to try and find a new medication. Thanks to makeupalley and all the great reviews I decided to try Retin A. It had so many benefits that I couldnt resist!

So I made a trip to the Doctors office and he decided to start me on 0.025 Retin A gel. Told me I could get something stronger if this didnt work. Fast forward two weeks and I can already see a huge improvement. My acne is by no means completely cleared but I can see that all those stubborn bumps are gone. My acne marks are healng up nicely and my skin just looks brighter.

Be warned though, Retin A does peel your skin a lot. For the first week my skin looked pretty gross. My boyfriend made sure to let me know lol. However, with daily gentle exforliation, the newly buffed skin shows great new skin under it. I am now at the point where it is still dry but not nearly as bad. I'm hoping my skin will be almost all cleared up in another two weeks. I have every intention to stay on this gel.

Another great thing to mention is that all the blackheads in my nose and cheeks that I didnt even know were there have been coming to the surface and literally rolling out of my skin when I wash it. I know gross but that means it's working and my pores are getting cleaned out.

If you have moderate acne I suggest using this product. It doesnt hurt to try and see. I just know that for me I'm glad I gave it a chance. It will be hard to get through the peeling and irritated stage but it will be so worth it in the end.

I will update in two weeks time and let you know how my skin is doing.

on 9/9/2012 1:32:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have been going back to this product for years! IT ALWAYS WORKS! I pay 30$ per dermo visits and I get it free from my dermo. Right now I'm on the 0.025% because I built my immunity up to it and it has been working for a yr now before that i was using the 0.05% and loved it too.

When I run out of whatever % I was on I stay clear for about 6 months without it but I always go back :) But when i continuously kept using this product.......... it NEVER stops working too!

Ive never been so loyal to an acne product in my life <3

on 9/6/2012 12:18:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

So I realize this is a premature review; I wanted to track progress! Won't say what's been said. I suffer from mild-moderate acne that had gotten increasingly, exponentially worse since it started two years ago. I'm finally at that point where I feel so terrible in my skin and have tried so many things (mostly natural and dietary remedies) to try and remedy this stupid hormonal mess up and nothing is working. I recently started using neostratas aha and for the first time within a few days it seemed to be making a dramatic difference in the clarity and smoothness of my skin. Then I finally received the tretinoin 0.025% I've been waiting for. based on all the reviews and feedback I started slow -pea sized amount, every other night, buffered, applied well after washing and waiting.

Week 1: mild breakouts. shucks, I had been hoping to not have a breakout period by taking precautions, alternating nightly with aha; but the increased breakouts could also be linked to bad diet and dehydration (I moved and still haven't quite settled) or any number of factors. no irritation, burning or excessive peeling; I did notice dryness on one side of my chin when I neglected to put on lotion (otherwise I haven't noticed since I always keep my skin well hydrated). No stinging on application; almost seems to not be doing anything but I'm keeping it up and hoping for the best! Also no sun sensitivity yet. Considering moving into nightly or two nights on one night off, but I don't want to rush and screw up my skin.

Week 2: Started flaking after writing the first update, but in just a few days, the only minor flaking is on my nose. I have a dry skin type so my face feels pretty much like it regularly does when I let it dry without a moisturizer. I had an increase in gross whiteheads 2-3 days ago, but today they are mostly gone [granted, I've been bad and have been extracting them when too close anyway] and my skin is surprisingly smooth. I still have some big under-the-skin rounded pimples, and there is still a bit of roughness/raised skin from old pimples, but overall it feels better than it had been several weeks ago. Hyperpigmentation worse than ever, of course, since EVERY little blemish leaves a big mark. I think it's my imagination that my blackheads have faded ever so slightly.
Week 3: skin improving daily, which is a big surprise to me. It's almost completely smooth, with only a few itty bitty places with raised skin and healing blemishes - nothing active, hyperpigmentation less dramatic (need much less concealer, job done well enough with just foundation) and ironically enough face is oilier (ie feels fully moisturized in the morning) when I don't buffer with moisturizer first. Very strange not waking up dry! Not sure if this is completely attributable to the tretinoin or zinc I started taking simultaneously (although I hadn't expected any good to come of it) or a combination or even the weather turning cooler. Face is still not dry/thin/irritated/photosensitive. Absolutely no change to a patch of clogged pores that appeared almost overnight and slowly work themselves one by one into volcanic pimples.

Dec 3, 2012: hello hello, a sudden and suspicious lack of any blemishes! I've still had a few lingering ones at all times - particularly the last few weeks of travelling - but this week, nothing more than fading scars. It'll come back for sure, but I'm still crossing fingers hoping for the best. Flaking and dryness nonexistent. As for routine, I apply most (not all) nights after dream cream with no buffer time (I come home late and leave early) which doesn't seem to have a negative impact.

April 7, 2013: Few breakouts here and there, every 'month' ahem ahem. Nothing monstrous, on the whole my skin is so much nicer than it had become, and scars are fading! Always a disappointment when my face decides to go on a breakout spree though, as the retin-a doesn't do a whole lot to heal much faster. Moved up to the 0.05, which immediately caused dryness and flaking after 2-3 nightly applications, so scaled it all the way back. Other than that my skin had completely acclimated to the 0.025 long ago, but was sensitive to the wind/cold.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Other, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I love this product! I've suffered bad acne since I was 11... Yes, 11 years old! Retin A is derived from Vitamin A. It is a chemical exfoliant. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are examples of chemical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants are scrubs.

Now that I'm 23, my face has cleared with some occasional breakouts but my skin is dull and my pores are super enlarged. During exam wk (college) and my menstrual cycle, my acne will flare up around my nose, chin, or jaw line. After reading this very same product review on makeupalley, I spoke to my doc about it and received 3 refills worth of the 0.05% for $5. The first 3 months that I started using this, I somewhat half ass-ed my applications. I started using this in June. I used it every 3rd night, then skip a whole wk, then use it every other night for a wk, then I'd forget to put it on for another wk or 2. I didn't really want to use too much of the product because I live in California, and during the summer time, our temperature goes up to the 110 degree range and I didn’t want to risk getting a chemical burn because I get sunburned easily.

During those 3 months, I noticed that my skin looked dehydrated, even duller, and the dry skin look did not help the wrinkles under my eyes. Only once out of those 3 months did I notice that my skin was flakey. But it was just slightly flakey... nothing dramatic or gross. Now, in my 4th month, I finally started using it every night and the tube is half way done. Even though it's still in the 100 degrees at where I live, I decided to use my winter moisturizer.

Now my skin looks plump and amazing! I used it under my eyes and my lines have dramatically become less noticeable. Even my crow's foot on my left eye, due to driving, has been less noticeable. The size of my pores has decreased. I wondered why my skin is so tolerant to the product; I was expecting the worse side effects: peeling, purging, etc. However, I didn’t suffer any of those things, probably because I used to use glycolic acid, so my skin is probably used to chemical exfoliants.

I started using this cream on my chest and back a few days ago. (Yes, I break out horribly on my back and chest!) Now, I noticed that my chest and back are a lot smoother. FYI, my skincare routine is consists of nighttime: Cerave foam cleanser, Retin A, and crème de La Mer. Morning: Cerave foam cleanser, Clinique moisturizing gel, Shiseido sunscreen SPF 50. I noticed that Retin A has helped my skin so much that I cut down the amount of products that I used to buy. That definitely saved me a lot of money.

Be careful not to use other chemical exfoliants when you’re using Retin A.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 8/21/2012 12:30:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Black

This was recommended by my dermatologist when I asked her to perform a laser resurfacing treatment to erase the pitted scars, she gave this to me to control my acne first. My acne is pretty much controlled with a few small occasional zits, but I have seriously clogged pores, especially around my t-zone. I started with the 0.025% first, i use it every night, it was magic! It peeled and I got clearer skin, however to get to that stage I had to go through the painful transition phase where breakouts gets more serious, luckily for me, there aren't any cystic pimples. But when I upgraded to the 0.05%one, which I use it every other night, my skin started to get oily and it doesn't seem to be peeling anymore.. I think my skin got resistant to it.and it does not work anymore though it didn't give me any adverse effects, it stopped giving me positive results. And my blackheads were never gone. It just sat there in my drawer. I'm not very fair, and I only apply sunscreen when I have PE lessons in school.

Popular Treatments (Face)

4% Hydroquinone
4% Hydroquinone
15 Reviews
Lemon Juice
Lemon Juice
401 Reviews
144 Reviews

Video Reviews & Tutorials

February Favorites : Acne Cure, Press on Nails, Makeup & More by ItsMyRayeRaye

Back to Top