Retin A


528 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 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.

on 8/19/2012 9:21:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Oily, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

i got Retin-A proscribed by my dermatologist for my ance. for reference i have very oily, sensitive very very acne prone skin. all this did for me was break me out way worst then what i started with, dried my skin so out that i peeled everyday all day and when i would smile my face out crack. and turned my face bright red. that was just my experience. i've heard this works wonders on some people. but me it did the total opposite, so disappointed.

on 8/10/2012 11:03:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I've used this on an off since 2004. I use the 0,5 strength every night and I haven't had problems with skin irritation or flakes. I use this all over my face, even in my under eye area. I clean my face and remove my make up with EVOO, and remove most of that with LRP micellar water for oily sensitive skin. In the morning I use a 10% glicolic acid gel and eucerin dermo purifier moisturiser SPF 30. This regime has absolutely transform my skin. I have no blackheads, spots, sun spots or wrinckles.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 7/28/2012 3:35:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I used this product a few years ago and I'm writing this review because out of all of the products I've used to treat my acne, this was probably the worst one.

I followed the directions to the letter. I used this at night after gently cleansing and patting my skin dry. In the morning, I would carefully wash and apply sunscreen and oil-free moisturizer. I stayed away from direct sunlight. After about three days of this, I noticed that parts of my skin were starting to flake off. I was fine with that. I thought that meant it was working. The pharmacist had told me that it would take up to 6 weeks to see results and that my skin would look pretty bad at first. After maybe a week, I had acne in new places. My T-zone was always really terrible, but my cheeks had pimples only occasionally. Then huge zits started to appear there and I got a little concerned. I still stuck with the treatment though, because I thought my skin was just "purging" and getting used to the product. For the entire 6 weeks, I was embarrassed of how I looked because my skin was literally peeling off. It looked like I had some sort of skin disease or a really bad sunburn. Finally, after 6 weeks, I realized that my skin was wildly inflamed and it was just getting worse, not even slightly better. So that's when I finally gave up on it. It was really disappointing.

It has probably been four years or more and my cheeks are still scarred from where those giant pimples were. I really regret using this stuff. It might work for other users, but for me it was a nightmare. If you do end up using this product, I would stay away from any areas on your face that are relatively blemish-free.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 7/24/2012 12:35:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I have to say that the past five months I have told myself I would never let the word Retin-A come out of my mouth but I feel that others should really listen to this. Many people I have tried to tell scoff at me but here is the absolute truth.

I first used Tretinoin gel, then Retin A Micro. One morning I noticed that I had extreme enlarged pores around my face. In tears, I went to my dermatologist who told me it was probably horomones and prescribed me Retin-A micro, telling me Retin-A actually "shrinks" pores, which I knew. Thinking that Retin-A would help me, I put some under my eye area as well since it is known to "boost collagen."

Well the next morning I woke up with enlarged pores IN MY UNDER EYE AREA. Mortified, I went straight to a plastic surgeon to talk to him. He told me this:

"Enlarged pores are absolutely a possible side effect of retin-a. I'm not sure why your dermatologist didn't go over that with you, but that's a whole other story. Dermatologists are trying to become something today that they aren't." He also said that like any drug, everything can have a negative effect and this is one of the possible ones.

He told me that sensitive skinned, fair people are more prone. I stopped using it on March 3rd. It has been five months and they are almost all gone. The surgeon told me it would take 6-9 months.

This has been an extremely traumatic experience. I have gorgeous skin and people always comment on it. I am not writing this review to hear attacks on how amazing retin-a is and how i used it improperly or any of that. I am just writing this to tell you that it is a POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECT. I am only doing this because if i had known that it would be a possibility, I would ahve had the chance to question whether or not I still wanted to try it.

I hope you consider this when you decide to try this. Also know that, retin-a is, in a sense, the surgeon told me, a chemical peel in a bottle. i

I will also say that for the first 6 months I used it, I was absolutely in LOVE with it. I never ever had a pimple, and my skin looked plumper. Then one day it turned on me very very very badly.

Word of Warning: **Be careful.

14 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

on 7/19/2012 6:52:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I wanted to do a new review since I have been using this almost a year now over 6 months without a doubt and I at 33 have my skin back. My acne made me feel like crap I kept thinking in my 20's soon it would be gone but it wasn't. Sadly my skin was all scarred, Hyper pigmentation, it was rough you name it. Now the purging did sux I'm not going to lie and my face was red and peeling and just horrid. Now though I will get 1 tiny pimple around that time but hang with the purging because after 4 months I had good skin come six months and my Fam said what have you done you look 10 years younger.

I was like Retin A and I took this upon myself because my insurance does not cover it so I ordered it online. Luckily I have a good seller and get a good price because I will never go back to not using this. This is a HG and I only said that once before but this product gave me my life back! Now I don't feel like people are staring at my zits. I do have a regime I will share and I think unlike hair the skin should stick with what it likes. I only use moisturizer after an hour either Josie's Argan or Tony Molly and Baviphat Apple products one is a pack and the other is a moisturizer /pore reducer. In the day I use Baviphat's Peach waterfall cream. I also use MISSHA foaming face wash Green Tea during the day and the Chocolate at night. I'm american but swear by Asian products they have been amazing BB Cream as well. I just started to introduce the Argan oil so we'll see how that goes.

Also I do use a Mia and if you can afford it get it. It's not an exfoliater but it let's the medicine sink right in. I find the Mia to be key in keeping my skin clear with the RA. So my message is try this or if your on it hang with it because the results are amazing. I do recommend this to those who do need it and your Doc knows your using it. If you buy online or get an RX your Doc should know. I prefer to buy it because it's cheaper for me but that doesn't mean I don't have a Doc's supervision. I just want to make that clear to follow the directions and just hang and you will get the skin you deserve.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I made the terrible decision 2 years ago to stop using this product because my skin was clear and I figured I no longer needed an acne regiment. 2 months ago my acne was the worst it's ever been, I developed cystic bumps that were red and very swollen, mainly near my jawline and chin. In the past I've used Benzoyl peroxide, salacylic acid, and differin-they did nothing! This is the only thing that's worked for me, so I went to doctor and got prescription for the .1% gel. It has been 8 weeks and my skin has done a total transformation, I no longer get breakouts of more than one large pimple at a time. My skin is smoother, and this is because retin a exfoliates your skin and brings the gunk inside your pores to the surface. Main drawback is in the first 2 weeks I had tiny whiteheads all over my face, but from experience, this is totally normal and part of the acne healing process. Invest in a good moisturizer while using this because it causes dryness and redness which can be lessened by using it less often or applying as a mask once a week.

on 7/16/2012 8:45:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I used the lowest strength differin gel for over 5 years before my dr switched me to retin a to see if it helped better with acne and scarring (I am happy to report that for me, it helps smooth scarring so much faster!). This was directly after I made a pathetic 3 month attempt at doing an accutane course, by the way (took such a long time to get the freaking stuff and then by the time I did I was already clear enough that it wasn't worth the side effects!). I started out using the .05% cream for about 6 months and then switched to the .01% gel a couple of months ago.

I experienced no breakouts and no flaking, but I am of mixed ethnicity (half asian) and never seem to get flaky skin. Instead, the retin a cream just made my skin look perpetually irritated and inflamed for pretty much the entire time I used it. My doctor kept telling me to use it every night but I swear to god i couldnt....the cream always made every single shallow acne scar and minor imperfection I ever had look about a billion times worse and my pores sometimes looked like they were becoming craters.

It was scary and annoying b/c my crappy skin texture was the whole reason I was using it and suddenly I looked like I had "orange peel" skin... I think a big part of the perpetual irritation was from my use of vitamin c serums in addition to retin a. I never used them at the same time, but retin a just seems to make my skin overly sensitive to certain things, and vitamin c is one of them (it's an acid too so no wonder my skin burned all day, even when I skipped using the retin).

Another thing is, my dr advised me not to use a moisturizer or if I did, to only use it afterwards. This was TERRIBLE advice on her part. My skin always seemed so dehydrated and almost leathery despite the fact that i was using the cream version, so I would sometimes apply moisturizer (cetaphil) on top of it b/c I just couldn't bare having dry skin. Too bad my dr neglected to specify that if you apply a moisturizer you should wait a full hour before doing so, otherwise it's like applying the retin to a wet face (makes it really harsh). Then again, waiting a full hour to moisturize or trying to use it as a buffer doesn't seem to make much difference for me with the cream (it irritates my skin no matter what; maybe this is because instead of actually penetrating it just sits on top of my skin and eats away at it?).

Anyways, the only reason I kept using it was b/c sometimes I would skip using it for a few days and be able to see that my skin was getting smoother (faster than with the differin). But hooman, when i switched to the gel the improvement was immediately apparent b/c my face stopped looking all inflamed and suddenly appeared normal---no giant pores and dent-like imperfections, in fact, all the acne scars I had been obsessing about were WAY shallower (some of them even disappeared). It kind of pisses me off though...I mean, did my dr just assume that it was normal for me to look like absolute sh*t all the time? I guess so...

I find the gel to be WAY less harsh than the cream; i barely need any and it's so much easier for me to control and spread. I only use the gel every other night and i moisturize with Cerave pm lotion or Estée Lauder serum 1/2 hour BEFORE I apply the retin.

Oh yeah, one really important thing: do not use this stuff unless you're willing to use an SPF of at least 30 every day, otherwise it'll just end up doing you more harm than good (trust me, even if you're not prone to sunburn, you are prone to sun damage and you will be even moreso with this stuff and who knows how long it'll take to become apparent?).

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Popular Treatments (Face)

Retin A
528 Reviews
Nerium AD
70 Reviews
136 Reviews
4% Hydroquinone
14 Reviews

Video Reviews & Tutorials

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

Back to Top