If there was one single product in my skin care regime that was essential it would be this. It changed my skin entirely. I cannot express how much difference it has made in my skin texture, look and feel. In Canada you need a prescription for true Retin A. Everything that you can buy on the shelf (like ROC brands etc) doesn't even contain enough of the active vitamin A to make a difference on your skin. The good thing about needing a prescription is that the doctor will prescribe a safe dose/level and instruct you on exactly how to use it so you are less likely to get burned or irritated from it. I went to a local dermatologist regarding my mild rosacea and constantly clogged skin. I have odd skin: it's olive toned oily/combo skin that is extremely sensitive and mildy rosacea-ish across my nose and cheeks. So my battle is having tiny little bumps on my face (not big pimples, just clogged up little white bumps) and redness that really bothers me. He prescribed Retisol-A 0.01% to start, and then after 6 months I moved up to 0.025% which is where I'll probably stay for awhile now. My particular cream has SPF 15 in it, so I CAN (and do) use it in the day. I followed the direction precisely and started slow. I've never had a problem with burning, excessive peeling or sun sensitivity. I use a Tarte mineral bronzing powder with some additional SPF on top. I add Elta MD Clear SPF 46 in the summer months. I have been on Retisol-A for over a year now, and it changed my skin to near perfect. I get compliments on it all the time (something that NEVER happened before). I rarely break out, maybe only once in a awhile when I get my period. But other than that, I have smooth, clear and even skin every day. I make sure to use a good moisturizer at night. In Canada you will have to pay for whatever the prescription costs, or your medical plan doesn't cover etc. It's still WAY cheaper than using any kind of high end luxury product like Darphin, La Mer, Cellcosmet, La Prairie etc., and believe me, I tried them ALL. I recommend this to every single woman I know, and those who comment on my skin. If there was one product I could not live without it would be this. It is also the one product I will NEVER EVER stop using or stray from. My skin care routine is basically: Day - Cleanse, Retisol-A, eye cream, additional sunscreen if needed. Night - Cleanse, Reversa moisturizer. That's it. I may do a mask once a month. If I need extra exfoliation I use the Reversa Solution once in awhile. I would highly recommend this to every single woman/man. Not only will it make a huge difference immediately, but years down the road when your "aging'. My derm said if you could twin yourself and one use Retinol-A and the other not, the one who uses would look 10+ years younger when you're both 50.
I will use this product forever. It's amazing. I wanted to write this review for anybody that may be struggling with acne and thinking about using this product. Or perhaps struggling with this product. Although I use this to treat acne/oily skin, I use the 0.05% Cream, as opposed to the gel. I tried the gel when I was in high school and my skin could not handle it. The cream has been a much more soothing alternative, and my initial breakout (yes, I had an initial breakout) was so much easier to deal with using the cream. I'm on my 4th month of treatment and my skin looks amazing! I had a horrible case of cystic acne when I was about 16 - 18. After that I would get the occasional cyst once a month, but my scars weren't fading. I looked like I was constantly having a breakout because of the awful red marks all over my cheeks. Now at 24, my red marks are 95% gone, and if I do get a pimple, it's usually very tiny and only lasts about 48 hours max. My skin *glows*! People think I'm 5 years younger than I actually am, and at 24, that's a pretty good start. :)
Okay so let's get down to how to use this product with minimal side-effects....FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Seriously. If you slather it on and actually have the nerve to complain about redness and peeling, you had it coming. This is a strong prescription. A pea-size dot at NIGHT for the whole face is more than enough. On the first weeks of treatment, only use it every third night or every other night. Wash off in the morning and moisturize. SPF is a must during the day, and only use gentle, non-medicated cleansers (Cetaphil, CeraVe, Purpose, Aveeno, etc) to wash your face. Also, you must make sure you only apply this at night when you face has been cleansed and is completely dry.
Some other helpful info about my experience. I had minimal peeling and pretty much zero redness because I started soooo slow. I wouldn't exfoliate, but in hot showers sometimes you can rub the flakes off with your fingers once a week. This made it possible for me to wear my normal makeup when I went out, without flaking (but for the most part I only wore makeup when I had to). Yes, I had an initial breakout. Was it HORRIBLE? No. Was it annoying and discouraging? Yes. It was about twice as bad as my usual PMS breakout. It included 4 new cysts, and all the lovely redness that comes with them. This breakout occured for me at 5 weeks into treatment. Keep it up the routine even if it seems hopeless. By 7 weeks the breakout had subsided. By 9 weeks I started recieving compliments on my skin. Now at the 12 week mark, my skin is so even and zit-free. The new marks from my initial breakout are fading *fast* This product is a miracle if you are able to commit. Also works wonders for sun damaged skin/photo-aging. Good luck!
This is for the exact one, shown pictured, purchased at Medsmex.com For this purpose, I'm referring only to how this has helped with my keratosis pilaris (KP), which I have had since I was a teenager (I'm now 42), on my upper arms and forearms. The tube I have is about 6 months past its expiration date and I don't like to waste product, if I can help it and if it doesn't appear to be expired (rancid, change of color, etc.). So, I began using it all over my arms where the KP is. This has truly been the first product/treatment that has vitually made my KP disappear, and I am beyond thrilled with the results! (I have used Amlactin with minimal results.) I apply the cream about an hour after I've showered. Right after my shower, while my skin is still damp, I moisterize with Alba Botanika unscented body lotion mixed about 50/50 with extra version olive oil (love this, too!). It seems greasy at first but it sinks in beautifully with no residue. I use about a four inch line on each part of my arms (right and left forearms and right and left upper arms), and simply rub it all in. I have not experienced any uncomfortable irritation or redness (yet, anyway). I have a few tubes of Retin A Micro (I always seem to over-order to ADC and Medsmex.com), which I will use when the Tretinoin runs out. This is fabulous for KP!!! Please give it a try!!
I'm using a generic .025% cream to help keep my skin clear (I was on Accutane a few years ago). My skin is generally clear but its extremely prone to break outs. I asked for this at the dermatologist mainly because I wanted something that would improve the overall quality of my skin. This has been a success for me! The first week I didn't notice much of a change, but then my skin started peeling. By end of the second week I started breaking out, nothing horrible but it was definitely much worse than my usual breakouts. I remember my skin being rough and bumpy feeling, as if all the stuff in my pores was being brought to the surface. Its been about two weeks since I started breaking out and my skin seems to be finally clearing. As of right now its totally smooth. But that's not all this stuff does! I'm convinced it totally shrunk my pores as well. The texture of my skin is noticeably nicer than it was prior to the beginning of my treatment. I also read that this stuff prevents wrinkles, reverses sun damage, prevents skin cancer, and promotes healing/fading of discoloration. Only time will tell if this is true, but honestly, what more can you ask for in a face cream? I will update if things change but I am, for now, definitely happy with this product! :)
I have been using this on and off (not during my pregnancies) for about 10 years. It initially worked awesome but after a while I think it not only stopped working but began doing more damage than good. My skin looks thinner & I also noticed some red lines forming on my nose after I began using it again (after I gave birth to my second boy & stopped nursing him.) I started researching it & apparently Retin-a can cause this. Well, it's not worth it to me. I'd rather have some clogged pores & fine lines on my face than red blood vessels all over my nose! And they came on rather suddenly & there are a lot of them! It's embaressing. so... as much as there is a huge hype about this, I'm going to have to discontinue using it.
So after using this for about 2 months and working up to using it 2 days on, 1 day off, 1 day on, 1 day off, repeat, I went in for a check up with my derm. My acne has improved and my scars are dissapearing, BUT my skin is not happy. It is angry and looks very fragile, like it could tear or rip any second. My face is blochy and red in places but not evenly. She said my skins reaction is very unusual and not the norm. She also determined that my skin is VERY VERY sensitive, something I have known for a while. She took me off the Veltin and told me to not use my other topical for about a week to let my skin recover. We are now exploring other options.
If my skin was not so sensitive, I would continue to use this gel. I like the results. My acne is clearing, my skin tone is more even and I think it may even be helping with my dark circles. I had even reached the point where the dryness and flaking was begining to be managable. Oh well, back to the drawing board :(
Went to my derm and she gave me Veltin. Its a 0.025% tretinoin and 1.2% clindamycin phosphate gel. It is applied at night only, and Im using it in combo with Aczone gel. My stress levels have been higher than normal and the Aczone wasnt doing the job by itself anymore.
First 3 nights in a row I applied the gel. After night one, my skin looked amazing. After night 2 it looked even better. After night 3 I had flaky patches around my mouth. I gave it a rest for a night, and the next morning I woke up ready to catch my 6am flight with BAD BAD BAD irritation all around my mouth. It was so bad it hurt to smile, laugh, or open my mouth at all. It was so dry and painful. I let my skin recover for about a week and did some thinking about my plan.
Turns out through some trial and error, the side effects and irritation take 1-2 days after application to show up. If I apply on Monday evening, the flaking and dryness will not show up in full effect untill Wednesday. This lag lead me to think my skin was ok with more frequent applications, when it really was not.
I started applying the gel every 4 nights for about a week. Moved on to every 3 days for about 2 weeks. Now Im up to every 2 to every other night depending on my skin.
BUFFER this stuff!!! I wash my face, dry it, apply Jojoba oil and wait a good 30min to an hour before I apply it. Helps reduce irritation and does not seem to affect the results at all.
Also, I avoid applying the stuff to the areas around my mouth and nose. Place your index fingers, one on each side of your nose right in the crease. Draw an immaginary line from there to the corners of your mouth. Now, draw another line from the corners of your mouth to the tip of your chin. The area inside this invisable dimond, and the skin just to the outside of it, AVOID APPLYING THE GEL LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!! It is just to sensitive for me and probably for others.
Oh, once you apply the gel DO NOT GET ANY WATER ON YOUR FACE. I would apply the gel and then brush my teeth. When I rinsed under the tap, a little water would get on the area surrounding my lips. No biggie, right? Wrong. Once I figured out this was causing the excess irritation, and changed my routine, the irritation went away almost compleatly.
Hope this helps. I'll update as I progress.
Some of the comments here are uninformed and quite honestly scary. I really hope most people are using this responsibly after educating themselves about the medication, and aren't using OTC/HE creams with vitamin A.
First off, do not ever put this on during the day. This is meant for nighttime, and you're supposed to wash your face the morning after. A good, photostable, preferably physical sunscreen is also required. Retin A (and all retinoids) drastically increase your photosensibility (so investing in a good pair of sunglasses is also a plus). Repeatedly burning yourself with sunlight or applying too much product and irritating your skin is detrimental and can lead you to have serious issues with your skin later on (everything from unwanted lightening/hyperpigmentation to skin cancer and megaloblastmas). Additionally, you will need a good moisturiser that works for your skin (not every ´comedogenic´ ingredient will break everyone out btw, so go with whatever your skin tolerates best). You are also not supposed to use any other acid (ie AHA/BHA, salicylic acid found in tons of cleansers and scrubs etc) because retinoids thin your skin out as they accelerate your cell's lifespan. Be gentle when exfoliating. You are also supposed to be careful when waxing - ANYWHERE, not just your face. If you do your eyebrows I recommend either threading or plucking. And just shave everything else. Waxing (with any product, at home or at a salon) will very probably rip off your hair along with the top layer of your epidermis, leaving a brown/purple burn/scab. Which hurts like a bitch, jsyk. Your skin is an organ and what you put on it is absorbed into your metabolism. Not only will your spots/face regenerate faster, ALL of your skin will do so as well. You might notice an increase in dead skin when you toweldry for example. That's why.
Also make sure you only use the smallest amount you need to see results. My dermatologist said I should use a grain or two of rice (size-wise) for my whole face. And I'm on the 0.025% dosage, which is the lowest one. Using a bunch of the product won't get you results faster. It'll get you angry, raw, peeling red skin. You can get 3rd degree burns from using too much product and then standing under sunlight. Yeah, it's a drag to have to wait for results, but this DOES work in the long run, and it's worth being patient for. Follow your doctor's advice, it'll really help.
Sorry to sound preachy, but I really hope that helps someone not get cancer or discolourations or premature wrinkles. If you're thinking of using Retin A (or any other retinoid) be sure to talk to a competent dermatologist first. Don't just browse beauty sites and go for it. And if you can't commit to sunscreen every single day (sometimes months after you quit the treatment), don't even try this.
That said, Retin A has worked miracles for me. It helped with my acne as a teen, and now helps me when I break out when I'm PMSing. It is also (slowly) helping me get rid of some hyperpigmentation that I have left over on my face.
I used retin-a the wrong way. I used it twice a week, and I was fine. But too early on I used it consecutively for two nights at a stretch and looked like a monster--red, scaly, peeling skin. My mistake! A new product in India--Nexret: tretinoin in microsphere to reduce irritation. I have moved here in India and tried it last night--keeping my fingers crossed. This is a patented formulation that control delivers tretinoin in non-porous microsphere that minimize irritation. I will update you ladies soon.
Update: after three months I have gone from every fourth night to every other night. I have been told the difference in my skin has been "drastic". It has controlled my oiliness beautifully, blackheads and bumpiness has been smoothed out--not completely but still remarkably. I have always had very heavily clogged pores and deeply embedded blackheads. The blackheads on my nose have been reduced by 70%. Another problem area for me has been skin tags and moles--and all of those have gone away. In fact moles and skin tags have bothered me as much as blackheads so I am pleased to not have to deal with them. Sometimes DH says that my skin looks like it has a burn and that is hyperpigmentation from all the irritation but I have been told by a derm that it will eventually go away. I notice a tightness in the texture but I know it takes a good 12 months before collagen deposition is enough to be noticeable. I do not have fine lines at 36 but am prone to something worse IMO: sagging and drooping--will have to wait and see if it will remedy that. BTW i use it on my neck too. Neck had the worst irritation initially but a few nights use of steroids took care of that. Will update later.
I like this a lot ^^ I got this on prescription from the doctor as part of an acne treatment regimen.
It is great for when I have a large spot. It makes it go away MUCH faster. For example, this made a spot that would normally stick around for at least 1 week go away in 2 days *^O^*
I also feel like it makes my skin feel very smooth. The purpose of this is to regenerate skin cells, so it's basically like an exfoliant. For that reason, it's a bad idea to use a strong product afterwards, like toner. (it will burn)
Also, it's not great to wear during the daytime. I've found that if you accidentally use too much, the product kind of bunches up in a gross kind of way. I havent had issues with drying, because my skin is very oily. I also didn't have any kind of "purge."
I will definitely purchase again ^^
I had a bad breakout about a year ago and went to the derm and was prescribed Tretinoin 0.025% after my acne cleared up with antibiotics. After using for about 6 months, I told her I don't really feel or see the difference, so the doc increased the strength to 0.05%. After another couple months of use, I still see no difference (since my face is still clear and all) so I stopped using it even though the derm insisted that I don't. So fast forward to 3-4 months later, I started having tiny bumps and whiteheads all over my face again. I put a lot of benzoyl peroxide hoping it will clear them up, but that by itself didn't help. Thinking that my face might need exfoliating, I used sugar and scrubbed away the flakes caused by bp. Still, the tiny bumps and whiteheads were still there. Then I decided to use the Tretinoin again, not really expecting it to help much... but when you're desperate, anything will do! So, after about 3 days of using it, the tiny bumps disappeared like it was never there! Now, a week later, my face is super smooth, no signs of new zits, acne, etc. And I know some people get purging the first few weeks of using this, but that never happened with me. Anyways, now I have so much faith in this product as it cleared away my bumps/whiteheads. I went to the derm recently to ask for more of it. I really recommend this.