I am almost 27 and at the age of 26 the acne that I had as a teenager came back largely due to stress. I had been on a prescription of BP for awhile, but like with most medications, after years and years of taking it, it just stopped being affective on my skin. My doctor saw my skin and gave me a prescription for Retin A ($10 at Kaiser with my plan).
For the first month of using it, I did see an improvement with my skin however I went through something embarrassing which I hear is common when starting Retin A- the skin peeling off. I would wash my face well in the morning with my Clarisonic, apply an oil free moisturizer, and then put on my makeup. Within a couple of hours, you would see a ton of dry skin hang off of my face (usually my chin and above my mouth). Super embarrassing!
While the first month was torture, afterward the dry skin got minimal. I found also that not using it everyday helps.
Update 8/14/2012: I said I would update a year later in my initial review and so I am. I am still faithfully using retin a and I do say that I am now a lifer. It has done wonders on scars and marks, I now wear the least amount of makeup than I have in about a decade. I also, at 31, started to be asked if I'm 25 A LOT (it will be so sad when this stops happening, i can't look 25 forever :(). I now apply .05 to my temple area only, the rest of my face gets .025. I started doing this because I wanted better results on the lines in between my brows and it has worked VERY well. The lines around my mouth are basically gone now, I used to see makeup setting in them but not anymore. I'm bumping this up to 5 lippies and recommending to all ladies. Just make sure you start on a very low strength and ramp up and you will not regret it.
I've had an interesting year with Retin A. I
decided I wanted to try it shortly after the new year but I had no intention of paying hundreds of dollars for it so I ordered some of the .1% gel from ADC. I tried to make the gel work for about a month, but it gave me the worst breakouts of my life and left my skin red and flaky and burnt looking even when i buffered it down with regular moisturizer and applied it twice a week. I went off of it after about a month and let my skin recover for a bit.
When my skin was looking relatively normal again I started using Retinol Resq nightly to prime my skin for starting retin-a again. I had no adverse reaction to this, in fact i still use it a couple times a month when i'm taking a night off of the retin-a. I did this for a month and then started using the .025% cream. This made all the difference. I really think it was the alcohol in the gel that made my skin freak out so badly, because I barely got any initial reaction from the weaker cream version and I was slathering ample amounts of it on everyday. Now I've been using the cream for about 5 months. I use it every night, ample amounts of it as it's usually my only moisturizer at night (at least in the summer), and I exfoliate every day with my nutrasonic. I also started using Paula's Choice toners and moisturizers and the occasional bha/aha. I'm proud to say my skin looks pretty dang good right now. I still get the occasional zit during my monthly, but it goes away quickly and it's never very large. I do use some mild BP products when i get my period, i use it in conjunction with the RA and it seems to work just fine, preventing hormonal breakouts.
I've noticed the fine lines between my eyes have diminished significantly. I turned 30 last spring and was starting to notice my makeup falling into those creases, that isn't happening anymore. YAY
My skin is still not perfect, i can still see some shadows from the scars my first round with RA gave me, but they faded really fast. My skin is very smooth and more even-toned that its ever been. Do I got to work without makeup now? No, it didn't perfect my skin, but it did make it better. I'd like to try bumping it up to the .05% cream this Fall. I'm in the sun A LOT in the summer and didn't notice any additional irritation this year, although i always wear sunscreen. I did tan as well, even wearing sunscreen every time i'm in the sun does not keep me from tanning, i'm just in the water so much. At any rate, my face did match my body half way through the summer, the retin-a didn't keep me from getting a tan, but i have to say that the tan fades faster on my face now. Oh well, nothing a little makeup can't fix.
I will update again at the 1 year mark. Right now I'm planning on starting the high dose around the beginning of October. Good luck everyone.
Gets a "4" from me since it has been such a challenge to find one that works for me, but overall, I'm a huge fan.
1996: I started back then because I had an intense bout of cystic acne. Tetracycline didn't help. Doxacycline didn't help. Benzoil Peroxide and Salasylic Acid didn't help!! My dermatologist put me on Retin-A + Accutane, and frankly, IT DIDN'T HELP. He doubled my dose of Accutane, told me to stop the Retin-A, and finally it stopped. Whew!
Fast-forward to 2006: I start breaking out because of stress in grad school. NOOOOOOOO! A friend told me to get Retin-A Micro 0.1% gel, so I did. I figured, "It'll help with the new tiny lines and other aging stuff, too, right?" OMG, what a nightmare! I spent 6 weeks "adjusting" to it while my face burned, turned red, flaked CONSTANTLY, and I was miserable. It hurt to smile because my face would crack. I always looked like I had face dandruff. I hated it! Just when my skin began to adjust, I developed a nasty allergy to it, and had to quit. Every time I got Retin-A Micro anywhere near my face I broke out in a red, bumpy, itchy rash.
Fast-forward to 2011: I had a series of RF facials @ a laser center for "skin rejuvenation" and one of the things that was "rejuvenated" was my breakouts. AWESOME. I asked my doctor to let me try Retin-A cream again, and WOAH--IT WORKED! I had to adjust again, but this time it only took a few weeks. I did get stupid and ask for an 0.05% script b/c I thought I could handle it, but it just made me burn again, and the rashes came back. FAIL. I went back down to 0.025%, and I'm doing great. I even use this around my eyes (indeed, my acne was bad enough that I had big zits on my upper and lower lids!). I usually use a moisturizer on my lids, top & bottom, to cut the power down, but it has been helping firm up the crepey skin and it has also been fading the small wrinkles I have under each eye and shrinking 2 small skin tags I have on my left lid. My face looks brighter, my skin is firmer & clear, and I feel great. I am to the point now (after 8 weeks) where I am able to use it every night, and I can use my Clarisonic every day again.
If you choose to try Retin-A, be aware of your skin's sensitivity level. If you want to try Retin-A Micro, remember that more sensitive skin will have a WORSE reaction to this stuff as it continuously distributes the active ingredient instead of allowing your skin to rest. ONLY apply at night, and never overdo it thinking "more will help faster." If your face struggles with the adjustment period for a few weeks (burning, flaking, even breakouts), then just keep using it until you adjust because you will. Never assume a stronger prescription is going to work better because that could just tear your face up. This is a wonderful product for acne and anti-aging, as well as reversing sun damage. They prescribe this to people who are high risk for skin cancer. I feel like a million dollars because of it, and I am on the lowest dose. After 15 years of trial & failure, I finally found my happy medium with Retin-A, and it was worth revisiting multiple times! I love how it helps revitalize & tighten my skin, flushes out blackheads, and keeps pimples at bey. I also love that I can tell all the lines on my face are slowly but surely diminishing, as are the couple of age spots and freckles that I find so annoying.
This is not a medication you can review after using once--it takes a minimum of 4 weeks for a full cellular turnover of our skin, so no one will see a real difference overnight. Since there is an adjustment period, it is easy to decide it is a horrible product if you quit before adjusting. I'd suggest taking it slow, follow the instructions, and give it at least a month to 6 weeks before reviewing or quitting. Always remember that there are many different vehicles (gel, liquid, cream, and micro gel) for this medication, and at least 3 different powers (0.025%, 0.05%, & 0.1%), so if one doesn't work, maybe you just need an adjustment. If you're like me and discover you are allergic, check the power--I cannot use anything stronger than 0.025%, but the cool part is: I CAN use 0.025%! This is going to be more effective than any other retinol/retinoid product available OTC, & I really love it, in spite of my trials in the past.
I think this stuff works good...I'm using it for evening out my skin tone and making my skin look more youthful than dull due to stress...NIGHT: Because I have dry skin, I wash my face with Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Fresh (pink bottle), and then take a pea size of Retin A, dot it all over my face, and then rub/smear it in..MORNING: wash my face again and I use Cetaphil Cream as eye cream and only apply where my face is dry...I only apply Retin A every other day because it is pretty drying..I did notice that Retin A made me break out a little bit for about a week when i first started using it, but it wasn't so bad and it's gone..Overall, I think this is something people should just try out for whatever reaon, and I'm using it to take care of my skin because i heard it's something good to start using in your 20's..
from a teenager(15)s perspective retin a is pretty godly. it sucks because your face cant get tan because its constantly being shed and renewed because thats what retina does. however it really helps clear your acne up so its worth it. i still get a lot of acne around my period but not nearly as much as i used to without it. whatever you do make sure you get PRESCRIBED retina because i tried to use it without a dermatologist and it just made my skin get worse. please go to a dermi
This is probably one of the best acne treatments I have used. It only took 1 night for me to see a difference. I could only really see a difference on my forehead, but about 20% of acne was gone. I will keep using this!
I've waited for a little over a year to review this product, which I don't really do very often. This one product I really wanted to experience before I reviewed. I can now officially say that this is the best stuff I've ever used on my skin, although times haven't always been awesome. I had no idea how much stronger RA would be than my old Differin so I totally slathered it on when I first got it and even used my good old BHA the morning after. PEEL AND BURN CITY. I am an avid sunscreen wearer so luckily my head didn't explode from sunburns at the same time (wear your SS when you use this product, oh lordy!). After that I went a little easier, but unfortunately I still peel (some people say they stop peeling after however many months, but this hasn't happened for me unfortunately). Using a cloth to wipe off peelies in the morning is helpful.
Anyway, how does RA work on acne? AMAZING. Breakouts will be decimated overnight (with the 1% which is the strongest formulation, at least). I love waking up the day after I use RA to see anything that had popped up being 90% healed. In the year I've been using it I've had some periods of disuse, and I've always broken out during them. This really keeps my intensely breakout-prone skin as clear as I believe it can possibly be. A+++++ for acne.
How does it work for anti-aging? Not so sure. I know my skin looks clearer and tighter when I wake up in the morning, but I don't have much in the way of wrinkles to test on. BUT, I can definitely tell that if I keep using this my skin will look better in a few years than if I had never used it, for sure.
I've tried using RA at the same time as some other actives to help heal any breakouts I've gotten along the way, but I have a penchant for overdoing it and I've finally realized that with RA, less really can be more. Nowadays I use RA as my only active every other day with perhaps a 3 day break with a peel of some sort in the middle every now and then. This is how my derm told me to apply, and it's helped reduce peeling and irritation a lot:
Apply a 1/3rd of a pea sized amount of RA to the tip of one of your fingers, dot it on to the rest of the tips of your fingers, lightly tap it all over your face, then rub in. I find that when I do it this way it still works on my clogged pores and acne but I'm usually able to wipe off all my peelies in the shower, whereas before I would think I had wiped them off in the shower, put on my makeup, go to work, and find that all the parts I didn't get with the washcloth were newly freed and peeling off in huge chunks D: Not a good look!
Anyway, I would recommend this to everyone on earth, but please start slow and wear sunscreen!
Have been using for about ten years. Helps with acne. Can't say for fine lines. HOWEVER, and this is a HUGE however - you do not want to stop using it...and I mean, like EVER. I stopped for a year or so. Skin was abhorrant. Face became covered in a hard, scaly, thick layer, & it was red, dry, fine lines around the eyes, acne...on top of it. A MESS. No scrub, no toner, no washcloth could cut through this unusually hard, 'scaly', almost 'fish like' layer on my skin. The dermatologist said that since Retin-A speeds up cell turnover, your skin - after becoming used to Retin-A for years - could become VERY, VERY LAZY, if you ever stop using it, and could exfoliate and renew itself even slower, than if never having used Retin-A at all. Her advice to me...go back on it, and never get off it. She asked me if I planned on having children, I said no (can't use this stuff while pregnant or breast feeding) and then said, "It's not like your ever going to have children and it's not like you're ever going to be stranded on a tropical island and won't be able to have access to the drug". I quickly went back on it, feeling kind of bummed that at this point, I really had no choice, and wishing that someone would have told me this before I ever started on it. My face turned around after a few months. I am still on it, and am happy. My skin is smooth and acne free again. And yes, broken capillaries do abound, and I yes, I do constantly flake and peel, but at least I don't look like a LIZARD or a FISH. A great product, just a heads up to those that are considering it.
OK people if u wanna talk about holy grail, then this is it! i will give more info further into this review but first i have to just rave. my skin is sooooooo smooooooottttthhhhhh. like beyond babys bottom, every morning and night when i wash my face it feel like my fingers are running along a mirror. it still shocks me because b4 retin-a my face was rough and bumby felling. it was awful. ok getting into backround: i started breaking out when i turned 25, i dont know if it was hormones or what but it was bad! my forhead and cheeks were terrible. covered in hundreads of small bumps, with a few large ones in between. yuck! so after trying everthing at the drug store and spa (dermalogica) nothing worked. i was getting so depressed! so i went to my family doc and he gave me retin-a in 0.01 and 0.025. i started with the lower strength for about a month then tried to bumb up but found the 0.025 too harsh so now im sticking with the mild one. i never got an initial breakout and i think its because i started slowly. so i just had regular zits nothing crazy. but they eventually have all worked their way out. ive been on retin-a for 2 months, and i cant wait to see my results in the future :)
*cleanse with spectro jel mild cleanser(has no med. ing.)
*pat dry then moisturize lightly in my dryer areas first.
*every second day i gently exfoliate with a muslin cloth (i cannot stress how important this is)
*apply spf 45 neutrogena ultra sheer (if im going outside)
*then makeup (if im going outside lol)
*cleanse with spectro jel
*apply eye cream on eye area and around mouth
*wait 30 min
*apply retin-a jel to rest of face avoiding areas with cream
MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
1. u must exfoliate every other day to remove the dead skin that the retin-a has sloghed off (muslin cloth is gentle yet effective)
2. u must use a moisturizer to protect n hydrate the baby sensitive skin u have left on your face
3. u must wear sun protection DAILY minimum spf 30
4. u must wait at least 1-1.5 months to see any good results
5. use the product sparingly
6. if you have the gel formula it will feel like a tight helmet on your face, after a few days you will get used to it, dont put cream over it.
Good luck and all the best to you. please try it!
My skin is the best its ever looked. i have moved up to the 0.025. i can actually go out with no makeup, and tinted moisturizer gives me a foundation look! im so happy, my skin is acne-free, clean, smooth and radiant!
Update: I want to have the spectacular results others have had with this, but it's not happening. I use it every other night. I moisturize either an hour after or in this morning. My skin is still breaking out (not cystic though--so that's definitely an improvement) and it is dry now and still looks older. I'm not giving up though almost a year into this because the clinical studies show this one of the few things that helps the skin repair collagen. I'm using a heavier night cream now so we'll see if that helps.
Update: I've been using retin for about 8 months now. My skin never seemed to get over the purging/flaking period and it looks a lot more aged (I'm in my late 20s!). This could be due to the fact that I hadn't been using much moisturizer for fear of breaking out again--which very likely backfired, causing more noticeable wrinkles, dry skin, and break outs. Now I'm doing Mary Kay C+ serum *before* I use the retin at night and that has helped 100% with the dryness.
I was nervous about the "purging" that I heard about over and over again, but man was it worth it.
Went to the dermatologist last week for the first because I was fed up with adult onset acne issues. She prescribed Retin A .05% for night use and Clindamycin lotion for the morning.
First two days: the pimples I'd been try to keep at bay came out, but subsided within 2 days.
Day three: by day three my skin was starting to look great though I had very minimal dry/flaky patches around nose--nothing horrible.
Day 7: My skin hasn't looked this good for 2 years (when the acne started) and probably looks better now than it ever has. Glowing, clear, tight, amazing. Skin tone is evening out and even the lines that had begun showing around the nasolabial area are disappearing. Still have a few dry patches where acne was--but that is fading.
I will use this stuff for as long as it's available.