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.
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.