Dear Makeup Allies,
Prescribed Retina-Micro .04%.
This is my first review, so I hope it's helpful. I start with a background on my skin conditions and what I have suffered with, generally. I then move into a more specific product review. If you want to, you can just skip ahead to the review.
MY SKIN HISTORY:
Okay so, I have always struggled with moderate acne. In high school it was pretty bad. I have scarring on my forehead from that time period. That was when I had the most cystic pimples. Now, I'm slightly type-A so my plan to get rid of it was to just do EVERYTHING possible: a.k.a. every drug store product that I could find. I seriously put masks on my face every day, steamed, scrubbed, ProActiv-ed, Murad-ed, and attempted to use oil-free, noncomedogenic hypoallergenic makeup, etc.
I think sheer intensity made my skin "manageable," but it never truly cleared up my acne, and I have the scars to prove it (I am now 24).
Anywho, I finally went to a dermatologist. I was prescribed antibiotics: Monocyclin I believe (some name like that). That helped for about a month, then it went back to how it was before. Later in college I was prescribed a topical antibiotic, and benzoyl peroxide; this also did not help and really irritated my skin. I also attempted using a birth control, because I heard that helped and for some people it does, also to no avail.
I was also prescribed Retina-A micro at this time. I used it COMPLETELY INCORRECTLY AND HATED IT. However, even doctors are sometimes unaware of what you can and cannot use with Retin-A that will exacerbate acne.
I then went on Accutane. Oh, lovely Accutane. It totally cleared up my skin problems while I was on it, and I recommend it if you haven't used it, but it is a very, very, very, serious drug and should be treated accordingly. Anywho, Accutane cleared up my skin COMPLETELY while I was on it, and it stayed clear for about six months after until my acne returned, yet again. I was then a junior in college and still had friggen acne. Needless to say, I was pissed off at my face...
Moving forward, I read the following book: Feed Your Face. Nothing has helped my skin more. My skin was literally perfect, as in I would have one or two pimples a month! AMAZING, really read this book! IT SAVED MY LIFE.
THE RETURN TO RETIN-A Micro
So, I don't religiously follow the advice from the book, but I try to. It has really helped me maintain my skin, even better than Accutane, and the basic aspects that I really try to follow are avoiding starchy carbs because the insulin response can cause hormones to trigger oil gland production (or something like that), I take fish oils or flaxseed every day, and I try to eat more spinach, greens, and take a multivitamin with lycopene (from Whole Foods).
So, I still have scarring from acne; however, I heard Retin-A helps with scarring and anti-aging so I wanted to try it again. I was also hoping that it would help with those stubborn breakouts that I continued to get about once or twice a month.
I am currently using the .04% concentration and have been for three months. Just a note: Now that I have a better understanding of skincare I have realized that it's very important to use noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic makeup/moisturizers with Retin-A. Using certain products CAN and WILL make your acne worse. The first time around my skin was so dry and flaky that I used the worst moisturizers possible; of course it made my acne worse.
FIRST 3 WEEKS:
Anyway, I began using the product 2-3 times a week. I did this so my skin could get acclimated. My skin looked good, I didn't experience any super intense purging and one of my friends with GORGEOUS PERFECT SKIN even commented on how "glowy" my skin was.
Upped my usage to 3-4 times a week. Experienced very slight purging. However, it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. However, my skin condition, generally, continued to improve and the marks or pimples came and went much faster than usual. I am Hispanic so my olive skin tone is prone to hyperpigmentation as well (woohoo me!)
4-5 times a week. Most intense purging yet. Also experienced a period of intense redness, dryness, and flakiness. Although it was never as bad as the first time I used Retin-A Micro, it was still pretty gross. However, I use and am a huge fan of Organic, cold-pressed, and pure, extra virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer (yes, even on my face), and I believe that is why my skin reacted less intensely. P.S. the powerful antioxidants and antimicrobial power of coconut oil makes it a fabulous and cheap moisturizer. I strongly recommend it; it has been another fabulous addition to my skincare routine.
5-6 times a week. Purging gone, skin fabulous. My "ice-pick" scars on my forehead have noticeably lessened. While they are obviously still visible, I can tell that they are less pronounced. Slight dryness sometimes, in the morning, but COCO takes it away completely. I have also noticed a reduction in the fine lines around my outer-eye area.
I LOVE THIS STUFF.
Hope this was a helpful review!
I have had severe acne for about 8 years. I tried everything you can buy and was just about to give up. Then I asked the dermatologist i work for. I babysit for a dermatologist and was given a ton of samples from her to treat my acne (I have no insurance). I used this with a combination of antibiotics (monodox) and another cream (Acanya). I had severe cystic acne; really just a face full of it. When I started this regimen with this stuff at night, the Acanya during the day, and the antibiotic once everyday, I was at first horrified. My acne got so much worse and I didn't want to be around anybody. However, after about two weeks of sticking with it, I started seeing amazing results. I'd wake up every morning with less and less acne than before and it even helped with my scars. I fully recommend it!
I've been using this product for 2 months for acne, it definitely has reduced my oil production and my blemishes heal faster while on the medication. My skin over all looks brighter and smoother and I look younger than I did before using this. My acne is still not completely gone but I think it will take a while longer before I see the full results. My skin has somewhat gotten used to this but it still get dry and peels from time to time.
I am 36, South Asian, have medium tan, oily skin and mild acne that mainly consists of a few stubborn "undergrounders" on my cheeks and hard blackheads here and there that really would not go away. When i try to squeeze them, my skin just darkens. When I leave them alone, my skins darkens too. So even when i had only one or two active zits, the darkened scars made it look like I had much more ance than i do.
I used Differin about 6 years ago and it worked for a while, but then stopped working. Then I used Ziana and clindamycin and that worked well, but then stopped working well.
My dermatologist prescribed Retin-A micro (0.04%) for PM and Duac for AM in March.
In the first 2 weeks I saw no change.
Then, I too, experienced a short window of worsening for a week (albeit very slight compared to others) and some peeling for a few days. The peeling was annoying, but really not that terrible because I keep heavily moisturized, so it didn't look that bad. Two days, the peeling did not look great because pieces of skin were just flaking/rolling off my face. Luckily, I didn't have any special occasion during those days.
After about 2 months, I saw some really great results and my skin is continuing to look terrific--smooth, clear and glowing. The darkened spots have faded to almost nothing. I am amazed when I wake up in the morning and look at my face. I really feel like it is staving off wrinkles too. I couldn't be happier with the results. When I get a zit occasionally, it clears up in a few days, as opposed to a few weeks.
PM: Wash face/make up with a mild, natural, non-drying soap. I use one made from coconut oil--it cleanses but never leaves my face feeling dry/taut. Wait 10 minutes (brush my teeth/take out contacts). Apply 2 pumps of Retin-A micro to my cheeks and forehead. Right before I go to bed, I generously apply Cerave night lotion to the areas of my face that don't have retin-a. Then I apply it to the areas of my face that do. This is to minimize the risk of retin-a getting in the more sensitive parts of my face and prevent peeling.
AM: Same mild soap to my face. After a few minutes I apply a pea-sized glob of Duac for my cheeks, forehead and chin. I wait about 10 minutes for it to absorb, then I apply my moisturizer (Olay Total Effects w/spf) on the area of my face that doesn't have Duac for the same reasons as stated above.
The best part of this regimen is that I no longer use any coverup or foundation for blemishes. I just moisturize generously and brush over lightly with a translucent pressed powder (I used Sephora) that tints, but it it looks like i'm not wearing any makeup (because i barely am!).
I hope this is helpful to folks. I know that a lot of people have much worse initial side effects than I did, but knowing what I know now about the final results, I still think it must be worth it. I think it really evens out skin tone, improves texture and reduced wrinkles AND reduces/clears acne.
I am the biggest Retin-A advocate! I started with the lesser strength version (.02) which I would highly recommend doing (the weaker first and then build up to the stronger) because your skin will react. Mostly peeling, so make sure you moisturize a lot and exfoliate. Also when you first begin with Retin-A, start with a few times a week, then go to every other day, then finally every day. Your skin will take a while to get used to it, but it is worth it. And once it is used to the lesser strength formula, switch to the higher strength for maximum results. I have had acne for years and I was so frustrated that nothing was working to help. Not only did Retina-A clear up my skin, but it greatly helped my scarring. My skin tone is much more even and even (dare I say it) glows. I use less and less makeup and feel more comfortable in my skin every day. Go Retin-A!
I have been using Retin A for 4 months. I started out with generic Retin A but quickly switched to micro. The acne did clear up but it makes my face so much oilier than before. I can' t believe it makes people's skin dry! Two of my sisters also used Retin A but gave up due to the extremely oily skin. I am not sure what I am going to try next, maybe Finacea. If anyone has had similar results I would love to hear about it.
I switched to the .1 percent of Retin A Micro which is the strongest about 2 months ago. It has helped tremendously with my acne and my face is not as oily as it was with the .04 percent. My only issue is I can't find any makeup that will last. It seems like Retin A makes my foundation wear off. The good thing is I would actually feel comfortable without foundation now which is awesome!
So I'm currentlly in the middle of week 9 and this stuff has been a rough ride for me, most of that was my fault tho. So when I started using Retin A I actually had completly clear skin and wanted to use it due to the anti-aging properties, better to start early and use something that's actually proven to work rather than buy all sorts of crap from the drugstore. Anyways, at first all it did was dry my skin out pretty badly and make me peel, plus some mild break-outs. Around the four week mark or so, I went out and bought some Cetaphil cuz I figured it would be good for my dry skin, oddly enough, it made me break out SO SO badly, I thought it was the Retin A doing it's purging thing, so I just kept using it. After I hit the eight week mark and I was STILL breaking out super badly I starting to get pretty frustrated and thinking maybe Retin just isn't for me. Anyways, long story short, out of curosity I took the Cetaphil out one night and right away I completly stopped breaking out and havn't since! So, it turns out the retin actually does work for me! Now that I'm not breaking out anymore, my skin is starting to look and feel pretty nice, alot of the blackheads that I have in my cheeks and nose area are starting to fall out, I still get alot of peeling, I notice that it seems to sorta cycle to every five days or so everything peels alot. I have tons of red marks all over right now from the break-out but I'm not too worried, I can cover them with make-up til they fade. Anyways it's still too early to give a full review yet, but I'm pretty excited to see what the next couple months hold. I payed 30$ in Canada for a 20g tube that is almost empty at the two month mark!
I used regular, generic tretinoin 0.05% cream for years before discovering Retin-A Micro. I immediately switched to the 0.1%. It is definitely stronger--it burns the skin around my eyes if I'm not careful--but with the Micro technology I've had no irritation or redness. I did have some flakiness at first but it went away.
If you are able to afford it, I strongly prefer Retin-a Micro over regular Retin-a or any regular tretinoin product. You can use a higher concentration with fewer side effects, plus it contains silicone moisturizers that help prevent the dryness and flakiness associated with topical retinoids.
My advice to anyone starting a retinoid is to use the lowest concentration until you get used to it, apply it every other night or every third night until you get used to it, and DON'T BE DISCOURAGED IF YOUR ACNE GETS WORSE AT FIRST!
EDIT: This recently became available in generic form. (Retin-A Micro is NOT the same as regular tretinoin.) The generic form is called Tretinoin Micro or Microsphere and comes in the same strengths and sizes as brand name Retin-A. If you've been holding off on trying this because of the price, now's your chance!
I am 16 years old and have had moderate acne since I was 13 years old, for a while I used clean and clear and it worked wonders but once I entered high school it stopped working and I began to use acanya twice a day (day and night) and freshman year throughout sophomore year that made my skin so clear and gorgeous but after a year my skin grew accustomed to it and it no longer got rid of my moderate acne , so fast forward to the beginning of my junior year, my dermatologist recommended retin a micro .1%, I was skeptical because I have used this for two weeks during my freshman year and I remember it giving me a nasty chemical peel but I figured I might as well try it once again I mean whats the worst that can happen?..... I was wrong !! the first few weeks my skin got alittle better aside from the extreme peeling and redness , however after day 66 when I was hoping for the promised results I began purging like crazy! I had cystic acne and my face was so tender and flaky I would have breakdowns and not want to go to school, I bought 100 dollars worth of top of the line makeup hoping to cover up my breakouts but my skin was so scaly and flaky that makeup just made my skin look worst! my family made fun of my skin (and still does) which only made it worst , luckily my boyfriend didn't seem to mind my terrible skin so that gave me the confidence to stick to retin a micro, well today marks my 16th week and sadly my skin is just getting worst my purging period never ended and it seems like it never will, I have kept a photo acne journal and I can see my face has just gotten progressively worst , I have terrible cystic acne now and a bunch of tiny pus filled pimples and brown scars from previous pimples ... The only positive result I've gotten is smaller pores, I do understand this medication takes a while to effectively work though so after coming this far I will continue to use ram for a year before I give up , I will definitely update once my skin begins to clear up a bit more ! if you are also at your 4 month and are still purging like me don't lose hope !! hopefully we will soon get the flawless skin we have been striving for !
Ps- my daily regimen is in the morning I wash my face with cetaphil gentle cleanser and wait ten minutes before applying cetaphil facial moisturizer , and at night I wash my face with cetaphil again, wait thirty minutes then apply a pea size and a half of ram
Ok, so I highly dislike coming onto this page to read negative reviews about a product that was tried for less than a month. STOP IT! You are ruining the chance for other ppl to really give a product a try. Reviews really should not be given until the person has been on this for at least 3 months. If you are going to use such a product like retin-a micro,then you NEED to be informed as to HOW this product works. Results will not be seen in a month, or even two months...for some it could take even 6 months. First of all, with any real acne product, your face is going to get worse before it gets better. THAT is just how it works...yes, you will probably break out a lot more and your skin will look bad. If you are having irritation, then you should only start out using the product every couple days...it is very strong and some people can't tolerate using it more than a few times a week. If your face is very RED or RAW, you are either using too much or too often. So please, do not give negative results based on a couple weeks of use, that is ludicrous.
As for me, I have been using this product for 15 weeks. I started using it for minor breakouts and to smooth out my skin. When I started this I had no breakouts at all, but i did have some little ones underneath the skin that I was hoping would be brought out. Well, after several weeks that did happen. And even though I started out with no zits, at around week 7 I started having some breakouts on the sides of my cheeks and I also got about 2 cystic pimples. So, yes there was a period where I felt icky about my face. But i kept on going. when I first started I used this about 3 times a week and gradually increased it; now I will use it like 6-7 days in a row and then take a night off. (I also have a bottle of the .1% and I stated incorporating that into my routine after 7 weeks) Ok, so just to clarify how I started using this: Weeks 1 & 2- I used ram 3 times a week; Week 3 & 4-I used it 4 times a week; Week 5,6,7 &8-I used 5 times a week; then starting at week 9 - present, I started using it approx 6 days a week (however if my face feels dry on a day I will take the night off.) I use the .04% consistently, but now am able to use the .1% maybe twice a week, in addition to the .04%. for example, I may use the .04% four times during the week, and then use the .1% twice during that same week and then take a night off. This seems to work well for me. Today I am glad to say that my face is very smooth and glowey. I have no zits (knock on wood) and any small red marks I had after having those breakouts have dramatically faded. I can't wait to see how my face will look in a couple months. Also, depending upon how my skin feels, I may or may not use a moisturizer after applying the retin-a. If I do use it, I always wait about an hour and a half after applying the retin-a micro. But again, it is only occasional that I use it at night. But, I always use moisturizer every morning.
So if anyone is struggling out there with RAM, please don't let it get you down. Things can absolutely turn around, especially if you have been using it less than 6 months. You need to give it a fair amount of time before deciding whether it works for you or not.
Also, there a few other things I do to try and help minimize potential dryness. I also take a medium sized dose of vitamin e everyday as well as fish oil. (When my friend was on accutane her derm suggested taking vitamin e, so I thought it might be helpful) Anyway, if I skip days taking it, I definitely notice a difference in my skin. I also notice the benefit on the rest of my body as it is very soft. If I get the peels, I have a micro cloth that I use, not frequently, but only when I really need to get rid of the flakes--I also use it gently. while my skin is sensitive I had been using proactive for the past many years andI have been able to continue using the face wash and toner along with the RAM. However, I only use the cash wash and toner in the mornings, at night I just rinse my face with water but do not use anything besides the ram. A couple weeks ago I also added in one of MD Forte's products called "Rejuvenating serum 1" and I only use this a few times a week in the mornings. So far so good, but again, I am very gentle with my skin and if it seems at all irritated or uncomfortable i will take a night off and just moisturize.
Also, I get the brand new retin-a from a pharmacy in Canada--here a bottle goes for $125, but the same one goes for $21 at a Canadian pharmacy. (you do need a prescription)
UPDATE: July 6,2013- Hello, so I have no been on RAM for 7 months. When I used to read reviews, many of them were only after many weeks of use, like 9 or 12 weeks, but in my opinion, it is really important to give this medication a longer window of time to work (if it doesn't seem to work for you in the first couple months). I really love this product! I continue to use it regularly as my skin has really adjusted to it. However, if I want to make my skin peel a little faster than usual, then what I will do it I will not use a moisturizer after I apply the retin-a, or I will wait like 2 hours after applying the RAM before using a moisturizer. The moisturizer helps prevent making your skin too dry, so I tend to alternate days and do 2 days off, one day on, etc. It really does work best without moisturizer, but for me, this "combination" worked great, especially if I felt that using it by itself was too strong, thus by using the moisturizer you are still getting some effect. Since it is now summer my skin seems to be quite a bit more oily than it was in the winter. But I have definitely noticed a smoothing of the skin, a reduction in pores and pretty much no pimples. (of course I don't want to jinx myself!) But I have not had a zit since around April, which is pretty cool. And I have a couple of large pores on my cheek that have really seemed to decrease due to the constant exfoliation.