First off, I am using a product called Stieva-A, which is a 0.025% tretinoin cream. I got this product because I had all these awful bumps all over my jaw from when I used coconut oil; they weren't pimples, just flesh-colored clogged pores that no other treatment came close to getting rid of. Since tretinoin is lipid-soluble I figured it would be able to get down into the pore and purge my skin of all the clogs (please never put coconut oil on your face!).
I have been using this for about 4 weeks and am quite happy with how things are going.
Pros: Those clogged pores are becoming pimples, which are then coming to the surface and then going away.
My skin tone looks more even and bright.
Cons: Flakes! I am flaking like mad around my lips and nose. I do swim almost every day, so I think that the chlorine may be contributing to the flakes; my skin only flakes when I get out of the pool.
I had hoped that my this product would help get rid of my blackheads. I don't really see any difference in them yet.
My skin is pretty much a mess right now, what with all the purging, but I expected that. Once it's gone, it doesn't come back, right? I'm holding out for the day when I wake up and my skin looks fab, which hopefully will be sooner rather than later.
EDIT: April 8, 2010
I have stopped using this stuff on a regular basis because the benefits weren't worth the costs. My skin was either super dry or really greasy from the heavy-duty lotions I needed to combat flakes. I found that using this made my routine more complicated than it ought to be and that my skin just wasn't happy or in any kind of homeostatic state. I will probably use it once a week just to help prevent clogs by maintaining good cellular turnover.
I will update this over a period of at LEAST 6 months. I am grateful for all the reviews on here, as they made me go out and try this product and I'm very happy I did.
A little info. about me and my skin first. I just turned 28, I have fair/medium skin with yellow undertones. I would consider my skin normal to normal/combo skin (somewhat oily tzone) and I have hormonal acne on my chin. When one slowly disappears, another one pops up on the other side of my chin. I originally looked into this for acne treatment, but I use it all over my face as an anti-aging product as well (and now, primarily).
I use Johnson&Johnson 0.05% Retin-A. It was dirt cheap cause I got it through my insurance company. Think I paid $6 Canadian.
It's been 2 weeks, and the first few days were PAINFUL and very difficult to get through (espcially since it's winter, the weather adds to the dryness). Since I read a whole bunch of reviews, I already knew that the first little while is tough to get through (itchy skin, irritation, breakout, peeling) <--all of which happened. But I stuck with it, and a week after starting my routine, I stopped peeling, my skin doesn't feel as itchy (still a bit itchy) and my breakouts are gone. I DID go through the purging period that some of you talk about. I got breakouts in places I never got breakouts (like on my forehead, tiny little red ones) and on my chin...ugh my chin exploded. It was horrible. I considered stopping but I stuck with it. AND SO HAPPY I DID. My skin is flawless. Seriously...FLAWLESS. I didn't have huge pores, but they were visible and now they're not. The tiny crepeyness around my eyes are gone and my tiny frown lines & lines on the forehead are gone. They weren't deep to begin with, I'm only 28, but now they're not there AT ALL. My skin is so smooth that I look like I took about 5 years off. Also, my makeup glides on so smoothly but what I noticed is I don't require much makeup at all. Because my pores aren't visible, and the tone is even, I find myself using spot concealer, a little mineral powder and I'm good to go.
It is EXTREMELY important to wait before applying the cream. Even if your face FEELS dry, wait about 30 minutes after washing your face before using RETIN-A and a little really does go a long way. I use less than a pea size drop for my entire face and that should be enough. Any more and you're just asking for trouble. And using more doesn't give you better results, just makes your skin burn, sensitive and flakey.
Here's my morning routine:
Wash face with cetaphil/spectro gel.
Pat dry, then apply olay regenerist daily moisturizer unscented /w spf 15 OR Clinique sheer city block spf 25
Here's my evening routine:
Remove eyemakeup with Olay Makeup Remover.
Wash face with Cetaphil/Spectro gel
Wait at least 30 minutes then apply a pea size drop of retin-a to my entire face and some on the neck area as well.
(I do not apply moisturizer on top, I let Retin-A do it's work overnight)
I will update as it's only been 2 weeks and the results are supposed to get better and better...
Hope this was helpful!
UPDATE #1 - It's been 5 weeks since I started using Retin-A and I use the same morning and night routine. Nothing has changed! I still love it but no noticeable changes since my first review which was 2 weeks into treatment. I was told that 2-3 months in, the results will be absolutely fabulous. They're great so far, but I want to see more! I find that I still flake sometimes. Some days are worse than others. Especially around my chin - that area seems to be the most dry and flaky. The dryness and flakes seems to come and go. Not sure if it has anything to do with the weather being so cold/dry here in Toronto. Will update again soon.
UPDATE #2 - It's been over 2 months and I continue to use the cream, although I confess, a couple weeks I used it every other day or so just cause I'd wash my face and couldn't stay up for half an hour to apply the retin-a. And as mentioned earlier, if you don't want at least 30 min. you'll worsen the irritation. But I DO continue to use it religiously and still loving it. Keeps my chin acne under control and no visible lines on my forehead, between my brows and around my eyes. Again as mentioned, it's not like I had deep lines there before I started using this, but they WERE showing a bit, and now they're not. Will continue to update as apparently the results just get better and better with time. Remember to always put on sunscreen before you leave the house even on cloudy days or during winter months...not just on sunny summer days ladies. I am using clinique city block sheer SPF 25 because I like the fact that there are no chemical sunscreen in this product and it is beautiful under makeup. :) will update again soon. continued >>
I tried Retin-A 0.025% for about 2 months. At first things seemed to go well, some flaking but nothing like the scary stories. I always put a coat of squalane oil between my skin and the retin-A cream, and only used a pea-size for my whole face.
Then I started purging around my chin area. My formerly clear skin looked like a teenager's - red pimples speckled all over. Then my skin became heavily irritated and red, my friends kept telling me I had eczema on my face and I would constantly get strange looks. I started having to hide under foundation every day but even that wasn't enough. Nothing was hydrating enough for my now broken and discolored skin. I discontinued the Retin-A and my skin is slowly clearing up. Once everything is back to normal I may use it a couple of times a week, but honestly my Lacsal cream (8.5% AHA and 1.5% BHA) works just as well and didn't ravage my face. I would advise to try it but keep in mind that something like this may happen even to someone who used it according to the rules and had no acne breakouts to start with. Good luck!
UPDATE: After leaving my skin alone for a few months I gave it another go. Started with 0.025% cream over a buffer oil twice a week, slowly moved to every day. Now I am applying with no buffer around the eyes and on my neck, and am slowly working on removing the buffer for the rest of my face. So far so good, no peeling or redness. There is hope! :)
Well I used this for eight weeks straight. After two weeks my face looked great and after that the purging started. I hadn't had acne that bad since my teens!! It was horrible...and I just kept using it every night. I used vasoline with a wash cloth to combat the flakes but the cysts didn't stop. I stopped using it for about four days and my face is completely clear. I've read all the reviews that it takes a long time but really this just got ridiculous. I have a job and a life and I couldn't continue looking like a monster! I think I'll stick to my routine of just washing and deal with the hormonal stuff that happens every so often and I can't deal with constant horrid acne around my neck and jawline!
I have been using Retin-A for exactly one year. I was starting to get fine lines, crepey skin probably due to health and lifestyle factors. I started out by using Renova religiously everynight under my eyes and then I slowly started using it on the rest of my face as my skin grew more tolerant. Currently I am alternating between 0.05% and 0.1% on my entire face nightly. After a year of nightly application of Retin-A to my face and under my eyes, I can see a positive difference. My skin is much smoother and the fine lines are gone. I should stress that my results are not dramatic but subtle. I like how this product has worked for my eyes most of all. From my experience, not a lot of people use retin a under the eye area where the skin is so thin but it has worked for me. Initially, my under-eye area looked really bad for at least 2 months (more wrinkled, dry and crepey) but I stuck with it-- it paid off!! One of my major goals with this product is to increase the thickness of my thinning skin. So this year I am moving on to my neck which is really starting to show my age. I have just starting using Renova on my neck nightly or as tolerated. Hopefully I will have good results to report back a year from now. Edit: 12-1-10 Reporting back after a year- My eye area looks very good which is surprising given my lifestyle (lol) and my age. I use the 0.1% every night on my whole face. When I smile I have tons of dynamic wrinkles- it is just the way I was born --I have a huge smile and smile with my eyes. so I think it is a testiment to the Retin-A that I don't have a single permanent wrinkle (when I am not smiling). So I will continue to use it religiously because I like the results--I am a huge believer in Retin-A.
I have used Retin-A in one form or another for over 13 years. Clients are always astounded when I tell them I am 45 years old. Retin-A is THE only product that works on the cellular level to produce collagen, works on resufacing and helps with age spots. I remember years ago my derm told me all I need is Retin-a, a good AHA, and a good sublock, and he was right! I use a pre blended formula from his office, either Retin-A .01 with 3 % hydroquinone or 0.5 with 7 % hydroquinone. I love Retin-a and wish I can bathe in it! Update: still using Retin-A, not one line, wrinkle or brown spot. THE BEST <3 continued >>
OMG!!!Where do I begin talking about this product. One minute I'll love this product and the next I'll hate it. I went to my dermatologist as to what I can do to get rid of my post acne hyperpigmentation and she took one look at my face and said vitamin A. that was the whole conversation and that was the first time I was introduced to Retin A. It was dirt cheap because it was free=) she gave me two. I knew nothing about this product and she was very detailed on how to apply this cream. She told me to start off every other day for two weeks and then gradually used it daily at night for another two weeks. The first two weeks I was using this was great, no side effects whatsoever. In fact the little bumps on my face started to diminished to the point where it was gone completely and my face was as smooth as ever.I would wake up in the morning trying too look at those annoying bumps that would just not go away for months. Im not even kidding I have tried everything to get rid of them and they would but after a few days it would come back and resulted to all the brown spots on my cheeks. Like I said i went to the dermatologist mainly for my hyperpigmentation and coincidently all the pesky pimples just disappeared and never came back. My face now is super soft and even out due also to a couple of products that i switch to.... But the side effects of this cream is intolerable for me, some people can use this for 3 months or more without any adverse effects but after the the first two week..my face started to flake and I never experienced flaking in my teenage years or adulthood, that along with redness all over my face as if I went tanning, oh and the worst I think I ever experienced with this product is the itching. To me the itching was insanely bad. I would scratch my whole effin face to the point where im already peeling no kidding and exageration when it comes to the itching part. Im constantly itching my forehead and especially my jawline...Now I only put Retin A on my cheek but it seems like my whole face is super itchy BUT my CHEEK I asked my dermatologist this and she said shes's not surprise becasue Retin A travels all over your face she even said she had a patient who complained that her lips was itching as well and she only put the cream on her face.. I had to stop the cream for a while because my face just couldn't tolerate it and i was prescribed a stronger hyrdocortisone cream to calm my face. my face started to go back to its original condition and i started retin a again with another cream in the morning and I dont use the retin a everyday anymore only 2 or 3 times a week but the cream im using in the morning is great. Im in love with it, it brightened my whole face and my hyperpigmentation is greatly fading and my face just has an even tone plus the bumps hasn't come back since which is awesome. I would recommend this for people who can tolerate this cream or if you dont have sensitive skin.
I've had a problem with persistent acne since I was 12. Black heads, white heads, and cystic acne have plagued me!
I've given just about everything you can find in a drugstore a try to no avail. I finally turned to my doctor for help. One of the options we've since tried is Retin-A.
A few notes from my experience:
-I never experienced the painful burning, itching, redness that some users have had.
-It barely put a dent in my skin's oil production.
-After four months I was still breaking out steadily and gave up on this one. I really don't think I saw any true improvement or even a change in my skin through my course. =(
I've suffered with acne for a really long time, and just general bad skin (blotchyness, scars, red marks, etc) and this is the ONLY thing that seems to consistently work for me. Its kinda a long road to good skin when starting because you either go through super dry skin, or breakouts or both, and it seems it will never go away, but it does. I was using it, then stopped and realized my skin looks best when i'm using it so i started again. I need someone to hit me when i stop using it because nothing works as well. I guess i go through phases where i want to find a simpler routine where i'm don't feel like i NEED a product to have good skin. But my skin is just so sensitive and acne prone that i just NEED this stuff. I don't think it actually heals acne scars, but it makes them look so much less noticeable. And i use cetaphil cream like crazy over this stuff to make my skin less dry, and lansinoh lanolin (for breastfeeding mothers....weird, but it WORKS) for my lips, because they get super dry and painful. If you have bad skin and nothing seems to work, try this! Don't fool yourself with crappy benzoyl peroxide products, they are bad for your skin!
prescribed to me by my dermatologist :] usually my acne scars take monthss to clear up but with this, they are almost gone with in about 2 weeks. it also makes your skin smoother, helps a bit with acne.
skin is very sensitive to this though so just fyi redness after application and drying is normal. also if it seems to get worse when you use this, give it a little more time.
i only dab a little on problem areas and moisturize after, and i only use it at night. btw, dont put it near the nose or eyes because the alcohol will sting your eyes/nose.