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.
Like others on here. I love this stuff. My derm tried to switch me to Tazorac, but my skin rebelled. I find whenever I stop taking this fo whatever reason (ex: waiting for shipment from India) I get breakouts. And whenever I start using it again, my skin calms down. I started out with retin-a micro which is good, but am now taking retin-a since I don't have insurance and have to order it from overseas and only the generic is available. I was using .04 earlier this year from some samples the derm gave me, but started my trusty .10 back again when I ordered my next shipment. The .04 didn't control my acne as well. I didn't have many breakouts, but I would have perhaps 2-4 pimples a month with it whereas .10 allows maybe 1 per month.
I do truly love this. I use the gel, although it does have a sort of alcohol smell and is more drying then the retin a micro cream was. I can live with it. This is totally worth it to control my acne. Whenever I run out of my prescriptions I have a much more complex array of products I use to control my skin, but I still break out. This stuff is pretty awesome, I've been using retin-a instead of the retin-a micro for 2 years now and its still going strong.
Now this stuff is not a micracle product. My pores are still pretty large and I do still have scarring and those lovely pits on my face from picking at acne. They are dimished, but have never gone away.
I have not personally used this product but I work as an esthetician and just want to remind everyone who uses this product (or any Retinol or RetinA product) that you absolutely want to stay away from any facial waxing!! These products essentially thin the skin and also cause some dehydration which can be catastrophic if you attempt to remove any hair by waxing. Skin can be torn so easily during this treatment. Skin tears, sores, scars and scabs can be the result. Please let your esthetician know if you are using Retinols.
Retin-A has a long history of proven anti-aging benefits. Drug store and department store skin care with "retinol" often have a retinol derivative that is much weaker in potency than a prescription. It unclogs pores, stimulates collagen, and reduces fine lines. That said-doing this takes patience. It can be hell-I am on 0.050% and my mild hormonal acne has erupted to serious breakouts, and flaky/dry/irritated skin. Your skin will dry out and literally flake-so you need to manually exfoliate these flakes off with a washcloth or a gentle scrub from time to time. Don't go crazy since you're already exfoliating so much-wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. And switch your cleanser to something very gentle-my cleanser is hypoallergenic, without fragrance. When I first used this, my blackheads were diminished and my pore size was smaller-then MY SKIN GOT WORSE-DRIED OUT, IRRITATED, RED, AND BIG BREAKOUTS FROM PURGING. Keep at it-your skin will thank you. You will have porcelain, smooth skin with smaller pores, finer texture, and reduced fine lines.
I first started using Retin-A when I was 14. I had really bad acne that would not clear up no matter what I used and my grandmother took me to the dermatologist. The Dr. prescribed me Retin-A along with a few other things that I don't remember.
I started using it daily and I remember clearly how bad the peeling was at first. It was quite miserable and my skin quite literally was falling off ,my skin could be peeled off in huge patches just by pulling at it with tweezers. Of course my brother made terrible fun of me during the whole delima, but after a few months my acne was totally gone.
Now I have been using this over 15 years and I always get compliments on my skin, especially by people that know how old I am. My face has NO wrinkles, it is tight, firm, and glows always. I know I am only 32, but I have way fewer wrinkles than others my own age ( especially considering that I am fair skinned) I used to have freckles, now I forget that I did until I look at old photos.
I think this is hands down the best skin care product you can ever use, however you do need to get past the first few months of using it, they are quite awful, but if you continue....WOW
This acne product is a miracle for me! I have tried everything besides Accutane, and nothing has gotten rid of my cystic acne like Retin A. I've been using it for about 3 months now, and it is just now clearing my skin. It takes a LONG time to see results and as the doctors say, it will make your skin worse before it gets better. Since starting this product I've gone through about 3 phases of "purging" where my already bad acne got to be almost unbearably bad. But I stuck with it and now my skin is glowing,smooth, and almost completely clear! It's even getting rid of my old acne scars (mostly hyperpigmentation). If you have acne that will not go away you really need to give this a try. But make sure you give it time to work, and hang in there through the "intial breakout(s)".
My skin's problem is pore congestions, blackheads, and mild to moderate hormonal acne. This is my second time giving retin-a a shot after my first try failed. The first time was a fail because:
1-I increased the dosage to once a day too early, 2-I did not use sunscreen everyday, and the protection was not high enough (only spf 15), 3-I did not exfoliate enough. After about two months I decided to give this another go. Only this time: I use it strictly every other day, the next day I use a salicylic acid cleanser and a wash cloth to remove the dead skin cells, SPF 55 UVA/UVB protection everyday. This time my face feels much less irritated and less dry. I accelerated the process of purging by using Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay as a cleansing mask every other day. I only recommend this cleansing mask because it's purely 100% bentonite clay with no other additives, decreasing the irritation from too much ingredients (think of products out there with long ingredients lists). On days when I'm not using retin-a, I try to replenish lost moisture by using an oil-free gel hydrating mask (Aveda's intensive hydrating masque is great). I also use a good hydrating serum every a.m. and p.m. when I don't use retin-a (Dermalogica's skin hydrating booster is awesome). BTW, I think Aveeno's continuous protection sunblock lotion SPF 55 is a great non-greasy sunblock!
I see that some people have decided to give up after only using it for a month or two. Here is the thing, Retin-A is like quitting smoking, you don't give up, hang in there. If the irritation does become bothersome, you are supposed to contact your physician. Then your doctor will see if the dosage needs some changes, or if it really doesn't work with your skin. No matter what you do, just don't go cold turkey without consulting your physician.
UPDATE 10/12: After using it every other night for a month with strong sunscreen, my tolerance is finally good enough for daily application of retin-a. My current routine: AM: Murad Clarifying Cleanser/Washcloth/Naris Hyaluronic Acid Toner/Bioderma Hydrabio Serum/Dermalogica Active Moist/DERMADoctor Ain't Misbehavin' SPF 30. PM: Dermalogica PreCleanse/Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser/Thayer Alcohol and Fragrance Free Witch Hazel Toner with Aloe/Retin-A before bed. I think my cheeks are still purging, but I'm already seeing some results. Blackheads and whiteheads on my nose and forehead have significantly reduced. Usually I need to use the Aztec secret once or twice a week to control the blackheads, but I haven't used clay masks for almost two weeks, and it's still ok.
UPDATE 11/21: I have been using Retin-A every night for a month now. After I upped the dosage from every other night to every night last month, I experienced another round of purging on my face. But those are almost gone now. My skin is just getting better and better, texture has definitely improved. I'm still using most of the products above, only my sunscreen is now Shiseido Extra Smooth Cream SPF 36, no toner at night, and a.m. toner is now Thayer's.
UPDATE 2/25: After finishing my 0.025% retin-a cream, I purchased a 0.05% retin-a cream. It is a generic Stieva cream, much cheaper, and works the same. I seriously don't see myself stopping retin-a anytime soon, I have saved so much money and time because I don't need to shop for fancy skincare products anymore. In fact, I don't even need heavy coverage foundation anymore, LM's tinted moisturizer is enough to make my face look flawless.
i've been using retin A since march or so..it works great but made me break out in heavy cystic acne for 2 months. it was the worst acne i've ever experienced in my entire life. but now my skin is much smoother and clearer and i hardly get pimples. you just have to work through those months becuase retin A clears acne from deep under the skin. so it takes a very long time for it to work completely. it just removed 4 really deep blackheads from my cheek that i've had for months.
also, it requires lots of exfoliation becuase your skin flakes and dries out. or it gets too oily. i dk its a weird thing that happens. but i recommend a scrub daily.
doesn't fade any of my acne marks. i think it might make them worse.