It took away my blackheads/whiteheads and made my breakouts significantly better when I had cystic acne. The downside, and the reason I stopped using it, was that it made mmy red marks more noticeable and they would last for months. It also gave me very sensitive skin. I washed my face with a washcloth and it rubbed my skin off and I had a huge scab, typically my skin is so tough I could use a brillo pad and it would feel fine.
I am using retin a purchased from ADC. I started with .025% but see little to no change. I have started with .05% every other night and anticipate having to increase to .1% soon. My skin is so resistant!! Did a TCA peel a few weeks after starting and it frosted so much faster than it has in the past, so I guess while I see no change, there has been something going on!!
As I write this, I'm in my second week of using the generic tretinoin 0.1% (the highest strength) gel. After reading some reviews about this "miracle cream" I decided I should jump on the bandwagon; I ordered it along with my Lumigan from alldaychemist.com like many others from MUA.
I am 19 years old, asian with medium, combination skin. I've never had bad acne, maybe a couple here and there, and normally they are on my forehead. Because I am a woman of color, the acne would leave brown spots (hyperpigmentation) constantly. I had these all over my forehead that I cover with makeup, which is fine. But it is summertime and I decided it was finally enough with the heavy foundations and such. I'd read that tretinoin is very good for acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, pores, so and so. Well great! How could you say no to all of that?
Being me, I got too careless when the product arrived in the mail. That evening, I washed my face and immediately smeared a good amount of tretinoin on my face and headed off to bed. UHH WRONG! Needless to say, I did NOT read directions and all the cautionary tales on MUA. I just thought tretinoin was another cream, never realizing that theres a reason it requires a prescription. I did this for two nights, and the third day I started to see the peeling. Okay, I thought, I could deal with this. I scrubbed my face with St Ives Apricot Scrub (love this stuff) as best as I could, and powdered heavily. I had a pool photoshoot that day, luckily my skin looked fine on camera. At home, I used a tweezer and literally PEELED my face off. It didn't hurt, but I have never seen my skin come off in sheets like this. I continue my nightly routine, and the next day I woke up to a DISASTER. My face was so tight, I could barely smile. I was peeling again, so I slathered on St Ives. That was effective on my forehead and cheeks, but when it came to my chin and lower portions of my face, it was HELL. Anything that touched it BURNED. I had to constantly splash cold water on my face to lessen the pain. The skin here was so dry and rough that it felt out of this world to touch . . I've never seen my skin so bad. I continued scrubbing it about 4 times in two days, and the chin area was just red and raw. I finally gave up and just let it be, I figure the flakies will come off eventually, just not now. But let me tell you, the pain was unreal. I broke down and got some darvocet (prescription painkiller) for when I had to work so I could focus on the work, not on the pain exuding from my face.
Oh, the social aspect of this is probably just as bad as the pain I was experiencing. I have a part time job on the weekend (I am a student), and I was so embarassed to be out in public with this horrible skin. I don't know how I made through it, actually. Now I really understood all the people who have skin issues, and I learned to not be so judgemental. . it was a great lesson. This same weekend, I did not go out. I can't say how depressing this was for me. I am a total social butterfly and have not stayed home all weekend for probably over a year. There's no way I could go out looking like that. While I was cooped up, I made up my mind. I was going to stick this out, that the worst is probably over (now that I know how to correctly use tretinoin). I just can't give up now, especially after all that I went through this past week. During this second week, I am going to pray and pray that the peeling will slow down, hopefully the red/raw skin will subside, and I can actually go out looking not so freakish. The only good thing is that I haven't had my usual hormonal acne pop up when I started my period.
I have high expectations for tretinoin and I hope it doesn't disappoint. I really hope this is my miracle cream, used properly. It would be awesome to just simplify my routine: cleanser, moisturizer and some tretinoin every other night. I'm ready to clear my cabinet. But for the moment being, I am taking it one day at a time and am doing this: cleanser then wait AT LEAST an hour before the tretinoin. For the tretinoin, I'm using a pea-sized amount buffered with my moisturizer. I am doing this every other night. So far, the burning sensation has subsided a bit. I WISH I could have been doing this the whole time to avoid what has happened to my face but I can't take that back. Now I just sit and wait it out. If anything, I am so glad I did this during the summertime where I can "hide it out." I will continue to update weekly about my results.
WEEK 2: My skin never ceases to amaze me. It did a complete turn around, just as I hoped! The extreme redness and raw feeling I had was all gone, as well as the pain. I could finally put on my moisterizer without it feeling the burning sensation. The crazy peeling did subside and I just had normal flakies around my chin area. That was fine by me. I could finally get out of my house and oh boy was I happy!
WEEK 3: My skin has stayed pretty consistent. The only side effect I have now is the common flakies most gals on here experienced. Up until this point, I had completely clear skin. I had 3 or 4 tiny tiny pimples (they looked more like bumps than anything) but with makeup on, you could hardly tell. They went away pretty fast as well. But let me tell you my skin texture. Every morning after I had washed my face and moisturized, I can't help but touch my skin. It is sooo baby soft and it just glows. I noticed that hyperpigmentation on my forehead has faded away quite a bit.
WEEK 4: I think I am going through the "purging" process this week. I had decent sized pimples mostly on my forehead, but nothing too crazy. Good thing I have long hair and side bangs to hide most of it well. By the end of the week, they have mostly subsided.
WEEK 5 & 6: More purging, and having my period doesn't help that either. I really want retin-a to kick in already. Flakies are almost non-existant now!
I am using the cream in 5%. I've been using it for 3 months now. I haven't seen any improvements at all. I have red circular spots all over my cheeks, chin, and forehead. Retin A only lightened them a little but my face is so severe that this stuff doesn't work. It's such a disappointment! :( It doesn't help with blackheads or whiteheads either.
This stuff is great! I was afraid to use it because 1. It's expensive and 2. My skin is really dry and sensitive, and I thought this would irritate my skin too much. Problem one solved by buying it from mexico (also got lumigen for super-cheap there). Problem two solved by using it very, very carefully.
1. At night, wash w/ cetaphil, moisturize.
2. wait 30 minutes or so (I've waited less time and was fine, but I'm erring waaay on the side of caution with this stuff).
3. Apply .025 very lightly everywhere - including chest - except for the thin-skinned hollow under my eyes. I take care to apply it even more lightly around the crow's feet area and the skin around the top of my cheekbone (the part next to the thin-skinned part). Too many reviews of girls getting eye wrinkles from using too much in the wrong places**.
4. In the morning, again I either scrub my face w/ zia deep pore cleanser, exfoliate lightly with a washcloth, or wash with cetaphil and then use a pumpkin enzyme mask. I choose sometimes based on how my skin feels that particular morning, sometimes at random. :)
5. Physical sunscreen always ...................................................always..........................................................................................................................................................
Flaking was the worst during the first week or two, but even then it really wasn't that bad. As long as I checked the mirror and scrubbed the flakies off/dabbed with (heavy) moisturizer. .........................................................................................................................................................
And the preliminary results (after using it about a month):
1. No more blackheads! I used to get them a bit around my nose and on my chin.
2. I might be imagining it, but my skin tone looks more even.
3. Aaand it could be my recent fastidiousness with oil on my skin + a recent extraction at the esthetician's, but I think this is preventing milia! Oh oh oh happy dance.
And, well, that's all for now, but I'm hoping for more perks in the future (read: disappearing fine lines + youthful skin until I'm 60). Updates forthcoming.
**btw, girls with this problem: I think I've read every single review out there & tons of online derm advise for retin-a, and it seems that according to derms and plastic surgeons, the wrinkling is temporary, and is caused by extreme dryness & trauma. It seems your skin can take a while to heal, but apparently it WILL heal. That said, I haven't seen any reviews from women who had experienced the super-wrinkly effect and then had it go away, so BE CAREFUL. Sorry for yelling. Still, BE CAREFUL with this stuff.
6/11 Update: I am now using .05 about 4 nights each week. Man, my skin is so nice. Sometimes I get forgetful and stop using it and them my skin looks kind of bad. In fact, when I don't use it, I think my skin looks worse than it did before I started using it. I do love this stuff. After almost a year, I haven't noticed any difference with my lines, but then, the ones I have a few and very fine and I haven't been paying very close attention.
Okay, of course like an idiot I wanted superfast results and put too much Retin-A gel 0.01% on my skin. Now I am afraid I have a lot of fine lines where I didn't have before.
This is incredibly distressing for me. However, I now use this every second night, with rose oil or almond oil, and it isn't drying or flaking. However, I still seem to have a lot of fine lines! This is incredibly distressing.
I have heard that this product does work better after a few months and I have only been using it for one month. I also use a very rich sunscreen before makeup (I couldn't do this before as my skin was too oily) and that seems to help a lot.
Make sure you use something with SPF 40 or 50 and waterproof for the extra coverage!!
I will keep trying as I am desperate to get rid of the stupid fine lines on my forehead. I now seem to have them underneath eyes and nose area (due to Retin-A!) but the good news is that my acne breakout which I used to get when I get my period - seems to be really minimal or non-existent. This is great but not sure if it is worth the wrinkles!!
Let's hope that my collagen production increases after a while and fills out these hideous lines!!
When i first came to my dermatologish for acne, she perscribed this.
she fore-warned me that it will cause dryness and irritation as i start and that i should only use it every other day so i can get use to it.
YES it is very very drying, i was so irrtiated at looking at my skin in the begining that i gave up on this product for a while.
However i tried almost everything to tame my acne so i thought my face is already bad as it is, so who cares.
Now i've been using it for about 6 months, with the help of Levulan Light from a laser clinic, my skin has healed dramatically in the matter of 3 months.
i'm still using it on ever other night, and have tried to convert to every other night, but it still irritates my skin. i reccomend using a good moisturizer with this.
For my pores and overall apperance of my skin i cant say that seen much yet. but my scars have lighten up alittle bit.
and oh yea, dont get ur eyebrows waxed when using this. because u will end up taking part of ur skin off. It happened to me and i did some research online. Retin-A speeds up the metabolism of your skin so your skin is very thin. Getting anything wax on ur face is not a good idea.
I also read that the long term effect for this product is that it can prevent and reduce wrinkles. so i plan to use this in my routine from now on =D. being only 18 i have plently of time to prevent wrinkles.
I've been using retin-a 0.1% cream for about 3 years, it seems to control my break outs, they are not gone, but it helps
I have been using retin a gel for over 2 years now to try to combat my adult acne (of course getting closer to 30 Iím hoping it will prevent some wrinkles too). I started with the .01% gel and I buffered it every other night. Over time I slowly worked up to applying it every night un-buffered. I have tried a few times to move up to the .025% gel, but each time my skin would get too dry or irritated. I have realized that less is more when it comes to many skincare products. It took me a long time (maybe 6-8 months) to see significant results, but it was totally worth it. Now my acne is under control and I have noticed significant fading in many of my sunspots.
-significant research to back up its safety and effectiveness.
-it does what it is supposed to do
-covered by insurance, for me this is the cheapest, yet most effective part of my routine
-eliminated the need for many other treatment products, has greatly simplified my routine.
-can be challenging in the beginning to find the routine that works for you
-sun sensitivity, and thus the irritating process of finding a decent sunscreen
I have been using Retin-A for over 8+ years. I developed adult acne that had to do with my wearing heavy makeup on my face all the time. Many days, I would keep my makeup on well over 9 hours on my face. And, I didn't have a set skincare regimen at all at that time. So, I eventually ended up going to see a dermatologist who began treating my skin, and started having me get facial peels (glycolic and salicylic). I was also given at one time given a prescription for an antibiotic pill to take that was supposed to help with clearing up my acne, and after taking it for the first time, it really upset my stomach. So, I decided against ever going that route again. The dermatologist had me using Differin gel, along with using a cleanser that he had recommended for me to use to wash my face with twice a day, and a sunscreen lotion that he had recommended that I use every morning.
Unfortunately, the sunscreen lotion broke me out after first use. So, I stopped using it. And, I would just wash my face twice a day, and then apply the Differing gel nightly. My skin kept getting better and better until finally, my skin had become totally clear.
I eventually stopped going to the dermatologist. However, after a period of time after that i began to then start going through the cycle of breaking out all over again. So, one day, during z visit to my primary care doctor, I discussed with him about my acne, and he recommended my trying Retin-A at that time. I said okay. I started off with the 0.025 Retin-A Gel, which is very drying due to it having alcohol in it. My first couple of months using this product was the worst. I would find myself having to use thick creams on my face to moisturize it with, as it would stay so dry. I had lots of redness, and my face would feel sore. And, I my eye area had become dry and irritated as well. Therefore, i had to keep my eye area well moisturized too.
I then was later prescribed the same strength but in cream version. I used that for a while. Then, I went back to using the gel version again. However, I decided that it would be best to stick with the cream version instead. Even though the gel version is most recommended for use when you have combination/oily skin like mines, it causes a whole lot more dryness and flakiness, and irritation to my face than the cream version does.
I am currently using Neutrogena's Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser to cleanse my face with twice a day, I moisturize my face with St. Ives Times Skin Facial Moisturizer, and I apply Retin-A nightly. I am so glad that I decided to stick with using it, even though I went through a very rough time in the beginning.
Even though I have been using Retin-A for several years now, I still do get the dryness, slight irritation, redness. As, the side effects did get better over time, but they don't completely go away. My regimen is very simple, which I've found to work best for my skin. And, it's not a real expensive one either. My facial cleaner and moisturizer both cost less than $10 each, with my Retin-A cream being the most expensive product within my whole regimen. I get the biggest size tube they offer, do that way I have enough product to last me for quite a long time.