I was perscribed this stuff for my severe acne when I first began to go see the dermatologist when I was about 14. I started at the mildest one and within a year I was on the strongest one. I have tried every level of Retin A and none of them worked for me; in fact the strongest one made my acne worse. I apparently have the most stubborn acne on the planet. Note that I eventually went on to very strong antibiotics that had no effect on my skin, so the vast majority of people do not have acne like me. I am still young so I don't know how it works as a wrinkle cream. I don't recommend it for those of you who are using it as an acne treatment who have very strong acne. If you get to the 4th or fifth level of Retin A and it is still not working for your acne, you are going to have to move on to stronger medications. I realize that this review will not help most people but I hope that it may help someone. :)
Brand: Tretinoin (Galderma)
This is my one and only holy grail for skincare. With this, I can do without facials, expensive makeup, expensive skincare. After a month of Retin-A, I can solemnly and very sadly admit that all that I have spent on luxury skincare and makeup has never matched up to this, and probably never will. I discovered this by accident online a month ago, and decided to plunge into it after reading rave reviews about it from both customers and dermatologists about it's proven anti-aging potency. I am currently 26, and have noticed fine lines around my eye area that i really want to fix. But what plagues me most since my teenage years was whiteheads and clogged pores. I hate how my pores look up close, and I hate feeling bumps on my face from time to time, especially when i use unsuitable facial products. After just a week of Retin-A my skin has almost completely cleared up - I still have about 10 whiteheads on my face at any one time, but this is already a 90% reduction. My skin is smooth like never before! When I met my facialists they noted such a marked change that they have to prescribe new treatments, and colleagues have been asking me how I got my face to be so smooth. Now I can enjoy moisturisers, lotions, rich eye creams, and even makeup like never before, without having to worry about clogging my pores so much anymore. Blush and powder look ssooo much better on smooth skin too!
So now for the side effects. For me, i'm lucky to just have experienced some sensitivity and dryness (flakies around my lip area, lower cheeks, eyes) in the past weeks, but this is wearing off. I stop applying it once i feel some rawness in my skin, so i'm quite careful with this. On average, this comes up to applying it about 2-3 times a week. Another thing, I can no longer use peeling masks or scrubs as liberally as i did in the past, which is a good thing i guess, since i never really knew when to hold back when i get new whiteheads like every other day. I didn't experience any purging period, which was lucky.
Using this, I continue to be extremely careful with sunscreen - i always use SPF 50 when i go out to work or play, sometimes SPF 32 when i'm just lingering at home doing nothing.
Price-wise, it is dirt-cheap where I am (about 12 USD?). I also get a doctor friend to prescribe it for me. Even if it is slightly pricier in other places, I absolutely recommend giving this a shot because it can easily cost tonnes less than loads of expensive anti-aging or anti-acne skincare. I would recommend starting with a low concentration first to play it safe.
I will update you guys on how I continue to fare with this after a couple more months.
I know I probably have nothing to add that hasn't been said before but still, I felt this miracle product needed one more positive, 5 lipstick review on the list. I got it because a) I smoke, and religious sunscreen use can only get you so far and b) years of mild acne has taken its toll, leaving me with dullish skin, red marks and large looking pores.
I have tried the Retin A Micro in the lowest concentration and am now using the tretinoin gel in .04. The RAM definitely gave me less irritation in the beginning (almost none, in fact) and it did give results. The gel was a different story...very RED, flaky skin for a week. The flakes continued until I added an AHA product for the off nights (I say, don't even think about starting off every night with the gel!!). The gel hasn't improved zits yet but I noticed a difference in the fine lines near my eyes very fast. And for us unfortunate smokers: it is starting to resurface that area near my upper lip, which was starting to look dull and primed for those dreaded smoker's wrinkles.
The way I used it for slightly sensitive skin was: every other night, jojoba oil morning & night with a light washcloth exfoliation, after a week added an AHA toner/scrub. Until adding AHA, I honestly didn't have much luck combating the flakes like some of the other women here have. Extra moisturizer and a hat and the holidays (AKA hiding out with family!) were my only defenses.
This really helped my skin but the flakeyness was bad. I'm going back to see if I can get a milder strength one. I used this for a couple years and just got tired of dealing with the flakes. It looked like I had a skin issue some mornings (where I was afraid people would stare.) So I had to use a ton of cream and then I had so much on you can't really wear much makeup. It was frustrating. THen in winter the lines around my mouth would crack and bleed. It did work though and if you had bad skin, it might be worth the effort.
I began using Retin A before the patent expired, and have continued use off and on (not while pregnant), so that means I've been using it over 25 years.
I began using it for acne, but as everyone (now) knows, it's a great anti-wrinkle cream. I swear by it, and unless a dermatologist tells me otherwise, I plan on using it for the rest of my life. At 53, my skin looks and feels like a 33 yr. old's, and after getting into an auto accident, I've found that Retin A is also helping to diminish my more minor, residual facial scars. I have discovered a few things about this product the hard way, and would like to share my experiences. Your experiences might be different, but these tips have worked for me.
#1. In order to minimize initial redness and flaking when beginning use (or after not using it for 3-6 months), I begin by using it every other night for the first month. I don't believe that flaking and peeling are necessary for this product to work, and I don't like to look or feel like a molting snake.
#2. I always wait for 1/2-1 hour after my nightly wash to apply this cream. Otherwise, regardless how long I've been using it, I will flake/peel. It's a long time to wait, but it's worth it. Did I say that I don't like to peel or look flaky?
#3. To save money, I get the highest strength. I mix a fraction of the normal pea sized amount with my night cream and apply. This might reduce flaking too, but it definitely saves on $.
#4. I always use a maximum strength sunscreen. Retin A and sunlight do not mix. My skin is fair, and I will burn if I'm using Retin A and out in the sun in less than 15 minutes if I don't use a product with sunscreen.
#5. I use very gentle cleansers. This sounds basic, but what I can use without Retin A, can be extremely irritating when I'm using it. I learned this the hard way and I blamed Retin A when it was the combination of the two products. Aveda makes a gentle foam clenser that works for me. Cetaphil is gentle too. Likewise, some creams (or the perfumes in them) are harsh. Go for gentle in all products.
#6. I make certain I use a really good moisturizer. Good doesn't mean expensive. It just means that when I wake up, my face doesn't feel dry.
Hope this helps new users! And I hope you have results every bit as good as I have had.
UPDATE (5/4/09): A terrific GENTLE foundation that works well with my Retin A skin is back, new and truly improved. So far, it helps me wonderfully to avoid the dryness that Retin A can cause - it's Lycogel.
This is NOT to be confused with the old Lycogel sold on QVC (which I read bad reviews about). Although it's categorized under the Dermacia Lycogel MD in MUA, neither the company nor the product are called Dermacia any longer. They're simply called Lycogel. SPF 30, blue cap, frost glass bottle, .7 oz. This foundation COVERS, it's gentle, moisturizing without looking or feeling oily, and it does all of this beautifully while giving me a bare faced feel. They say it can be used after laser or other cosmetic procedures it's so gentle. All I know is that so far, I think I found THE foundation compliment to Retin A dry skin. I just had to share. I'll update again after using it longer.
Retin A is good.
Many reviewers on other boards have had fraudulent card use which has been traced to Medsmex.
The only thing that's more of a pain then acne is Retin-A. For the record i have combination skin that is generally not that sensitive. It was recommended by my dermatologist because i have black heads covering my nose and i break out fairly often. I tried the little samples for a few weeks and had no results. No nothing. After waiting awhile i finally gave it and got the perscription for the full bottle with the pump. After one use my face was in terrible condition. It burned, it peeled, it was red. All foundation make it hurt more. It only took three days of use and when i would work out the sweat would mix with it and i would cry. I know it is suppose to work in the long run but it was just torture to put myself through. And another downside was once i quit using Retin-A, it took over a week for the redness/flakiness/itchiness to go away.
I use the generic version (tretinoin) of this and on the first week or two, my skin has totally change. I had the worse case of acne break out (probably due to stress and irritation), and this helped smooth out my skin dramatically. It's been about two months and my skin does not break out as often as it use to, and it's smoothest has it ever been in years. My doc said it will take up to 6 months to see a full change.
I've tried this alone without my antibiotics and it does not work as well. I actually still break out if I use this alone, so this isn't really a miracle product for me.
I just started using the product- lots of peeling happening, but that may prove to be a good thing. redness has not reduced, still breaking out a bit, but seems to have lessened. Reading other reviews was helpful, will stick to it and see what happens!
This is something that burns. But I look good.