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.
My Derm prescribed for adult onset Acne.i started using it in August of this year.I went thru an awful purging period and the dry,red skin.I am so glad I listened to my Derm and stuck it out.My skin looks awesome.Love this stuff.
I began generic retin-a on 12/10/07, and I vowed to wait a year before I wrote a review.
First, I bought the cream formulation at 0.1% strength from Medsmex.com. I highly recommend that site for price, shipping time, and safety of transaction.
The cream has worked well, even in the height of summer. Unlike for some, the cream has never clogged my pores, and in the winter season I find the emollient texture a benefit.
I have non-sensitive, combination, late-thirties skin that has never been acne-prone. Given that skin history, I completely tolerated the cream and the .1% strength.
I apply this cream twice a week in the winter and three times a week in the summer. To be honest, I still get flaking around the mouth and chin area even after all this time. A good moisturizer boosted with glycerin takes care of the issue.
As far as results, I can see an evening of skin tone and texture. I have noticed a refinement of pores on the inner cheeks and sides of nose. I'm pleased with these subtle changes.
Bear in mind that several internet sources claim that the collagen building and the fine line softening sometimes take up to three years to realize maximum benefit. At less than 40.00 a tube per year counting shipping, that's a long-term, financially sensible commitment I'm willing to make.
After reading through these comments I feel compelled to explain something to new users of retin A and people who are considering trying it. A lot of people say that they "cant tolerate" it, or that it`s too harsh for their skin, or that it makes their skin red and painful.
Well, it`s basically a slow ( depending on which strength you use) chemical peel. It is probably not going to give you dramatic results if you don`t turn red and peel. When a chemical peel "burns" off the top layer of your skin, it then peels off to reveal newer skin. This is what retin A does. I`ve been using .1 % ( the highest strength) for 4 years now, and yes, I went through that horrible first 5 weeks of barely being able to smile or open my mouth because my face was so red, painful and tight. It even hurt to sleep with my face on a my pillow. But eventually, after about 7 weeks, the red "dead' skin peeled off. I have no more acne scars, melasma, large pores or fine lines. I believe this stuff actually speeds up collagen production because my skin has more elasticity to it than when I was in my 30s. If I could only have one "beauty" product, this would be it, because you can throw away all your foundations, concealers, and skin creams once you completely clear your skin up.
I would suggest to people to talk with their dermatologists, and don`t be afraid to try the higher strength. It works faster although your face WILL be pomagranite red for about a month. There is probably a very small percentage of people who are truly allergic to this stuff and shouldnt use it, but I think a lot of people confuse an allergic reaction to the expected redness that it initially produces.
I wanted to find a cheaper alternative to the Level 6 Green Cream I'd been using--I was getting some results with that product but it only served to make me more curious about stronger retinoids. When I found out that my insurance company wouldn't pay for Retin A for over-25-year-olds, I was pretty upset. I could've tried to appeal and get them to pay but who knows for how long or how much they would have been willing to pay. Then I discovered medsmex.com. I ordered two fat tubes of the .01 gel and had them express shipped to me for what one little bottle of Green Cream Level 9 would've cost. Not to mention, a fraction of the cost of Retin A at my local pharmacy. I was a bit worried that the .01 gel wouldn't be strong enough, and I overused it a bit at first. I should mention that I'm using the product for (mostly) comedogenic, non-inflamed acne on my forehead. I've had so many clogged pores there for the last seven years, and I'm just absolutely at my wits' end with them. The Green Cream had already worked out a lot of the plugs but my skin still wasn't where I wanted it to be. In a week's time, Retin A has peeled down several more layers of skin, and the last of the remaining plugged pores are resolved. Yes, my skin is red and irritated but that's because I didn't follow the rules--I overapplied and didn't wait 20 minutes to let my skin dry after washing my face. My fault. Although I have some redness remaining, my skin is so smooth, and I know with time it's just going to get better and better. I think Retin A is the only real solution to my skin problems (besides maybe lots of peels and extractions), and I hope to be able to use it forever.
EDIT: Well, the third week brought some pain when I broke out really badly before my TOTM. It was ugly but I persevered, and now my skin is clearing rapidly again. I guess time will tell if Retin a can stop my monthly breakouts, but for now, my skin is the smoothest it's been in seven years. Before, when I broke out, the plugged pores would stay and stay, so at least this way I can break out and get it over with.