I have used the generic form of Retin-A, .5%, for about 8 months. It costs me about 12 dollars a tube ( on my prescription plan), and lasts for 3 to 4 months.
I am very pleased with the results. I had mild to moderate acne, with sensitive, slightly oily, and very fair skin that was beginning to age at 29.
At first, I experienced the usual side effects of dryness and slight peeling, which started about 3 weeks into treatment. It was not prohibitive enough for me to discontinue treatment, and a good moisturizer with SPF handled it just fine.
It took about 6 months of 5 days a week use to really reap the benefits of decreased acne. Immediately, I found that it decreased the oily sensation, and made my skin softer. Now, my acne is almost non-existent, most notable during the dreaded PMS phase. Maybe I'll see one small blemish that heals very quickly, and I have stopped getting the "cheek zits" that plagued me prior to Retin-A. I feel obliged to mention that I radically decreased my sugar intake, ( no more candy from the office bowl! ), which I think helped, too.
As far as ant-aging benefits, I have found that my skin feels more radiant and resilient, and needs exfoliation much less often. It's hard to say if it "turned back the clock", as I have always looked younger than my age, but I strongly feel that new wrinkles are not forming. Maybe it's the placebo effect, but I'll take it.
I would encourage users to stick with it - if I would have stopped after 3 months, my review would have been a lot different. There are, sadly, no quick fixes. Consistency and patience will pay off! I will use this forever, unless they create something better!
I was recently prescribed the .25% version of this product for my moderate adult acne. I am 23, and I have suffered from deep and painful cystic acne since I was around 14. I have tried just about everything, and this is my second round in using retin-a. The first time, I like most users quit using it as soon as my skin became dry and flakey. I know now that if your keep going your skin will become used to the product, and it will work wonders for you in little time. I use this in conjunction with plain Dove soap and my skin is clearing up at an acceptable rate. Face it girls, nothing out there is an overnight miracle. The sooner we realize this, the more money we will save! I have used retin-a for over a month and here is everything (BOTH GOOD AND BAD) that I have experienced so far:
The first day I used it, it burned my skin after I put it on, but, I waited a good hour after washing my face before putting it on the next night and that made a HUGE difference. Within a few days my skin began to peel a good amount, I could not wear makeup at all due to the dryness. I began using a semi-coarse facial puff every few days to get the flakes off my face, also my face had a slightly red hue to it due to the irritation. My acne looked a great deal worse, very red and more prominent.
Several more pimples popping up. My doctor told me this would happen as it is "purging" your skin of impurities. My skin was still horribly dry and irritated, but some places were starting to heal. My doctor told me to begin using an oil- free moisturizer with a sunscreen during the day. This helped a great deal.
My skin started to show drastic improvement! Not as many new pimples, but the old ones were healing up nicely and some of the blackheads on my nose that I have had for years were starting to vanish and my pores were becoming smaller. The dryness was subsiding a great deal now that I started using a moisturizer, I could begin to use powder on my face without looking like a freak with "scales." The redness and irritation was going away a great deal.
I think by now my skin is used to the medication and the flakiness is almost totally gone with the use of the facial buff every few days and the daily application of a light moisturizer. The large pimples I had are now smaller and healing up nicely. Many of my acne scars are now beginning to fade and as of now there are no new pimples to speak up. The black heads on my nose are gone, as is the redness and irritation on my skin. The cystic nodules I had on my forehead are almost totally dried up and less prominent...and most importantly....LESS PAINFUL!
Acne on forehead is almost totally gone. No redness, no new pimples except a few tiny whiteheads (as they come with the first of the month visitor) dryness is subsiding and I can now wear makeup! Hooray! I think I made it through the worst part!
No change really in the existing acne other than the dryness is coming back, as many of my existing pimples are being "peeled" so to speak. I have noticed that the skin around my chin is the most flakey, and that is where the most pimples are. Applying a little extra moisturizer!
Oiliness of my skin is starting to be a little more under control. Many of the flakies are coming off to reveal very small macules (red bumps left after a pimple heals), but considering the size of some of the acne, I can deal with a little red bump here and there. At least they don't hurt!
Winter has set in, and the full effect of this medicines capabilities are setting in! The doctor said since I am making such progress I should apply every other nite to compensate old man winter's harsh cold. Fine with me. I am happy with the process of recovery so far. I can see a difference in my skin.
Many of the macules are starting to lighten and disappear. I have one stubborn one on my left cheek, if it does not disappear within a few weeks I might have to get a cortizone shot. EEP!
Most macules are gone with slight discoloration, but no cream will take care of that in such a short time. I am scheduled for a cortizone shot next wednesdayfor the one on my cheek. The flakyness of my skin is starting to be more under control. Applying it every other day has helped tremendously with that! I actually got my first compliment today on how well my skin is doing!
So there you have it. The good and the bad of Retin-A. I highly suggest you at least try it. Stick it out, I am just out of the "getting used to it phase". My skin has adjusted to the medication and I still have acne, but the results I have seen so far have given me hope that more improvement is not too far off. My doctor said that the biggest improvements happen within the first 4-6 months and you skin will continue to improve over the course of a year. That is including the fading of acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles...the whole shebang. I am looking forward to staying on this medication and seeing what it has to offer.
I have used this stuff for 15 years, after my dermatologist first prescribed it, and it's the best. Not cute, fun or sexy but it gives slow, steady results. I am naturally pale, blond and blue-eyed, and I fried my skin in the sun including years on the swim team, at the beach and growing up in California. Lots of sun damage but Retin-A really does undo a lot of this. I hardly ever wear foundation and only a little concealer to cover redness around my nose and mouth, as otherwise my skin is pretty good (a miracle thanks to this stuff). I use it in the .1 strength 2 or 3 times a week, and it rarely makes me peel anymore. The last year I've been using it on my legs, especially lower shins, forearms and hands where I have age spots, along with prescription hydroquinone cream, and slowly they've faded -- HOORAY! also the chest, throat, which was really spotted before but now is a lovely smooth light gold. I put it on my nose and cheeks more thickly to discourage blackheads and use a lighter coat on the rest of my face. I experimented with lactic acid & TCA peels to repair sun damage but haven't had the same steady, sure results which I have with Retin-A, which is really like a slow peel. In France and some other countries (Mexico, for example) it costs around $30 per 40g tube without a prescription and this can last 4 or 5 months. I wouldn't waste time on the non-prescription 'retinoids'. The downside is that it does turn you into a pale person; 15 years ago I was sun-tanned and sun-kissed but now I am definitely pale, and have to wear a little makeup so that I don't look sick. I didn't go through a painful time when I first started using it, as some others report. My derm. told me to start with 1/4 pea mixed with moisturizer, then a month later it was 1/2 a pea ... there was some redness & flaking but it wasn't painful or difficult to conceal. If you've ever had poison oak, Retin-A is *nothing*.
I'm coming up to my 14th week using 0.025% cream (of the generic, mind you) and I have mixed feelings. I'm 26, have suffered from various degrees of acne since I was 11, so that was my main reason for wanting to try this, along with the premature aging benefits. My skin broke out horribly for the first 8 weeks, so bad that I even cried a couple of times wondering, why am I using this stuff? What am I doing to my skin? I didn't experience the redness, peeling or irritation others report, just an explosion of breakouts everywhere. It was hard to get through, but I'm finally noticing that I break out much less now than I did then. I hope this is the beginning of an improvement. It's a long and slow road and I try to be very patient. I still have areas around my chin, mouth and cheeks that are bumpy (clogged pores, blackheads) and I continue to get a couple whiteheads on my chin per month. My nose has always been filled with blackheads and that hasn't changed at all yet. My skin is not where I hoped it'd be by now, but the areas that are clear are VERY smooth and soft...as if I've done a major exfoliation, when all I've been doing is using this cream at night. I know it must be doing *something* then. I have a lot of marks from old breakouts, too, and I can't say that I find this product is fading them any faster than normal. I'm planning on seeing my doctor soon and perhaps asking for a stronger prescription (as I never really did experience irritation or much dryness with this), and maybe a gel formula instead of the cream. I will continue to update!
UPDATE: It has now been almost 6 months of regular use, now I'm up to the highest strength (0.1%) and I'm still getting breakouts, along with marks that never fade. I don't know why this isn't working as well for me as it has for others. I'm going to continue to use it, as I was just prescribed the .1% two weeks ago and I think I'm going through another purge because of it. I'll give it time...but it's been a long time already. I wish I knew why this seems to work so fast for some people and not so fast for me :(
I was prescibed Retin A 0.05% gel about 15 years ago. It got rid of small bumps I had under my skin when nothing else worked. After using for years, my Derm.only started carrying the cream in his office. I hated the cream. I disliked the heaviness and it felt uncomfortable on my skin, so I stopped using it.
Now that I'm getting older, I thought to start using it again for wrinkles. I found the gel formula online and bought several tubes. I've been using it for about a month now, and I did have the flakies, but those are gone for the most part. My skin is looks brighter and pores have disappeared! I'm also using it on my chest and neck and that area has smoothed out as well! Love this stuff! I will never stop using. I also use Alpha Hydrox lotion on top before going to bed, and that really helps speed up the process of the Retin A. Try both together, it works really good!
Edited 01/02/10: I ran out of the Retin A in October. I just purchased several tubes on Alldaychemist.com. Silly me, I bought the.01% strength, thinking it was the one I was using before-(I had the 00.5%)-
Big mistake- I used it the same way I had used the 00.5%, and I had the worst peeling red and *sore* skin! I stopped using it of course. After my skin healed (which took about a week) I am now waiting 1/2 hour after washing my face and also mixing it with my moisturizer first. That has really helped. I also use a pea size amount. Def. be more careful with the stronger strength. What also helps with the peeling and dryness is to use a humidifier (I use a warm mist one) in your bedroom when you sleep at night. That really helps your skin, overall retain some moisture. I also found that Weleda's Skin Food works really well for dryness on your face. It's like an ointment, so only use a little bit or your will look greasy, and rub it in well. You can get a trial size tube of it at Target for $2.99 and it will last you a very long time.
I have mild/moderate acne - mix of a couple of cystic, whiteheads, etc and uneven skin tone with old acne marks. I finally went to a dermatologist and got the .025% prescription. The first and half week went well - face cleared up a bit. then the purging came from week 2 and half of week 3. This also included dry, flaky skin. Then face cleared up again. I've been on Retin-A for two months now and my face has cleared up a lot more since. Acne is still active but not as much. Many of the past acne marks are fading -- they seem to fade at a faster rate now! I notice that my face do flake from time to time but you just have to remember to rub them off when you're in the shower or while washing your face -- this will help you get rid of the dead skin so the newer skin will come out. my cousin, whom i haven't seen for a month, said to me during dinner - "WOW - your face really cleared up a lot! what did you do???"
My dermatologist prescribed a 0.01% Retin-A gel for me and I've only been using it for the past three nights. So far I hate how difficult it is to spread, but I love how quickly it sinks into my skin. There's no waiting around for it to sink in, that's for sure. I apply it by rubbing a pea-sized drop between my fingertips, quickly patting it all over my face and then spreading it as best I can. I haven't experienced any stinging or discomfort. So far I don't notice much of a difference at all except for slight peeling around some of the areas I had breakouts.
UPDATE: Either I'm extremely impatient or retin-a just doesn't work for me. 3 months and I saw little to no improvement. It actually got much worse and it's hard for me to believe that my skin was clogged that badly and that all the breakouts I had were just purging. I couldn't deal with messing my skin up so much and waiting around for so long for it to eventually get better. I've stopped using retin-a and am now using Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads every other night. I'm already seeing an improvement.
UPDATE: I've stopped using OCM and am now using just cold pressed Avocado Oil as a precleanse. Haven't had a clogged pore since. Wonderful!
I have oily, but dehydrated skin with large pores that clog easily and minimal, shallow wrinkles for my 50 yrs. By dehydrated I mean I'm one of those you see that their skin looks dry, crepe, and dull, yet there's this oil slick floating on top. I rarely break out and if I do its product related. My skin is usually tough as nails and tans without burning, although I use mineral ss SPF30 daily. I was a religious user of Avene retinoids and loved them and never really thought about changing to Retin-A. Then I went to my derm to have some moles checked out and he had this huge poster on his wall for RetinA. When I asked him about it and if I could have some, he said he wished all of his patients over 25 would use it, and gladly gave me an RX for .025. I used it for about a month with zero results. Seriously, the Avene was better. So he upped it to .05. I used almost about 3/4 of the tube (almost 3 months worth) and still wasn't impressed and was going to call him when suddenly (it seemed like overnight anyway) it kicked in. My skin started to look and feel smoother and more even toned. The crepiness had diminished significantly, and my friends starting tell me how much better my skin looked. The crows feet I did have are also much less, and the right side of the tiny 11's is gone, with the left one fading. My neck looks much better too, and I've been using it on the tops of my hands where I have vitiligo, which makes them extremely sensitive to sun damage. My hands look so much better too. I didn't experience any purging, but it did clog my pores horribly in the beginning and nothing would unclog them short of a pro facial, which I just can't afford on a regular basis. I started using the OCM cleansing method and that has helped to unclog them significantly, although I'm still tweaking the oil combos. I use this at night, after washing my face with OCM and without letting my skin dry (too impatient). I only use an eye cream over it after waiting about 15 min or so. I've stopped washing my face in the morning, using just warm water and a washcloth, then a 20% Vit C serum (Cellbones iE20) and exfoliating once/week with Dermalogica's Thermal Microfoliant. Besides my ss I'm not using anything else, having cut out everything to see if this would work. I've very happy with the results so far and my routine is so much simpler. I can't stress enough to WAIT for the results. This works slow...but if you can tolerate it, it will eventually work.
Count me in on the Retin-a bandwagon! For years I cringed whenever someone asked regarding anti-aging as the answers were always the same: sunscreen and retinoids ........ I cringed because it was always the same people going on and on regarding retin-a that I wanted to scream STFU as I was obviously uneducated and honestly thought that retinoids were just another fluff as all the rest of the "miracle creams" however, these women whom I wanted to strangle by their daily gushing of retin-a, are the very ones I want to thank as I took the plunge and am certainly in awe. My first two weeks were horrible, as I ordered the wrong strength from ADC and found myself with red, raw and peeling skin, however, I endured and found ways to help my skin (a good cleanser - Erno Laslo Dual wash; a good exfoliant - Dermalogica's Microfoliant; and something to buffer the retin-a - Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Booster) and this week I definitely can see the benefits as my skin calmed down ------ I see clearer skintone, my face feels soft but yet I noted some additional firmness and a few light marks are fading if not already ...... can not comment regarding fine lines, as I am sure that this takes time, however, in the past three weeks which I have been using retin-a, this week certainly shows a remarked difference in terms of fading minor discolorations. To all those women whom I silently cursed out for not shutting up regarding retinoids, a big thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a believer.
My Retin-A tale:
I am now 20 and at 16 I'd never really had a blemish. Yet I was in for a treat because at 17-18, when most teens seem to be seeing the benefits of puberty and are looking great, I suddenly developed acne which became deep cystic acne. I was on anti-biotics for a year and a half before finally being referred to a dermatologist (trying to get a referral is like pulling teeth here in the UK).
I was immediately put on Isotretinoin (Accutane) and it worked amazingly; literally within 6 months my acne disappeared.
Fast forward to 20 and I was beginning to get concerned about the few small but relatively frequent breakouts I was having-usually only related to stress etc as I move a lot and am a law student at University so stress and me are good friends. I decided to tackle it and found out about topical retinoids - basically topical accutane.
Thanks to this and many other blogs I started off slow using a full tube of Philosophy Help Me before moving onto the 0.025% generic retin-a which I am currently using. The Philosophy seems to have primed my skin and has had great effects already. Having only been on the Retin A for a week, I am flaking quite a lot and my sunblock perhaps makes it look worse but I've surprised myself with no caring - I knew the flakiness and tightness would happen, just like on oral Accutane and knew the results would be worth it. Can't say I've purged much, just a few small pimples near my mouth that came one day and healed the next. It's my belief that using the Philosophy to very slow build up my tolerance has helped.
I am AMAZED though at the smoothness and clarity my skin has acquired. I don't have pock-marks and only like four open pores but my problem is pigmentation - any blemish leaves a red/purple mark. These will take time to fade but I can see it happening already. My skin is very fair and it just seems to improve every time I wake up. A lot of old marks seem to almost be coming to the surface and then flaking away - bizarre concept I know but it's true.
I look forward to many happy years CAREFULLY using this product; it really is something to go into with your eyes open and all the facts. This, some good cleansing and moisturising products, sunblock and I know I am close to having the best skin I could hope for. My face, even at 20, is tighter, more refined, clearer and just looks better. No more spots, blackheads are on their way out. I am so pleased.