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.
I have been using 0.025% tretinoin cream (the generic name) for about 6 months, and my skin has never been better! I initially asked my dermatologist about products that combat acne (I've never had bad skin but I noticed more zits in the bottom half of my face- My dermatologist said it's hormonal and common in women in their mid-late twenties), but then asked about Retin-A because I had heard it was the only product that has been proven to reverse or prevent wrinkles caused by sun damage. I don't have wrinkles yet, but I figured a little prevention goes a long way!
So, I can't comment on its wrinkle-fighting abilities, but my skin is clearer and more radiant than it has been in 15 years! I still have some blackheads on my nose, but I hardly ever get zits and I absolutely love the way my skin looks.
I follow my dermatologist's advice and use HALF A PEA-SIZED amount mixed in with my moisturizer each morning. As she promised, I haven't experienced ANY drying at all, not even the first few weeks!
The generic is covered by my insurance and costs $5. I need a new tube every 4 months, so for $15 a year my skin is better than ever! Highly recommend!
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???"