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.
I just came back from a visit to my baby (56) sister, who I last saw several months ago, and she asked me where my jowls went.
When I was in my late 30s I started using retin-a for the itty bitty lines just beginning to form around my eyes. Not only did the lines disappear but my skin glowed. I stopped using it in my 40s--reason shrouded in the mist of early senility--and substituted this that and the other thing with unremarkable results.
About a year ago I had botox for the trenches that had formed between my eyes (skipping the forehead grooves since I need those muscles to hold my eyes open). The botox worked nicely, if too expensively, but I realized that fretting the grooves had merely distracted me from the rest of the ravages of 58 years...the blotches and discolorations, the deepening laugh lines around my eyes, and worst of all, the downward droop of my face and neck.
Last February two things coincided. Allure magazine rated wrinkle creams with retin-a clearly the top scorer and a friend happened to be in Mexico where I knew it was sold over the counter--cheap--and I asked her to pick me up a couple of tubes of .5 cream.
Six months later and not only have my forehead and between brow lines diminished to the point where I wouldn't consider botox (they haven't completely disappeared, they just give my face a little character, which I don't mind), but the entire structure of my skin has tightened, including my NECK and JOWLS, which totally shocked me.
A newish doctor--who totally knows how old I am-- recently said something about my being too young to fret about something (let's not get into it) and I had to remind him that I'm no spring chicken. He pulled out my chart to remind himself. He's in his early forties and said he was thinking of us as being the same age.
Couple of things. I have nice, tough, relatively insensitive, eastern European skin so maybe I can get away with things others can't. I've never waited after washing and towel drying my skin to apply a pea sized bit of retin-a mixed with a pea-sized blob of moisturizer to my face and neck--though I did have some redness, sensitivity, and a little peeling for the first couple of weeks so I used it every other night before moving to nightly.
I also used it all summer long--even after a day at the beach--with no problem and only an spf15 sunscreen (that tough skin again--though I usually don't lie about broiling). And here my mental fog lifts--back in my 30s I used to stop for the summer, afraid that I might damage my face by combining retin-a and sunshine. So I think what probably happened was I finished a tube in, like, May, and then didn't resume in September.
After 6 months, tube number one is just about empty. One more to go and it'll be Februaryish and I think I'll take myself to Mexico for a couple of refills.
I bought Retin-A 0.025% from ADC. I purged loads on that and I still have the red marks which dont seem to be fading. At first I used it every other night then every night which was ok for my skin but I did have some flakies. The RA tightened my skin and made my face very soft to touch but it didnt really control my acne. So after using about 1.5 tubes, I used 0.05% which made my flakies worst (its even worst jsut before TTOTM), so I had to use moisturiser at night. I've used the 0.05% for a few weeks now and it seems to somewhat help - less premenstrual breakouts.
Even though its a gel, I find that after applying it for an hour or two, my face starts to shine, especially the t-zone. The ADC RA is manufactured by Shalak, which according to the MUA board, is olive ester base so I guess its not as drying as the alcohol based.
I will still have to see if the 0.05% works, but I have an alcohol based RA at a lower strength and according to an mUAer, it should be stronger than the ADCs. So I will update this review