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
I used to take retin-a when I had broken out with moderate acne, mostly on the sides of my face. It was pretty bad. Proactiv didn't work and neither did the other stuff I tried over the counter. My dermatologist gave me an rx for this. The first 5-6 weeks were brutal because my acne actually got worse. DONT WORRY. That means it's working. If you can suck it up for that long, you won't be sorry. After my skin tone, pore size,acne, everything improved so dramatically. I am so happy I took it.
This review is for Avene Diacneal users. I used Diacneal for 6 months before a doctor convinced me to try Retin A (0.025%, generic). I experienced fairly good results with Diacneal, which smoothed my skin texture and evened the tone a bit, but those results are nothing compared to what I got with Retin A. Within *weeks*, I experienced way smoother skin, reduced redness, and faded acne marks. The rough texture I had left over from years of acne smoothed out within one month in all areas except my forehead (BTW, my pores haven't been "erased" yet, but they don't stand out anymore texture-wise, but blend in seamlessly with the rest of my skin); my skin tone went from red and dull to bright and glowing; and the acne marks that I thought were fading quickly with Diacneal started shrinking shrinking and shrinking.
In short, I got double or even tripple the results of Diacneal within 1/6th of the time. And yet... lo and behold I actually had less irritation. Whereas Diacneal made me super-flaky, Retin A keeps me smooth and exfoliated.
I don't have perfect skin now, far from it. Neither product eliminated my acne, and I still have very small, but still very annoying acne scars to deal with. And yet, I've only been using Retin A for 1 1/2 months, and I hope to never go without it again. It's sort of the difference between needing concealer and needing foundation. Right now I have marks in many places, but the base of my skin is so perfect and porcelain-like, it would be a shame to cover it up with make up, which could never rival the look of beautiful natural skin.
Oh, one last note: I never wait more than a couple of minutes between washing my face and applying this. Yes, it probably is more irritating this way, but if I don't apply something to my skin right after washing it, it starts to feel tight and overcompensates with the oil later on. Just my 2cents.
gosh i really hoped i would love this since i heard of the skin clearing and anti aging properties but it dries out my skin..even w/ the lowest dose! i've tried to space it out between days but each and everytime i get peeling painful skin.
I feel like I wasted a lot of time on this product. Eight weeks of applying the 0.025% cream every night left me with ZERO improvement in my skin. And I do mean zero. So recently I ordered the 0.05% from alldaychemist.com and have been using it for a month now. No improvement there either. I am giving up on this stuff, and am instead going to order a different retinoid product, possibly Differin because I remember that working as a teenager. I am very disappointed that this didn't work for me.
I've been using Retin-A for over ten years now. I don't have major acne but had a bad breakout on my forehead from using a face wash with mineral oil in it which is the worst thing for oily skin. (I didn't know this at the time) I went to the doctor and she put me on Retin-A and gave me some oral pills also to clear it up within days, it did. I don't remember the name of the pills. Anyway my skin cleared up fast(from the pills) and after weeks I really liked the way my skin looked on Retin-A, really healthy. So I've been using it since then, and will forever... I still have small monthly breakouts, but they are small and not a huge deal for me.
It does take many weeks like everyone else says for you to see really positive results from the Retin-A, for me the peeling was bad, but it was years ago so I can't remember in detail. Your skin will always be more sensitive to extreme heat or cold weather if you aren't careful, it will burn your skin easily. If my Husband doesn't shave his face daily or rubs his afternoon shadow on my face.. that causes a burn. Wearing a hat that's too tight on your forehead will cause a skin burn from the chaffing. You have to baby your face basically, *this has only been my experience* over the years, but it's totally worth it.
i have been in a battle with my skin since pre-teen-age years, and i'm 42 now.. i kept thinking that my skin would grow out of breaking out and being so oily, and i'd have nice clear skin some day.. well that day never came, so i kept buying everything trying for the clear face and the skin that did not need makeup... i got tired of it, and one of my MUA friends emailed me and said she had gone to the doctor and gotten Retin A.. so i listened to her and did the same thing... i got the generic cream, Tretinoin 0.025% which i thought would be way too weak for my face, i do not have sensitive skin, i have had reactions to BP before but i think that is more of an allergy than a sensitivity. anyway, it has been 6 weeks now.. and i am FINALLY seeing a change in my skin tone, appearance and clarity. i have slight very very slight flaking around my nose, but overall, there was no redness or rawness on my face. I did not experience a major purge either, it just did not seem to be doing much of anything for the first 3 weeks. I have also been using the cream on my neck and my chest area, because i break out on my neck and jawline (eeew i know) and my chest area gets broken out, and also i have significant sun damage on my chest from too many sunburns in my younger years.. my neck and chest have become very raw and red and itchy, but i'm sticking with it, as the results will be worth it!
I put the cream on at night on a clean face (at times i wait 20 mins, but my doctor did not tell me to) other times i wash and apply and go to bed. no difference to me. in the daytime, i use a moisturizer (with sunscreen) on my face and neck and chest- either redness reducing Eucrin or my Exuviance (cant spell!) they both work equally well.
i know this takes a lot of time, but since i waited so many years to try it, whats a few months? i'm thinking it will only get better from here, the texture of my skin is much smoother and more even. i am still very oily, but that is okay with me, wrinkles are not an issue for me at all (except on my chest area) so hopefully that will continue to improve. I will update when i am over the first few months of treatment. EDIT: Just wanted to let you all know that i have been regularly (nightly) applying this to my chest area and the results are amazing. I can now wear scoop neck/v neck tops without worrying about the sun damage and wrinkles on my chest area. the skin is all new and smooth and even-toned, a bit red and still does itch but i think over time that will stop. I can not get over how much improved my skin is with this cream, I am so happy and much more comfortable in the bright sunshine with only tinted moisturizer/SPF, this has dramatically changed my skin, and in turn got rid of my skin insecurities, i'm so happy!
I promise I tried as hard as I could to make this stuff work for me. My doctor gave me the weakest gel version of this product, the .01%. I used it nightly, waiting 20 minutes after cleansing as I was instructed sometimes with moisturizer sometimes without. After 3 months I was still waking up every morning with cheeks covered in whiteheads, patches of dry peeling skin and red marks from previous breakouts that seemed to take forever to heal. I stopped using this stuff about 2 weeks ago and my skin looks a million times better. My doctor gave me Finacea to battle the left over red marks , which so far has been working really well. I still keep the retin-a in my medicine cabinet as a spot treatment as it will drain every last bit of life out of an active zit. The jury is still out on whether its helping with my teensy fine laugh lines around my mouth. I still dab it on those spots every once in a while just out of pure curiosity.
*edit* i'm going to give this another shot in conjunction with different skincare products and using it less often. *fingers crossed*