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*
There's nothing like this. I have skin issues including being acne-prone, food allergies that irritate my skin, uneven skin tone, etc. I swear Retin A corrects any scarring, enlarged pores from bad episodes, discoloration & more- it's like it makes new skin! I've used this for about 20 years, & I have zero wrinkles. It does make me flaky after I use it- that part has never ended. So I only use it once or twice per week, & only use daily on troubled spots (pimples or enlarged pores). My skin used to be super-sensitive, but I think the Retin A has toughened it up a bit.
I would highly recommend this for anti-aging, & just pretty skin at any age. It keeps your skin exfoliated so that it doesn't look dull & drab...the look of youth!
To use, I wash my face with my normal cleanser, wait 20 minutes to apply the Retin A, let it absorb for 10 minutes, then apply my normal nightly moisturizer. This can be used around the eye area, but not on the eye lid or too close to the eyes. I do use it directly under my brows without problems.
If you're this trying for the first time, START SLOWLY, once or twice per week at most. You can increase the frequency later once you see how your skin reacts. It's better to be safe than red, raw & scaley!
I have used retin-a off and on for 15 years for acne and have never had great results. That is until recently. About 6 months ago I started using it every night. At first it irritated my skin a little bit but that phase didn't last long. I didn't see results until about 4 months later. I finally have my acne under control. I think the retin-a is part of the reason why. I also use a salicyclic acid cleanser and neutrogena rapid clear pads (that might not be the exact name but its something like that). The other improvement I have seen in my skin is that my fine lines have nearly disappeared! It happened so gradually that I didn't really notice until recently . I am thrilled with the results.
I definitely feel the pain of the prior reviewers. I too,had to go through the long purging process. I too had days where I looked in the mirror, and asked myself, how did all of these pimples come to be, since I only had a mild case of acne prior to using the medication? (just to let you know, my face had been almost perfectly clear for years; then out of the blue, I started to get adult cystic acne). ...Well, It took me about three months of enduring through consistent outbreaks until the medication started to kick in. But once it did, my face has never looked better!!
I love how this product smoothens the skin, helps correct mild discoloration, and on top of that, prevents future pimples from forming. I now only get tiny pimples here and there ever so often.
Be patient prospective users. This medication may take a while for it to kick in and you may have to endure through more serious cases of acne (common side affect of med) and verryyy dry, patchy skin. However, in the end, I think it's all worth it.
Retin-A saved my skin! i use the generic stuff, Tretinoin 0.025% & it's a godsend. ps; i get my prescription filled at Cost-Co & pay a whopping $3.00 per tube! can't beat it!
Background: i am 22 years old & have always struggled with hormonal breakouts along my jaw & chin. as i got older the breakouts got more severe. & as soon as one would clear another would come, not to mention leave nasty red marks. my skin felt soo unhealthy. i also suffered from what i thought were random breakouts. i found out later i have an anxiety problem & that + the stress was wreaking havoc on my skin.
when my anxiety issue came to a head (aka physical breakdown) my face was broken out like NEVER before. my entire face was broken out - my forehead had NEVER broken out before. my skin was red & it was so incredibly painful.
My Retin-A Experience: first i must say i was terrified of the "initial purge". luckily my Doc gave me another topical, Benzaclin (or Duac) to use first. that stuff was AMAZING. it zapped most of my zits in a matter of days. dried them up as oppossed to purging them. by day 2-3 there was a verrrry noticable difference. my skin was looking better but still felt generally rough & not as healthy as it should.
after 1-2 weeks of Benzaclin i began my Retin-A & i must report NO PURGING STAGE! i whole-heartedly think it was because i used the Benzaclin first because i have had constant breakouts from the age of 15.
this is my routine:
*morning - use a wet baby washcloth in the shower with a squirt of face wash. this helps to remove any dry skin the super-exfoliation of the Retin-A has left overnight. then i moisturize & apply mineral make-up. ps; my make-up goes on soooo smoothly now! like a dream.
*night - wash face. wait 20-30 mins. apply Retin-A. go to sleep!
using Retin-A has simplified my skin routine SO much!
after the first couple days my skin felt great! so smooth & soft. i have been faithfully using it for 6 weeks now. my skin looks the best it EVER has. i have had NO breakouts while on Retin-A & my red marks / hyperpigmentation are shrinking & i have complete faith they will disappear one day - they have already shrank so much in size!
the only blemishes i get are hormonal, they are so teeny-tiny i am embarassed to even call them blemishes, almost more like a clogged pore. they go away in one day & are admittedly because my skin feels so good now that sometimes i get lazy & don't wash my face in the morning. (something i NEVER would have thought to EVER do.)
i don't have any plans to ever stop using Retin-A! i receive so many compliments on my skin now - & i feel so much more confident! i am also verrrry thankful i didn't go through the months of purging like some have reported. (again i owe that to Benzaclin). sometimes i can't help but touch my skin, it feels so great! continued >>
I've been using Tretinoin 0.025% Cream for 3 weeks now and my skin is honestly 80% clearer than it was the day I started. I wanted to wait longer to post my experience so I wouldn't "Speak too soon", but I could'nt wait anymore :)
My skin is smoother, healthier and the pimples are almost 100% gone. I purge for 2& 1/2 weeks. My skin did look worst :( First it was my forhead then my right cheek, now my left cheek is still healing and its still purging a bit. I did experience some scarring, but I know in another month they will be gone due to how fast they are healing now! My pores were so clogged before I began this that I hated people looking at me in sunlight! Now I can walk around smiling. I even avoided my guy for 3 weeks, just so I could purge in peace, lol. I feel like the cream version of tretinoin gets bad reveiws because of improper use. I believe the key is using gentle products along with tretinoin. Avoid using anything else along with this product in the evening! Because other products may inhibit it from working properly. My derm gave me a topical antibiotic to use during the day (clindamycin) because it helps with purging, she also gave me an oral antibiotic (tetracylin) which I'll be happy to stop taking as well, but it may have helped too. I use ttretinoin everynight ALONE for 3-weeks straight now as I begin my forth week I see SIGNIFICANT IMPROVMENT! Can't wait to update.
P.S..I'm soo happy that my derm was SMART and gave me a low percent, cream vehicle after I told her my skin was sensitive; Because some of you are going through Torture when you don't have too! I only experienced peeling for 1&1/2 weeks and it was easily removed with exfoliant(aspirin) and moisturizer (purpose).
2 months on this stuff and finally I'm coming out of the flake/purge phase! If I see another person rubbing their own nose while looking at my scabby red scaly bumpy under-nose skin with dry flakes clinging to the ivory concealer I'm vainly attempting to use as coverup, I'll kill myself. Couldn't go out w/ my inflamed face w/o makeup but putting it on was a nightmare--took many attempts before I could leave the house, I couldn't go to the gym for weeks!!! Thanks to the people on this blog, I've stuck it out and finally I'm seeing plump smoother happy skin. My cystic oily skin purged twice--once so bad on my upper/side nose that my eye closed up and I couldn't go to work.Now I haven't had a cyst for a week and a half!!..I'm using tretinoin .1 % from alldaychemist (thanks MUA bloggers!) twice a week with Eluage Creme in between. I've just ordered retinA .5% from medsmex b/c I think the .1 % is too strong for now. In the morning I mix a tiny bit of baking soda with my Vichy sensitive skin cleanser to scrub off dead skin for a couple of seconds. I'll give another lippie when my acne scars start to smooth a little more. My advice: stick it out, some stories are worse than others, but hopefully in the end it's all worth it!
Just wanted to add my 2 cents. I've been using Retin-A cream 0.025 for almost 5 months. When I began, I had a minimal amount of acne. But it was constantly there. I tried everything to get rid of it. So, I had light acne, increasing scarring and dry worn-looking skin (because of all the harsh products I was using).
When I first started, I was using it every other day. My skin couldn't handle every day. And it seemed ok- no immediate improvement, but it wasn't destroying my skin. Then, after a few weeks, I started to get more acne- more than I'd started with and in places that I've never had acne before. On top of that, my skin began to look really ruddy and unclear. And every few days it would peel- particularly on my chin, around my nose and under my eyes. Luckily, I'd read on this board that it may take awhile,so I stuck with it and the results are well worth it (thank goodness!!!). Just recently, my skin has shown a remarkable improvement. It's far more even toned, the acne is pretty much all gone and the scars are fading rapidly. So, for anyone needing encouragement- just stay on it a little while longer. It took me a very long time to see any positive results and then, almost overnight, they appeared. Also, my wrinkles seem far less pronounced. In fact, my crows feet are only visible when I smile now- and they had become rather pronounced with all of the drying products that I was using- they were getting longer by the day it seemed.
Also, as a sidenote, I wait about 1/2 hour after I wash my face before applying a pea-sized amount of retin-a. In the morning, I use a wash cloth to gently remove flaky skin while washing my face. And then I apply Alpha Hydrox 10% glycolic gel- wait about 15 min. and then apply moisturizer and sunscreen. Though the Alpha Hydrox can sting occationally if my skin was a bit sensitive, it seems to help get rid of flaky skin.