I used regular, generic tretinoin 0.05% cream for years before discovering Retin-A Micro. I immediately switched to the 0.1%. It is definitely stronger--it burns the skin around my eyes if I'm not careful--but with the Micro technology I've had no irritation or redness. I did have some flakiness at first but it went away.
If you are able to afford it, I strongly prefer Retin-a Micro over regular Retin-a or any regular tretinoin product. You can use a higher concentration with fewer side effects, plus it contains silicone moisturizers that help prevent the dryness and flakiness associated with topical retinoids.
My advice to anyone starting a retinoid is to use the lowest concentration until you get used to it, apply it every other night or every third night until you get used to it, and DON'T BE DISCOURAGED IF YOUR ACNE GETS WORSE AT FIRST!
EDIT: This recently became available in generic form. (Retin-A Micro is NOT the same as regular tretinoin.) The generic form is called Tretinoin Micro or Microsphere and comes in the same strengths and sizes as brand name Retin-A. If you've been holding off on trying this because of the price, now's your chance!
I am 16 years old and have had moderate acne since I was 13 years old, for a while I used clean and clear and it worked wonders but once I entered high school it stopped working and I began to use acanya twice a day (day and night) and freshman year throughout sophomore year that made my skin so clear and gorgeous but after a year my skin grew accustomed to it and it no longer got rid of my moderate acne , so fast forward to the beginning of my junior year, my dermatologist recommended retin a micro .1%, I was skeptical because I have used this for two weeks during my freshman year and I remember it giving me a nasty chemical peel but I figured I might as well try it once again I mean whats the worst that can happen?..... I was wrong !! the first few weeks my skin got alittle better aside from the extreme peeling and redness , however after day 66 when I was hoping for the promised results I began purging like crazy! I had cystic acne and my face was so tender and flaky I would have breakdowns and not want to go to school, I bought 100 dollars worth of top of the line makeup hoping to cover up my breakouts but my skin was so scaly and flaky that makeup just made my skin look worst! my family made fun of my skin (and still does) which only made it worst , luckily my boyfriend didn't seem to mind my terrible skin so that gave me the confidence to stick to retin a micro, well today marks my 16th week and sadly my skin is just getting worst my purging period never ended and it seems like it never will, I have kept a photo acne journal and I can see my face has just gotten progressively worst , I have terrible cystic acne now and a bunch of tiny pus filled pimples and brown scars from previous pimples ... The only positive result I've gotten is smaller pores, I do understand this medication takes a while to effectively work though so after coming this far I will continue to use ram for a year before I give up , I will definitely update once my skin begins to clear up a bit more ! if you are also at your 4 month and are still purging like me don't lose hope !! hopefully we will soon get the flawless skin we have been striving for !
Ps- my daily regimen is in the morning I wash my face with cetaphil gentle cleanser and wait ten minutes before applying cetaphil facial moisturizer , and at night I wash my face with cetaphil again, wait thirty minutes then apply a pea size and a half of ram
Ok, so I highly dislike coming onto this page to read negative reviews about a product that was tried for less than a month. STOP IT! You are ruining the chance for other ppl to really give a product a try. Reviews really should not be given until the person has been on this for at least 3 months. If you are going to use such a product like retin-a micro,then you NEED to be informed as to HOW this product works. Results will not be seen in a month, or even two months...for some it could take even 6 months. First of all, with any real acne product, your face is going to get worse before it gets better. THAT is just how it works...yes, you will probably break out a lot more and your skin will look bad. If you are having irritation, then you should only start out using the product every couple days...it is very strong and some people can't tolerate using it more than a few times a week. If your face is very RED or RAW, you are either using too much or too often. So please, do not give negative results based on a couple weeks of use, that is ludicrous.
As for me, I have been using this product for 15 weeks. I started using it for minor breakouts and to smooth out my skin. When I started this I had no breakouts at all, but i did have some little ones underneath the skin that I was hoping would be brought out. Well, after several weeks that did happen. And even though I started out with no zits, at around week 7 I started having some breakouts on the sides of my cheeks and I also got about 2 cystic pimples. So, yes there was a period where I felt icky about my face. But i kept on going. when I first started I used this about 3 times a week and gradually increased it; now I will use it like 6-7 days in a row and then take a night off. (I also have a bottle of the .1% and I stated incorporating that into my routine after 7 weeks) Ok, so just to clarify how I started using this: Weeks 1 & 2- I used ram 3 times a week; Week 3 & 4-I used it 4 times a week; Week 5,6,7 &8-I used 5 times a week; then starting at week 9 - present, I started using it approx 6 days a week (however if my face feels dry on a day I will take the night off.) I use the .04% consistently, but now am able to use the .1% maybe twice a week, in addition to the .04%. for example, I may use the .04% four times during the week, and then use the .1% twice during that same week and then take a night off. This seems to work well for me. Today I am glad to say that my face is very smooth and glowey. I have no zits (knock on wood) and any small red marks I had after having those breakouts have dramatically faded. I can't wait to see how my face will look in a couple months. Also, depending upon how my skin feels, I may or may not use a moisturizer after applying the retin-a. If I do use it, I always wait about an hour and a half after applying the retin-a micro. But again, it is only occasional that I use it at night. But, I always use moisturizer every morning.
So if anyone is struggling out there with RAM, please don't let it get you down. Things can absolutely turn around, especially if you have been using it less than 6 months. You need to give it a fair amount of time before deciding whether it works for you or not.
Also, there a few other things I do to try and help minimize potential dryness. I also take a medium sized dose of vitamin e everyday as well as fish oil. (When my friend was on accutane her derm suggested taking vitamin e, so I thought it might be helpful) Anyway, if I skip days taking it, I definitely notice a difference in my skin. I also notice the benefit on the rest of my body as it is very soft. If I get the peels, I have a micro cloth that I use, not frequently, but only when I really need to get rid of the flakes--I also use it gently. while my skin is sensitive I had been using proactive for the past many years andI have been able to continue using the face wash and toner along with the RAM. However, I only use the cash wash and toner in the mornings, at night I just rinse my face with water but do not use anything besides the ram. A couple weeks ago I also added in one of MD Forte's products called "Rejuvenating serum 1" and I only use this a few times a week in the mornings. So far so good, but again, I am very gentle with my skin and if it seems at all irritated or uncomfortable i will take a night off and just moisturize.
Also, I get the brand new retin-a from a pharmacy in Canada--here a bottle goes for $125, but the same one goes for $21 at a Canadian pharmacy. (you do need a prescription)
UPDATE: July 6,2013- Hello, so I have no been on RAM for 7 months. When I used to read reviews, many of them were only after many weeks of use, like 9 or 12 weeks, but in my opinion, it is really important to give this medication a longer window of time to work (if it doesn't seem to work for you in the first couple months). I really love this product! I continue to use it regularly as my skin has really adjusted to it. However, if I want to make my skin peel a little faster than usual, then what I will do it I will not use a moisturizer after I apply the retin-a, or I will wait like 2 hours after applying the RAM before using a moisturizer. The moisturizer helps prevent making your skin too dry, so I tend to alternate days and do 2 days off, one day on, etc. It really does work best without moisturizer, but for me, this "combination" worked great, especially if I felt that using it by itself was too strong, thus by using the moisturizer you are still getting some effect. Since it is now summer my skin seems to be quite a bit more oily than it was in the winter. But I have definitely noticed a smoothing of the skin, a reduction in pores and pretty much no pimples. (of course I don't want to jinx myself!) But I have not had a zit since around April, which is pretty cool. And I have a couple of large pores on my cheek that have really seemed to decrease due to the constant exfoliation.
Before using any type of retinol product, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. If you are looking for a quick solution to clear up acne then this is not the product of you. Retinol takes anywhere from 12-16 weeks to start showing results and patient is key during this process. Retinol works by sloughing off the dead layers of skin and going deep down into pores to pull out all acne causing oil, dirt, and built up sebum. I used this product for 16+ weeks and it was pure hell up until then. My face was red and dry and no amount of makeup could cover it up. Around 12 weeks i started to notice the less frequency of pimples forming and my face had a special glow to it. I am so glad that i stuck it out and went through the process because i finally see results. One tube lasts a very long time and you only apply a very small amount.
Please please whatever you do, do not use this product. I am very very acne prone, breakout everyday so I thought I would give this a try. At first it seemed to be promising, my skin tone was getting more even and breakouts were going away. But after about 2 weeks of use, this just started to clog my pores. Blackheads galore and cystic bumps. not only that, but this burned my face!! My face was so raw and blood red, I couldn't put anything on it not even makeup because it burned so badly. not to mention that it was peeling off in chunks revealing even more raw skin underneath!!! I imediately stopped using this product and i will never use it again. Horrible expirience, the results are not good, they dont last and arent worth the pain your face goes through!!!
I had basically tried every product imaginable and nothing seemed to be working to stop breakouts and help cease my pores from becoming larger and larger (especially on my nose). Well, retin a micro has been the answer! I love that it shrinks pores and the breakouts are minimal now (I have been on it for 2 months). I am having issues with redness and peeling, but I will take this over cysts and large pores. Anyway, I think retin a mico is free from a lot of other ingredients that break me out, so this one worked for me. And I have tried a lot of retinol products!
I have been using Retin-A Micro .04% for a little over a year. I had very minor acne and a few wrinkles, but nothing too major. It does a really good job at keeping the breakouts away, but parts of my face are chronically dry from using Retin-A in combination with other medication that tends to dry skin. With insurance, the Retin-A was only $10, and I have been using the same tube for about a year now. Usually if I have a breakout, between the Retin-A and the Clarisonic, it goes away pretty quickly.
Hi Ladies! I've read all your comments before agreeing with my Dr. that I'd jump in and try it. I'm 31 and had moderate acne, mainly horrible Cystic ones where I'd go get a shot to calm in down. I've been on Retin A- Micro 0.04% and my doctor thankfully, gave me strict instructions. She said STOP using all your drying out, acid products for acne. You CANNOT use this while on Retin- A. She told me to go buy CeraVe facewash and face lotion because that stuff, while inexpensive, is the BEST stuff for your face designed by a team of Dermotoligists. So, I complied, and my wallet was happy- ALthough my Retin -A cost $180.00 - uh ya. First week my skin looked good but was tender, next week i noticed light flaking, and the 3rd week, BREAKOUTS!!! My life sucked. My face was a nightmare, but I stuck with it, cuz EVERYONE including my lovely Doctor told me this would happen, that it's part of the process. So, I'm now ending my 4th week, and oddly my breakouts are going away quickly. My face is oily and I have to blot it more than usual because I think of the hydrating Cerava, but that stuff is a dream and has saved my skin from over drying and peeling too much. My skin looks pretty good now, thank God! I think the worst is over, and I'm thankful my doctor switched up my entire skin routine, which I was very nervous about! But hey! What I was doing, wasn't enough, wasn't work! This does so far. Try it for yourself, and get some very hydrating facewash and lotion, that's it! Nothing else. Or you'll peel and hate life. :) Good luck!
OK it's been a few more weeks since I wrote this and I've had the WORST breakout of all - I think I'm on week 6 - week 6 suck - horrible acne that takes forever to heal. Going back to dr. on jan 10th to see what's up. I heard day 33 is the worst as it finally reached the bottom layer of skin -and by day 66 you should be clear - let's hope or I'm giving up. i don't even want to leave my house ;(
Well I started on retin a micro about 3 weeks ago. so far its not bad at all. i used it everyday for about a week all over my face. big mistake. the first two days, nothing really happened. no burning, stinging, peeling, dryness, or breakouts. nothing. but then when the 3rd day came, oh.my.god. everything was happening. it burned so bad when i applied it. it even burned when i washed and moisturized my face. i had to put my face up to a fan for a couple of days. it was also severely dry. it was so dry and tight that my face had begun to crack. i continued to use it everyday for the next two days until i just couldn't take it anymore. the retin a micro left behind chemical burns on my upper cheek and around my mouth. not bad burns, but like light scabs. i broke out around my nose and on my forehead, but not bad breakouts. just little whiteheads. my face looked awful. it never looked so bad before. so after all of the mess i went through the first week, i started using it every 2 days. and that helped a lot. my face got adjusted to the retin a micro a lot better. i did this for the 2nd week. eventually the dryness and tightness stopped. the burning stopped. the little burns that i had eventually flaked away or rubbed off. the retin a micro started to work its magic :) now i'm approaching the end of my third week. and i can say that my face is on its way to clearing up. i have been using it every other day to. because the retin a is exfoliating my skin so well, quickly, my acne scars on my forehead, temples, and chin are slowly fading away. my skin complexion overall is evening out and lightening up. my face is not soft, but better. it's marble smooth. the downside is i am starting to breakout on my chin and forehead and kind of on my temples. but those are my problem areas. i have problems with clogged pores, whiteheads, and blackheads. my acne is pretty mild. not bad. i don't have like severe cystic acne or anything. but the retin a is doing its job. it's bringing all of the impurities underneath the skin to the surface which is what i want. i have a lot of whiteheads and blackheads coming up. which is good. but they're barely noticeable though. oh and my skin is producing less oil than it used to which is very, very good. i don't have oily skin, but over time throughout the day, it will get pretty oily. i will have to say that my skin will be pretty clear and in good shape by summertime. i am really hoping that it will. i mean my skin isn't getting worse to me, but its slowly getting better. so i will update, i don't know whenever. probably within the next month or so.
* because retin a micro is so very strong, i am being very gentle with my face as much as possible. i don't scrub my face like i used to because the retin a itself is exfoliating my skin so much. but this is my simple routine that i'm going to be doing for as long as i'm on this treatment. im not going to being switching the products anymore period
-Complex 15 moisturizer
*wait about 30 min or until completely dry
-Apply like a pea size and a half of Retin A Micro all over face
-No moisturizer, and just go to sleep
*on days i know is going to be sunny i will use Neutrogena Intensified Daily Moisturizer spf 15 in the morning
*every 3 days or if i see a lot of shedded skin, i will use St. Ives Apricot scrub for sensitive skin
I have been using this for about eight months now and I have to say I simply love it. Initially, when I started using the product, I had horrible breakouts even in places where I never usually break out. I had hundreds of tiny breakouts all over my face but I decided to give it a fair amount of time before giving up. After about a couple of months, my skin began to settle down. There were still some clogged pores but my skin was looking much calmer. Now after eight months, my skin is totally free of acne and it has helped with the deep pitted scarring too. Nothing too dramatic but there has definitely been some improvement in the acne scars. The red and black marks have reduced as well. Having said that, my skin still peels horribly and sometimes I can see a big pile of dead skin sitting on my face right before it starts to peel all over again and it does not look pretty but I will take it any day as it works well with the acne as well as the scarring. It is not a miracle and it does not work overnight but if given enough time it does prove worthy.