I have tried Retin A twice now and won't try it again. How I envy these reports of wonderful results. My skin looked like it had been horribly burned and felt like it too. It peeled off almost to the bone. It was so painful I couldn't sleep. There was no way I could continue with it, no way at all.
I am a blue eyed blond with very pail skin and sunburn easily. I had bad cystic acne in my 30's when I tried this. The acne, as horrible as it was, was better than the burning red sloughing off of my skin.
I'm using Retin-A 0.1% cream.
I've been using this for about 6 weeks now. I've had minimal flaking and no real irritation. I had a small breakout around week 3 but it was gone within about 5 days.
For the first 2 weeks I used it every third night. For the next 2 weeks I used it every second night. Then I moved up to using it every night. Taking it slowly definately helps to reduce irritation.
Most nights I've used it on it's own. Although, if my skin has been flaking or I'm feeling just a little bit dry, I will apply some moisturiser very lightly about 15 minutes after applying the Retin-A.
My pores are already noticably clearer and smaller, my skin texture is definately smoother and my complexion is very even, with a slight glow.
I am amazed at how quickly Retin-A has worked, and at how quickly I have adapted to using it, especially given I'm using the strongest available.
I can't imagine wasting money on these "miracle in a bottle" creams now, or being without Retin-A. Highly recommended!
-- update --
Sadly I've had to discontinue using Retin-A cream. I found it was blocking my pores and it started to cause my skin to become very sensitive. I'm going to be trying Differin Gel on the recommendation of a derm.
I bought the generic retin a cream 0.05% from alldaychemist.com, its called Retino-A cream. I wanted to try it because, although differin 0.1% gel cleared up my acne just fine, I wanted something stronger to help with the long-term anti-aging and pore size. I tried taz 0.1% but that was way too strong, and I was red and flaky, very bad. I tried skinceuticals retinol 1.0 but that made me red and flaky too. So that is how I got to the retin a 0.05% cream. Wow, I should have tried this first. Ive used it a few days in a row at night, and havent gotten any irritation, flaking, or redness! I also had a monster pustule under my skin that wasnt to a head yet, but I knew it had to come to a head and drain before it could begin to heal, but I didnt want to pick at it, so I put the retin a on it, and the next day it came to a head and drained. And now its getting better with each day. The generic I got is called Retino A and is made by johnson and johnson for india, is a 20gram metal tube (which will last forever since I only use a pea sized amount), and I think it was $2. Hopefully I will continue to have luck with this. I was skeptical about the cream since I break out easily, but Ive had no problems yet. I'll update more later. It smells a little like the Avene retinaldehyde products, I dont know how to describe it. but its not greasy and sinks in fast. the cream has a shiny/shimmery look to it, which I thought was funny (the same way Avene Diacneal looks a little shimmery).
****update**** I am going to stop using this for a few days. I think the cream base is clogging my pores :( because I havent really changed anything else in my skincare. I'll update later.
*******update #2, 11/01/07********* I just started using the 0.025% gel a few days ago because I was very much broken out (a rich cleanser and moisturizer combined with no exfoliation = bad bad pimples for me!) Now at day 3, I am in the peeling stage. Just started today. I had some irritation yesterday though. Im only 26 and my skin usually has a fast turnover rate, so Im hoping the peeling will go away soon and that my skin will be adjusted fast. When my skin peeled on Taz 0.1% cream, it was awful, and all over. But this peeling from the retin A 0.025% gel isnt that bad, just a little annoying, only near my mouth and tip of my nose. Im exfoliating with a baby washcloth, gently, to get rid of it when I wash. I might start using a more moisturizing sunscreen (like L'Oreal Revitalift UV, instead of my aveeno pos. ageless spf 30 stuff). hate the peelies! will update later.*********update 12/05/07********* Ive decided that my skin doesnt like retin A. The peeling is under control if I buffer it with a moisturizer and only use a pea sized amount. But something happens to my skin while on retin A (and similarly with tazorac) - that even though the flaking and peeling subside, and even if I adjust the amount of retin A used, and even though I buffer, my skin takes on this weird nature - its like it becomes so freaking delicate and fragile that if I have an itch on my face I have to be careful not to scratch too hard otherwise I might take some skin off. perhaps thats an exaggeration, but... it really bothers me to have my skin be this sensitive. I did see a lessening of acne, which is good. But I think I will go back to my trusty Differin Gel. I stopped using it to "move up" to stronger retinoids like retin A. but my skin doesnt like them. oh well. its still a good product for a lot of people though.**********************update 01/29/08********* wow this review is getting very long. the differin I was using, though it worked well, I still had a couple zits at all times.. wasnt sure what I wanted more - sensitive but no-zit skin, or comfortable skin with a few zits. .. *sigh*. Well, I decided to give retin a another shot since my skin was looking dull lately. This time I wanted to take all precautions to make sure I got as little irritation as possible. So I used the 0.05% tretinoin cream (not the gel since gels are stronger), but this time I waited a full 30 minutes *after* cleansing before applying a *pea-sized* amount, and then applied a moisturizer an hour later. WOW! Sweet Jesus what a difference. My skin isnt sensitive, the tone is looking better and better every day, old acne red spots are fading.. and Ive only been using this a week! And I didnt have any purging because I think I purged it all with the differin. Only minor flaking, but was taken care of with some creme de la mer and a baby washcloth. Very very minimal redness and sensitivity. I cant wait to see what my skin will be like in one month.. 6 months... 10 years.. from now. And this stuff has been around forever so generics are very cheap. If you used this before and had lots of flaking/irritation - make sure you WAIT 30 minutes or more after cleansing before you apply this. And try the cream, its gentler. Wow... now I know what everyone is raving about.
I have been using the gel .025%. I got my generic from Walgreen's, and on my copay, it's only $15 for 45 g (which lasts months). The first time I used it, I was immediately turned off by the strong alcoholy burn of this product. I was switching from using both differin and Retin-A Micro .04% (I couldn't really commit to the differin, so I used it a couple nights and then would use the RAM). I think I used it twice and then discarded it. I picked it up again after finishing my tube of differin. It burned severely on application for about a week, and then it started to only tingle. I had some purging (the differin didn't keep my cheeks totally clear so I had build up some clogged pores), and some peeling. But after about 5 weeks using the retin-a gel, I have only mild peeling that is taken care of with light exfoliation with a towel when I dry my face. It doesn't keep my skin as clear as the Retin-A Micro did, BUT it also doesn't give me a persistent rash (possibly perioral dermatitis) around my muzzle area. Will definitely rebuy.
I started using RetinA when I developed acne and I really noticed an incredible difference in my skin. It didn't help with the acne as much has it did for my forehead lines and blackheads on my nose. I stopped while I was on Accutane and I have started using it again since I've finished with my treatment, and I'm loving my .1% even more now, but i'm taking 1 lippie off b/c it isn't has effective for my active acne outbreaks.
update: even though i think there is a place for RetinA it was just too harsh and i was never able to get threw a red and raw phase. i use differin gel .3% and it itsn't as harsh and i'm receiving great results.
I have recently moved up to Retin A cream 0.05% for two reasons 1) ystheal gel is discontinued. I was using this b/c I have rosacea and I was afraid to try Rx's. Also most of the Rx's have ingredients I am allergic to, but Retin A cream does not. 2) the website I ordered it from did not have 0.025%, or I would be using that =). My skin type: Dry, rosacea, not acne-prone, very very sensitive. The rest of my routine is on my np. I use retinoids to prevent aging, keep my pores clear, and help reduce inflammation in my skin (since I have rosacea, an inflammatory disease of the face). More information about these functions of retinoids is on my notepad. On to the actual Retin A experience: In the first couple of weeks, I purged a little, which was surprising because I had used ystheal gel for over a year prior to that. It wasn't bad, though, I just had blackheads "sticking out" of my face. I left them alone and they resolved within a few weeks. I also peel if I use it more than once every other night, but it's not too bothersome. I just use a baby wash cloth to roll the skin flakes off my face. I am planning on sticking with an every other night frequency for the first couple of months, then I will try moving up to nightly. As my notepad indicates, I mix it with my rosacea Rx (metrocream) to dilute the dosage I am getting. I also, sometimes, mix in a drop of unscented mineral oil (you can get this in the laxative aisle) to increase the moisturizing properties. Unexpectedly, Retin A cream is not very moisturizing, imo, (and neither is metrocream) so I mix in the oil to help with my dry skin. Don't be surprised if your skin becomes more dry after you being using Retin A, either. You may need to change your other products to adjust well. Visit my notepad for information on easing into retinoids as to avoid excess irritation and peeling, etc.
I'm using the .025% generic gel formula. I've been on retin-a for 2 months now. I have sensitive oily acne-prone skin. My acne got worse in the first couple of weeks--really really bad. That is mainly bc I did not wait 20-30 minutes after I washed my face before putting on the retin-a. Now that I am following directions to a "T" my skin has cleared up! Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne is disappearing. And I have less breakouts. I was starting to get lines on my forehead but now they are completely gone. Definitely worth a try if you have insurance bc it only costs me $10 a tube. My hg!
I have been using this product for 4 months. I am 49 years old, oily, and have been acne-prone most of my life - especially around my chin and lower face. I had tried absolutely everything to clear my face, prescription and OTC, expensive and cheap. Nothing touched it. I finally got my family doctor to write me a script for this (getting an appt. with a derm around here takes an act of congress - a minimum of a 6-month wait). I started with the .025% gel. After about 2 months, I noticed that I was actually pretty clear. I went through 2 monthly cycles with not a single blemish. I then upped my dose to the .05% cream and my skin just continues to get better. This tube will probably last 5-6 months, after which I will up my dose for the last time to the .1%. I am very careful in my application, and always wait at least 30 minutes after washing before I apply. I use it around my eyes (crow's feet area) and on my neck as well. Last week, I actually had 2 people in one day tell me I had beautiful skin - I almost fainted! From a personal perspective, I don't delude myself into thinking my skin is flawless, because it's not - but the blemishes are gone and the texture continues to improve. When I first started using Retin-A, my goal was to be VERY patient and give it 6 months to show improvement. At the end of 6 months I was going to turn 50, and at that time I would reevaluate. No need - I plan on using this stuff forever.
I'm reviewing this as an acne treatment:
It did absolutely nothing for me. It just made my skin dry, red, and peeling, which looked worse than the acne itself!
However, I will say that my mother has used this for anti-ageing and really likes it. So at least someone got some use out of it!
The only things that have ever worked for me are:
- witch hazel toner (a miracle!)
- eating lots of oatmeal, fruits and vegetables
- Omega 3 fish oil vitamins
- the aspirin mask!
I am 43 and have been using this product (.05 cream) for 30 years. A few times, I used the gel at the lower concentration but I found the gel form to be more irritating and drying. Because I started Retin A during my teenage years when my skin was oilier, I never had any major negative side-effects other than the occasional flaking/light peeling about every 5 weeks (lightly buff skin with clean washrag every night). I started using it for acne (to prevent it) but now use it for both preventing acne and for fight wrinkles/maintain collagen. It must be working; even my physicians think I am around 33 years old and do not believe that I've never had plastic surgery. I have no visible pores, good skin texture, and great coloration. Very infrequently, I get a small break-out; but during times when I've forgotten to renew my prescription, within a few days, my skin starts to break out. So be aware that once you start using it, you may need to keep using it for as long as I.