Retin-A is the ONLY product I have used that *really* works for both troublesome skin and the lines, discoloration, etc. that come from getting older. I just can't see wasting money on products that can't possibly live up to the promises. Most problems from using this product are from not allowing your skin to build up a tolerance. Gel formulas can be very irritating but may work best for younger, very oily skin or for stubborn blackhead areas (my nose and surrounding area). At 47, I prefer the cream. I use the Retin-A .05 on my face, neck and chest and Renova .025, which has a more emollient base around my eyes. I just purchased a gel formulation as well for the nose area.
That said, it is best to start with a low dose and apply every other day or even every third to test the product's effect on your particular skin and move up/down in strength if needed. BE SURE TO WAIT AT LEAST 30 MINUTES (longer is better) AFTER CLEANSING BEFORE APPLYING PRODUCT! Did I stress that enough? You are asking for super irritation trouble if you don't do that.
After about three weeks, you may see some flaking and purging (pores becoming unclogged)--but follow the directions and *keep going*; this is a normal reaction and so many people do not give the medicine time to change your skin. When the peeling begins, *don't be aggressive removing the flakes* because then you will be irritated-just deal with it and add a bit of moisturizer--they go away quickly enough. I sometimes just rub what I can off with my fingers, and then maybe wipe with a soft washcloth. Flaking from time to time reveals new, fresh and clearer skin. If you become really irritated, though, it's time to skip nights or change formulas. No one should have red, cracked, and super peely skin-that's just not right!
Yes, your skin will flake from time to time (especially around the mouth and nose), you may need to change your makeup/moisturizer, and you *will* have to go through the painstaking process of finding an *EXCELLENT* sunscreen that works for you. I use Sofina Lucent UV and found that it is very matte and has not caused breakouts. Another recommended matte ss is the Sheshido lotion. Last, you probably will have to change your cleansing routine (no harsh cleansers/scrubs). Concerning sunscreens, you'll need at strong and waterproof one-so then you have to deal with the issue of using a mild cleanser that doesn't leave a residue but ALSO removes sunscreen (and believe me, they stick). My searching MUA, I've found that using a cleansing oil (such as Lumene, Fancl, DHC) to gently remove all mu and sunscreen and following up with a residue-free foaming cleanser (easily found at the drugstore) leaves my skin really clean--but you will have to deal with trial and error. *Your cleansing routine does not have to cost a fortune!* You may find yourself using moisturizer, so find a gentle one-I use Cetaphil lotion sparingly. Save your cash for a great suncreen: so many irritate or cause breakouts. Just try to introduce one product at a time to see what works on your skin. Sorry for the long review, but I assure you that what you get in return is smoother blemish-free skin that will look better and better. One bit of advice for the flakies is to *very lightly* exfoliate with a *very soft cloth* and cool water. Any hard rubbing is going to give you red, raw skin that no makeup will cover.
Update: started using the Retin-A .01% gel for summer based on skinboard recs. Also switched to Boscia Purifying Gel Cleaner. It really made a difference in completing the process of clearing out the most stubborn blackhead in my t-zone with *no* irritation. The gel *is* harder to apply-you have to do one small area at a time so you don't overdo. Still use the Renova .025 around my eyes. If there is irritation in winter, I may go back to the cream. I know this program is working because I've received compliments on my "beautiful and glowing" skin.
I have been using .05% Retin A since I was 42 and I am now 61. I do not have a wrinkle on my face and I know it is thanks to the Retin A. My skin is flawless and my complexion glows. I am never taken for my age.
You can get this a whole lot cheaper in from any pharmacy in Mexico; like a large tube for $9 to $12, which would cost way over $100 in the US. Also, my husband brings it back from France. It is over the counter there and a small tube is $9 with about 3 tubes equaling the big tube you can get in Mexico.
I've been using this for a year now for anti-aging purposes. It is absolutely amazing. The "11" lines between my eyes are reduced, my skin looks poreless and perfect. I just turned 37 and people consistently think I'm at least 10 years younger than that -- and when I tell them my age, they generally say "you have no wrinkles!"
I can't recommend this highly enough.
This is an absolute godsend from the heavens! I swear! So, after a long time of trying to deal w/my large pores & mild breakouts myself, I finally made my way to a Dermatologist. I first asked her to put me on Retin A Micro. She didn't want to, but did. She was worried it would break me out more and that it just wouldn't be right. So, what happened? I hated RAM! Hated! So, I went back. She gave me an rx for Retin A 0.025% cream and told me to wash my face at night with Purpose cleanser, then use Cetaphil LOTION (not cream), and wait at least a 1/2 our THEN apply my retin a cream (everynight). I was worried at time about initial breakouts, so she gave me an rx for Minocycline an oral antibiotic. I used the whole bottle and decided that I didn't need them anymore because my skin started to look better right away! I never purged from the retin a cream. I'm not sure if it was just because or from the minocycline. It's been well over a year now and my skin just keeps getting better and better. My Derm said that it would only continue to get better and better. I can even skip a night or two and my skin is ok with that. I feel that it's always best to use it everynight. The only side effect that I have from it besides good skin, is that it can make my nose peel/dry out around my nostrils, so I am just careful about how much retin a I apply in that area. It's fairly expensive for me w/out insurance but a tube is quite large and last me for months soooo, it makes up for it in the end! I will use this forever if I can. Oh and the lotion she told me to use by day was Neutrogena Healthy Skin spf15. I love it. I only need a little drop of it and apply only where I'm feeling dry.
I am so happy I finally found something that is actually PROVEN so much it is medicated to treat wrinkles AND acne? YOWZA. Purfect. I started on .025% about 2 months ago and I was a little sensative for a week so I quickly bought the .05% and I am so happy. Every night I put this on and in the morning I wash the dead skin off.. lovely sounding.. Anyhow, My face after two months is much less acne- I still get a bump here and there but its not bumpy like it used to be, my chin doesnt have those white bumps under the skin surface, my forehead is smooth now, not like the GOODYEAR tire it was quickly turning into. I used to have little laughter lines that brought me NO joy what so ever, those are gone. I am very happy and I am not easy to please! Oh and now I used that .025% stuff by mixing it with some old useless eye cream, so its diluted enough to use around my eyes. I know its working but the skin around my eyes always needs skin rubbed off with a washcloth in the morning. I think the best part about Retin A is how long its been around (20-30 years), I dont have to worry about a recall coming out tomarrow that Retin A causes deformations of the face or something.
About my skin: Dark/golden, with tendency to hyperpigmentation, hardly get any pimples but when I do, it usually leaves a little dark spot. A few clogged pores, no wrinkles, no crow's feet. I use retinoids to prevent breakouts and "maintain" my skin as well as even its tone.
My experience with Tretinoin (genetic retin a): This stuff created a mess on my skin. It all makes sense now. I remember when I had my very first (and only) adolescent breakout, my family doctor gave a prescription to this. This was like 20 something years ago and I remember having a terrible reaction to it and never ever wanting to use it again. I actually dont remember what got me to use it again but I think it was my being too much of an extremist and wanting to always look "perfect". Boo me.
Prior to this, I was using Tazorac gel which was a bit drying for me. I also thought it wasn't "working" but after looking over some old photos, I could see it was working amazingly well at keeping my skin breakout free, even tones, glowing, plump and just in really really good condition. I got compliments often and I usually wear minimal makeup.
So I went to my derm and asked him if he would just switch me. He reassured me my skin looked really good but gave me the Rx to tretinoin anyway. Idiot (both me and him).
I used this stuff for a year hoping the peeling, the oozing, the darkening of my skin, the little pimples and dermatitis it was causing would eventually go away, but it never did. The worst was using the tretinoin cream, which yes, made my skin super glowy but the irritation was beyond belief. I would often wake up with swollen, itchy eyes and it took me friggen months to figure it out. I thought I had allergies but it was this stuff. Then the gel, although it gave me better results, would literally burn dark patches on my skin. I later on found out from reading various posts on here that this is mainly alcohol. My skin is way too sensitive for alcohol and of course if you are dark and have issues with hyperpigmentation this is gonna create more problems than solve them. The gel also gave me terrible dermatitis and made me break out more. I would get cystic pimples and I seldom get those.
So after almost 2 years of my "duh" experience I went back to Tazorac. I was testing out and alternating both the cream and gel and you know what...within a week my skin went back to itself. Even my DH came from work one evening and his first comment was....wow, your skin looks amazing!
No to Tretinoin, Yes to Tazorac. Will never use this crap again.
Retin-A is a little miracle in a tube. I have been using it since I was 13 for acne. Yes, you have to completely suffer for the first few weeks through horrible pimples and flaky dry skin, but then after that its smoothe sailing! I use it every other night because my skin is uber sensitive, and it still works fabulous. I use it with cetaphil cleanser because the drying effects can be very intense and you need to use something very creamy to wash with or you will be in major pain! Here is my personal Retin-A routine:
-rub cetaphil all over face, wipe with damp washcloth and splash off excess and completely dry your skin.
-spritz skin with evian brumisateur spray
-apply Eucerin extra protective moisturizer with SPF all over face while skin is still damp from spray.
-when skin is dry I then do the last step which is apply Philosophy's "The Present" clear foundation, which I find holds in all the moisture from the Eucerin cream and protects my skin all day while making sure I dont get the flakies all over.
-wash with cetaphil as above.
-wait 20 to 30 minutes (if you dont wait, the retin-a will irritate your skin even worse than it normally does)
-squeeze out pea sized amount of retin-a and dab on forehead, cheeks, chin and nose and rub in thoroughly.
I find it helpful using a washrag while cleansing your face because it helps slough off some of the dead skin flakes that can bother you during the day.
If you can make it through the rough stages you really wont regeret it. I only use it for acne related reasons, but finding out it can help wrinkles and stuff is great too, not that I have any now, but because I am coming up on the big 3-0 in a couple years and its never too early to be preventative!!
I hate to jump the gun and review this too early, because it's only been a week, but I am already loving this stuff and wanted to chime in. I realize the initial breakout is probably slowly going to surface, but I'm also on topical antibiotics and hopeful that will keep the initial breakout to a minimum, also, my acne was only mild to beging with, but just persistent and I needed something to really nip it in the bud. Anyway, the first couple days on this I was really nervous, because I was immediately peeling and burning. Everything I used on my face hurt. But I wasn't about to back off, and by the 4th night, it didn't hurt so much and by exfoliating in the morning with a gentle scrub, the flakies are under control. It's smoothing my skin out incredibly and I have a new fresh glow I haven't had in a long time!! I'm excited to see what long term benefits I get from using this. If the first week is indicative of how the product will help me, I can't imagine ever living without it!! I guess we'll see.... I'll update again after I've been on it a while if my opinion changes, but I really hope it doesn't!!
I've been using the 0.025% cream for six weeks now, and my skin looks better than ever. It's very clear, smooth, and soft. I did have to suffer through a bad "initial breakout" around week four though. I'm giving this 4/5 instead of 5/5 because of the initial breakout, and also the fact that you have to wait for 20 minutes after washing your face before applying it, which is kind of annoying. Still, I'd definitely recommend Retin-A, it'll really change your skin.
UPDATE: switched to 0.025% gel. like the gel better than the cream, esp for hot summer weather! continued >>
I am using Retin-A Micro .04% for moderately severe acne (cystic) and I love it! I used it along time ago, but I gave up on it when it irritated my skin. This time, I gave it a chance and made it through the initial irritation stage, and my skin is looking fantastic. I get 1-2 tiny little bumps around that time of the month and that's it. They go away within a day, and the spots left over disappear within a matter of a week or so. Compared to my previous problems, in which I had cysts, scarring, etc., I can handle a few small spots. My derm says that with continued use, I could very well be free of any pimples. My skin texture and tone are also lovely now-I don't need to wear makeup anymore, save for some concealer under my eyes and teh basics (blush, mascara, and a little mineral-based translucent powder on the t-zone). The very small line I had between my eyes is nearly gone, and the few tiny expression lines on my forehead are markedly decreased. This stuff is fabulous. Derm might increase my retin-A to a higher concentration for even better results--we'll see. Highly recommend, but wear a good sunscreen!!