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!!
I was first introduced to Retin-A as an ingredient in Neutrogena's "Fine Fairness" line (probably only available in Asia) almost 10 years ago. I didn't know what Retin-A was then, but I remember being quite amazed at how smooth my skin became. But I was not disciplined about sunscreen, and acne took over my life and I had to start using stuff that was specifically targeted at controlling acne. Then a friend properly introduced me to Retin-A, which was prescribed to her for her acne. I tried it and it worked for awhile, but then I'd get breakouts from it (now I know it's because I used Retin-A CREAM) so I stopped. So older and wiser now, and having finally gotten my acne under control (no huge puss-filled pimple in almost 6 months! Woo hoo!), I've turned to Retin-A GEL to help fade the scars (which lingers close to forever). I'm not sure if it's working because have only used it for about 2 weeks, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
I've been using Retin A since 1997. I was 24 at the time and never quite cleared up and finally asked my doctor for something. I used it over clindamycin liquid nightly, and did not have the major outbreak that some report, my skin just gradually cleared up. It did hurt like mad, and my skin was very chapped for awhile. I have used it off and on over the past 10 years & have no real complaints. It has always caused a cystic breakout on my chin, so when I use it I avoid the area.
My favorite way to use it is as a mini-peel. I put it on a couple times a day until it gives me a minor chemical "burn" and then taper off. After the peeling stops and the redness vanishes what is left looks damn good. My routine is more varied than when I began, I use it under or over other products, except forthe clindamycin, which stopped working long ago...
I am 56 and have been using Retin-A since the middle '80's. Originally used to fight acne that returned with a vengance in my 30's. Initially Retin-A caused made my skin red, irritated, and itchy---to the point I almost quit--- but I noticed my pores started to become less noticable and in 2-3 months my acne did go away. At this time, I also began the habit of staying out of the sun and applying SPF 15-30 sunscreen every single day. In my 40's I paired Retin-A ( 2-3 X week) application with perscription strength Lac-Hydrin-12% @ night and started to get compliments on my skin with people often guessing I was still in my 30's--- ( Oh yeah, and hair dye helps too!.) I continue to use Retin-A in my 50's, but with hormone changes ( think, pimples on fine wrinkles!)I only use it every 2-3 months to maintain a clear skin.
I started using tretonin .025% about 6 or so years ago because my friend told me it would help fight wrinkles. I prefer not to give my age, but I can tell you that people think my younger sister is older than I am.
I am quite certain the retin A is to thank for my good skin as I am a ppp who smoked for many years & spent up to the age of 21 baking in the sun (didn't know any better). Then I used what are basically unstable sunscreens after that point until I found mua 2+ years ago.
I eat a really good diet and get regular exercise, but that alone wouldn't be making the difference I can see between my face and those of my friends.
I've been using Retin-A since age 12 (I'm now 27). It is truly a miracle for those with severe cystic acne. I found this out the hard way recently when I decided to stop using it because I thought my skin had gotten drier and that my acne would go away with using the Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA souffle instead. BAD DECISION. Suddenly within a week or two I remembered how life was before I started using this. My skin was an oil slick, I was breaking out all over my face and had about six cysts on my chin,my pores were huge and disgusting, and I generally looked and felt like crap. Obtained a .05% tube from my mom and within three days the pimples were gone, even though I'd been off of Retin-A (I used .025% previously) for six weeks. Yes, my skin is scaly and peeling as it becomes accustomed to the medicine again, but it is also smooth and pimple-free, and my pores are once again TINY. I'll probably go back to using the lower percentage eventually, but I was desperate to get my good skin back! This is, BY FAR, the only reason I have ever had good skin and I will NEVER stop using it again. I have to use nothing but Cetaphil products on my face while using it, but that's fine by me. It is expensive but my whole family who use it resort to buying it elsewhere.... because being older than 22, my insurance won't cover it.