My trials and tribulations w/adult acne started pretty much right after high school and I was at a loss as to how to effectively deal w/it! I was put on various antibiotics, which did the job for a time but ended up becoming useless when I built up a tolerance to them. Enter Retin-A .04%! I used this gel-based version for the first time when I was 19 and for almost 12 weeks I experienced the WORST breakout of my life. I wondered what I had gotten myself into, it was that bad! Fortunately, it cleared up rapidly after that and I was very happy w/my skin. Unfortunately, I moved to Alaska about a year after starting the .04% gel and couldn't get that formulation there. I was switched to the .05% creme, which I though would possibly work better, seeing as how it's a stronger RX. That stuff, however, wasn't so great. In fact, I had more problems w/whiteheads and cysts on the creme verson than anything else! I found later there is an ingredient in the creme (myristal myristate?) that is actually quite comedogenic which could have been the problem w/that formulation for me. I went off of Retin-A completely for a time and used the ProActiv system which actually worked amazingly for two whole years before mysteriously losing it's effectiveness. SO, I found I was back to square one where my acne was concerned. This time, my derm suggested trying the Retin-A Micro .1% gel which was the newest thing and supposedly superior to the older versions. I bit and at first it was the hardest thing to use. If I thought my face was bad during the .04% initial breakout, this microgel made my face look about 1000x worse at first. The dryness, uber-cysts popped up everywhere and just an overall horridness made those first six weeks pretty much unbearable. Then, things started to clear up and now I have absolutely zero blackheads, virtually non-existant whiteheads but I still do get pimples. Not as many as before, but this last month (I think due to a switch in moisturizer) I had about five larger pimples that took almost two weeks to clear up (kind of long, considering most clear w/in a day or two normally) so that concerned me that the medication was losing efficacy. But like I said, it could have been due to the fact I'd used a different moisturizer than normal (which I have discontinued and am starting to see an improvement again). RAM is good stuff for the most part, but my skin is far from perfect. I have many scars from previous breakouts and the overall tone is uneven. But, I'm sure I'd be far worse off if I'd never used it at all as it does keep wrinkling down to a minimum and refines the skin quite a bit. In September, it will have been a year since starting the RAM .1%, so I'll have a better idea if it really lives up to it's potential by then! EDIT: Well, in August, I finally came to the realization that my acne was just too much for the Retin-A Micro and have since gone on Accutane to get it under control, although my doctor says I will have to get back on Retin-A after my course is over in February to maintain results. In closing, this stuff is good for minor acne and wrinkling, but if you have any kind of inflammatory acne or excessive oiliness, you're probably better off going with a big gun, like Accutane. I'm almost done with my fourth month, and my skin is practically perfect.
You know, I'm old, and I've used everything out there from A..Z. There's very little that works, and works fast, and this is the best there is. I've used Retin-A off and on since I was in my 20s, thus my skin is nearly wrinkle free at close to 50. Is there purging?...yes, it's nasty...but the rewards far outweigh a few weeks of anguish. Too, your doc should be able to start you out slow enough not to make it unbearable. Be smart...if your skin hurts, back off, move to a lower dose, or a creamier formulation. You'll be gifted with lovely, mostly wrinkle free skin. In my book, looking back, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
my comments are on stieva 0.01%.
it's the only thing that's helped me tackle clogged pores that have been around for years. yes, your skin does get worse when u start but you know it's doing it good. stuff just rises to the surface for it to fall off. amazing!
but my doc stressed the importance of putting a rich moisturiser before i use it. so i put on sisley intensive night cream b4 stieva and i've not experienced any peeling at all.
I have used Retin-A for seventeen years except while pregnant/nursing. I consider this my HG as I've been acne prone since puberty. Now that my skin is more mature I still use it along with AHA peels occasionally and alternate it with AHA lotion every other night. If you can tolerate it this is a wonderful product for both acne and anti-aging treatment. I have sensitve
skin so I use the Micro .1% and keep cleansers very mild- Dove unscented/ Cetaphil. Also it's very important to use sunscreen daily. The Rx isn't covered by my plan and it's about $125 USD so I get it from Canada. I'll keep using this forever.
Retin A saved my life! first some history: i had great skin as a teen but around my early 20s, i developed persistent adult acne. i tried so much, and by the time i was about 27 i was jack of it. i came across an article about Retin A in an allure magazine, did some research, thought it sounded better than taking roaccutane, and said to my female doctor, i want this! she was cool as iíd obviously sussed everything out myself.
about using it: like other posters say, you have to be patient. about six weeks into i thought, this isnít doing anything.
then BANG! itís one of those treatments that actually gets worse before its gets better, so be warned. my skin got even pimplier, but thatís because Retin A speeds up the skin cell turnover -- everything comes to the surface much quicker. basically i was ashamed to leave the house, but as I was between jobs, it didnít worry me that much.
i had to use very gentle face cleanser (at that time i didnít use cetaphil like i do now).
you have to be careful of the sun, and i found myself very irritated by the wind (i was living in the country at this time) so i would wrap up like a middle eastern lady whenever i went outside, to avoid the wind! things we do!!
at the worst stage, my skin was red and peeling viciously, and i would actually put thick layers of avon moisture therapy hand cream or neutrogena Norwegian formula hand cream on my skin as a soothing barrier! donít laugh! but that action, amazingly, did not clog my skin.
i should say i used the gel at first, but because that had an alcohol base, i switched to the cream and i found it much more soothing at the height of my skin working out all its demons, hee hee
the point here -- you have to work through this, because you will come out with much better skin! and soon this irritation dies down and you will see results: pimples not happening and scars fading.
the next stages: i started using neostrata 10 % smoothing lotion for day because i read a dermatology book that said Retin A at night plus AHA at day work in synchronicity and it was true -- my skin leapt ahead. then i started using a contraceptive pill (Dianne) and BOOM! my skin leapt ahead again!
so what now?: iím 34 in two monthsí time and STILL use retin-a with no side affects or irritation whatsoever. my skincare program is still Retin A at night/ neostrata AHA plus a sunblock at day, and gentle physical exfoliation every second day or so. this to me now is a maintenance product. my skin is soft, smooth, clear. i only get pimples on my forehead if iíve been overdosing on hair styling products (i recently got a funky new short do that needs stuff) and occasionally if i am outside too much, the wind esp makes me a bit peely around the nose, but that is easily fixed. hey, even my beautician tells me i have good skin! but iíve worked for it, and i donít take it for granted, so i keep up with these products because they keep working for me. iím almost afraid to give them up! even my friends canít believe iím turning 34, my skin is so good.
iím evangelical about this, so
please feel free to email me about his if you want to know more.
Retin-A is absolutely wonderful and it does wonders for acne and clogged pores! The only qualm with this product is the patience factor, but it pays off! It controls oil and gets rid of blemishes....for good! Unlike other over-the-counter medications and expensive skincare products. Retin-A takes a very long time to show its effectiveness, but the results are softer, smoother skin. Plus, once you are off it, the skin maintains its suppleness and clarity. Just make sure (esp. for those with oily/blemished skin) to use a gentle, unscented soap(like Dove or Pears)and a good oil free moisturizer with spf. This way, when the skin heals and clears, scars and other marks fade away much faster. Also, wear your sunscreen if you go out in the sun while using retinol, your skin will thank you for it! Be patient and positive, this stuff works, and its cheap.UPDATE**I switched to the gel formulation(0.05%) and it worked faster. My skin is oily so my derm suggested that I use the alcohol based formula since my clogged pores are uber stubborn(due to stress). The cream formulation also worked, I noticed that whenever I stopped using retin-a, my skin did not have the glow it did when i used it. The gel formula is quite drying(the cream was moderately drying for me-I did not experience redness or anything). The gel formula burns abit when I apply it but goes away in couple of seconds and I did experience scaling, very dry patches and redness but it peeled off the the top layer wonderfully. I had purging but it did not look gross, the clogged pores came to a head and flaked off. Retin-a also made my skin more even toned and diminished scars. I love Retin-A!
I've been on Retin-A Micro 0.1% for the past two years now as my nighttime treatment and it's made a huge difference in my skin. I think the key to avoiding irritation -- which took me way too long to figure out -- is to really follow the instructions on waiting 20-30 minutes after washing your face to apply and using just a dab for your entire face. Those who keep struggling with peeling and redness should make sure they're really following those two steps, and you might find your irritation dramatically diminished. My doctor has me on Azelex for the daytime, plus Rosanil cleanser (sulfur-based), which I use about every other day because it is pretty drying. This arsenal has been very effective for me and I'm sticking to it.
I have used tretinoin products for over 2 yrs. Overall, I am very pleased. I have seen a great improvement in facial lines, however, I am still working with my under-eye area. I began with Retin A micro .04% and saw big improvement in wrinkles. Even in the eye area. But, I had to switch to lowe strength (Tretinoin .025 cream) because of the harshness. Of course, when I changed to the lower strength, I lost a few of the results I had gained. Especially in the eye area. But, overall, I retained the improvements in facial lines. I plan to keep using it although it is a pain in the winter time. I cant use harsh cleansers or treatments, or go out in cold weather but, that's ok. I would rather have smooth skin with fewer lines! Retin A really works; it just takes some patience and a bit of knowledge about the chemistry behind this product. Many people give up when they see the initial peeling. But, the benefits come after that peeling occurs. Again, Patience and Knowledge combined with Retin A will work. I will use retin A as long as my derm continues to prescribe it.
I've been using Retin-A Micro for about two years now. My skin still tends to break out, but i would hate to imagine how it would look if i had never discovered this wonderful gel. It really helps clear my skin and causes very little irritation. I'm on the strongest strength and take it along with clindagel, hytone and minocyclin. I normally just take the retin-a though (all four leave me red). If you have bad skin definitly look into this product! Plus...the ten dollar co pay makes it so worth it!!
Ugh. I couldn't do it. I realized the reason why I don't like retin-a isn't because of it's effectiveness, but rather how your skin feels while using it. It made my skin hyper-sensitive, so much so I was afraid to go out in the sun, touch my face, ect. It's almost unatural. It also made my skin very very red, and irritated. If it does end up working, your skin won't be clear for at least 2 and 1/2 months, which was too long for me. I went through depression just looking at my face during the purging time. And I never got to the point where my skin looked great, without any blemishes. Overall, I'm staying away for good.