I have dryish skin, so Retin-a wasn't made for me anyway, but I really wanted to try it for the peeling. Since starting on .05% about 6 weeks ago, my skin has gone though some changes. The milia along my jawline and under my eyes are gone and my skin is smooth like marble; it also looks fresher and more even.
However, at one point my skin got incredibly itchy along my jaw and beside my mouth that I scratched it so much it got kind of cut up from my nails, and it looked like I had a beard of bright red skin. Pleasant. This passed. If you have dry skin like me, you have to use a really moisturising moisturiser like something for eczema while you're doing retin-a, otherwise you will wake up with your skin streched so tight across your face it's like you're in a wind tunnel.
I had been using benzoyl peroxide to prevent cystic acne on my forehead, and while it was preventing breakouts, it was also making my skin look shrivelled up, and my skin just wouldn't rejuvenate after the scarring I had from previous cysts. I have since stopped using it and use Retin-A on the area instead and the skin is both acne free and much 'plumper' looking. I know some people get breakouts in reaction to this, but I haven't had any of that, though I don't have oily skin in the first place
Now the bad stuff, my skin has gone from normal/dryish to _extremely_ dry with the Retin-A; if I put foundation on, it shows up all the flakes, and looks appalling, like someone dug me out of a crypt. If I don't put foundation on, my skin looks red and irritated. I'm sticking with it though coz I assume that at some point, the peeling will stop and I'll only have the good effects. This is a commitment; don't even start if you're not willing to look like crap for a while.
This is my HG acne product! I use the 0.04% micro all over and the 0.1% micro on my T-zone and my skin has never looked better. It has really kept my breakouts at bay, brightened my complexion and it's cleared lots of old acne scars. I can't stop kissing my dermatologist's butt for putting me on it! I know this product isn't for everyone, but it sure has worked for me!
This gave me the most horrible breakouts for over 2 months! There were so many days I wanted to stay home and hide. I was depressed. But now, after toughing it out for 10 weeks, I have clear smooth skin. The Retin A is even helping my red marks clear out fast. Even my family commented on how I no longer have acne. I will continue to use this and I know this will also prevent wrinkles in the future. If you want to try Retin A, make sure you give it at least 3 months before giving up.
If you are able to withstand the initial phase of dryness and peeling, retin-a may be worth a try. I use 0.05% gel for my mild adult acne, and it worked in clearing the blackheads on my nose, and the whiteheads on my chin, but it didn't work well with the larger nodular pimples and acne scars on the cheek. The side-effects of peeling was so embarrassing that I couldn't use it everyday as directed. I had to take some days off when I had meetings at work. Overall, it brightens your complexion a little bit. I used it with the Obagi system. I was expecting everything in my face to clear up, but it didn't. Maybe I need to use it more frequently, or increase the concentration. I will continue to use it and post more follow-ups. 12/11 UPDATE: It does subside acne, and although I still get one or two break-outs occassionally, it goes away quicker without leaving a trace. I am not peeling as badly as before, but now I'm dry, flaky, and a bit red. Hmm, few pimples or dry-flaky skin??? Tough choice. The hyperpigmentations from past acnes are a tinny bit lighter, although they are still quite prominent. I am not giving up on it yet, since so far, it was the best treatment.
Retin-A did nothing good for me--and it's expensive. No matter which version I used, how often I applied it (every other night or every night), or how careful I was about waiting an hour after cleansing to use it, this gave me redness and peeling as if I had a skin allergy the entire time I used it (months). It did make my skin somewhat brighter and may have very slightly softened my fine lines, but it also aggravated my occasional acne with its drying and irritating effects (these couldn't be solved with other products such as moisturizers). And I really didn't care if my skin was marginally brighter, since the most noticeable effects of this product were redness, peeling, and irritation-caused acne--not a pretty sight. If you have even slightly sensitive skin, avoid this! Unlike many skin products, this one definitely does something--so if your skin can tolerate strong chemicals, it's worth a try. It's not for everyone, though.
After Accutane, this is the best thing I've ever done for my skin. I've inherited the worst skin from my parents: very large pores, oiliness, very prone to acne, rough, uneven texture. I had to go through a seven month treatment with Accutane which was very harsh on my skin, made it super-dry but it definitely solved my acne problems. A few months after finishing it though, some oiliness came back (not as bad as before) and also blackheads on my nose, no acne though. I decided to start a Tretinoin+AHA regimen to treat my rough texture and large pores. Two months later, my skin has been totally turned around. Some old acne marks that never seemed to fade have finally gone, large pores have been refined and look a lot smaller, the texture of my skin is much smoother and soft, blackheads have decreased by 50%. Being a man with rough, problematic skin, Retin-A has been a gift from above. I only hope the results continue as Tretinoin is known to only show its final results after six months to one year. Thanks Dr. Fulton :)
My personal experience is that Retin-A is super-nasty stuff and damn expensive to boot! It may help some people, but it wasn't for me! It is strong stuff so be prepared for some major drying, peeling, cracking, and oh yes, the rash of blemishes (that will certainly result in scarring) that the instructions claim are SUPPOSED to happen as a result of the skin "getting used to the treatment and the pores cleaning themselves" or whatever crap they tell you! I couldn't believe I was putting stuff on my face that made it 100 times worse!! After a week of this crap on my face and the resulting breakouts and peeling of my skin and lips I looked like I came from hell, or something. I had had enough--I was traumatized by the experience of using this bizarre product. Thank God I eventually got with Paula's skin care regimen. All I needed was a good irritant-free cleanser and effective BHA (unlike most of the stuff out there, Paula's does work) to take care of my blemishes and not some expensive pharmaceutical that the MD's tried to push on me. I only wish I had read Paula's books much earlier. BY THE WAY: My experience with dermatologists is that mostly they are 1) horribly uneducated and incompetent (Paula Begoun knows more about what's good for my skin than any MD I have ever been to), 2) they are in some instances practically like snake-oil salesmen (trying to sell you much-hyped products and services that DON'T DELIVER AS PROMISED and can even have side-effects and cause damage) and 3) a total waste of time. They are really just out there to make money first, even if they can't help you (because they are so clueless and incompetent)!! For example the so-called doctor I went to who prescribed Retin-A for me...if she had bothered to ask me only a couple of questions about my skin, she would have realized Retin-A was NOT good for my skin type, considering my medical and skin history and other factors. But she didn't because she wasn't a good doctor (AND, she did countless other things that didn't work or caused my skin harm). In fact, I've never even encountered a decent dermatologist. Paula Begoun is the one that solved my skin problems, and she's no MD, just a very smart woman!!! So if you see a derm, please be very very careful.
Retin-A has never worked for me, or anybody else I know who has tried it. Even the so-called more 'gentle' versions of this do not work. My dermatologist prescribed me this to combat my oily skin, and I used this for over 8 months, hoping that I would find an improvement in my skin. All it did was make my skin painfully sensitive and make it break out much, much more. Retin-A is hands down the worst thing I have ever put on my skin.
I use Avita Gel now, which is a MUCH more effective version of Retin-A, without the added 'heavy cream' that they put in with Retin-A that clogs your pores.
If you're looking into trying Retin-A, try Avita Gel first, it is much more effective. continued >>
Love 0.1% Retin A Micro, too. I had persistent acne, in small clusters between the brows and mid-cheeks. PTR AHA/BHA Acne gel cleared some of them up, but most of the improvements came from Retin A Mico. I've only been on this for about 3 weeks, but I suspect it will clear everything up in time. It has prevented a lot of the acne (cystic + pus-filled) from starting. A little drying but that's just a very mild side effect. Progress has been slow(hence the 4) but very consistent.
***UPDATE -- Clindoxyl (by Stiefel - containing 1% clindomycin and 5% benzoyl peroxide) cleared up my skin entirely, nips new pimples in the bud so prevents any new pimples. I LOVE CLINDOXYL!! I now have the smoothest, smoothest skin. Retin A Micro is good but a few small pimples came back, and Retin A couldn't do the job. Clindoxyl has managed to clear it all up. BUT I will continue to use Micro A occasionally as it's a acne-friendly form of retinol/retinoid so will hopefully reverse any sun damage without triggering any new acne on my oily skin.
I don't know what I would do without it. I'm on Retin A Micro, I use both .1% and .04 % strengths. Be prepared for it to get worse before it gets better. I experienced redness, flaking, peeling and even soreness. I contemplated quitting but now I am glad I hung in there. My skin looks clearer, brighter, and I actually look decent without makeup. Only thing is your skin is ultra sensitive while on this medication, so treat your skin with the utmost care.