I'm about to turn 30 and have been using good, old-fashioned Retin-A for almost 6 years. It is the only constant in my skin care routine! I really do recommend it to everyone I know as long as their skin isn't too sensitive. It is truly an incredible product.
I have struggled with Acne on and off since high school and it's the only thing that really keeps my skin in check. It's also been a big help in reversing a bit of the damage I did to my skin for so many years drying it out with teenage acne skin care crap and just being an irresponsible kid going out into the sun and baking instead of protecting my skin!
It reduced the appearance of my pores, has helped greatly with my skin texture and tone, and have barely any fine lines. After using it for this long you really do see how well it treats and also prevents.
All of that being said, you have to really get to know your face and your skin if you're going to use this. It can be drying, irritating, make you red, make you peel, and make you REALLY sensitive to the sun. It's just one of those products you have to get used to. I have royally screwed myself by going into the sun without proper protection. If you have incredibly sensitive skin, I just don't know if i'd use the prescription version. I know there are some more gentle products with retinol in them that are designed specifically for sensitive skin, so if that is your issue try those.
Okay, now for my crazy theory... I first purchased Retin A at a drugstore in China almost 7 years ago and I fell in love. When I ran out I had my doctor write a rx and it just... wasn't the same. On a later trip to Asia I grabbed more and again, it worked like a dream. Maybe it was my skin. Maybe it was the timing or something else I was using, but the American version just doesn't seem to be as... good. I have since started stock piling it and making my friends pick me up a few tubes anytime one of them travels to a place that sells it OTC. Maybe i'm nuts, but I swear there is a difference between the Asian and South American VS the American version.
has anyone else noticed a difference between the two?
i love retin-a!!! my insurance stop covering it after age 35 because they figured it was for cosmetic purposes and i didn't want to pay $90 so i did some google searching and found that www.alldaychemist sells it for cheap!!! ($3.50!!!) also www.medsmex.com sells it as well. both sites were secure and i buy a few at a time to save on shipping. www.alldaychemist also sells the generic latisse for only $11 and i love that item as well! and it comes with a tiny little eyeliner brush!
24th November 2012 (2 months)
Jennigo thanks for your review. It's great to hear from people who have used tretinoin for decades. After all, it is a pharmaceutical drug that is absorbed into the body. Doing a search I found it is possible to get hold of Retin-a Micro online (inhousepharmacydotbiz) but do use disposable email addresses and prepaid/disposable visa accounts with any of the online pharmacies. The skin care forums have individual experiences from people who buy without a prescription.
Here in the UK all the GP's (family doctor) can prescribe is a barely there dose in alcohol gel, 0.01%. I'm too scared to put alcohol on my face so asked my GP to refer me to a Dermatologist for acne. Told GP been using the cream and worried all the cysts it's been giving me will cause scarring. They can only prescribe or refer if they can see you have acne, NHS guidelines.
I've been using Retin-A 0.05% cream by Johnson & Johnson for two months. I bought from an auction site and the seller was in Bangkok. It's over the counter there. Risky, but her feedback for the product was good. My skin is smoother and pores seem smaller. My skin feels hydrated and does look more healthy. No redness or peeling for me. My mild acne seems to have reduced appearing on my face. Although I have been getting unusual large cyst spots only under my jar line? Don't understand that. But this has slowed down since I stopped mixing the Retin-A with moisturizer. Using the Tretinoin alone does have a better effect.
I wipe my face with a cleansing water on a cotton pad (Bioderma Sensibio,) then smooth over a Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (non-acidic Vitamin C) Serum (Skinactives,) then a bit later, Retin-A cream. In the morning; cleansing water then zinc sunscreen. Still have oily skin issues, should really rinse off cleanser due to high level of oil in it. Need a cleanser with oil in it to remove sunscreen and make-up. Oil moves oil.
I'm hoping the Derm can prescribe me Retin-A Micro 0.1% as this is a water based gel and I have had no other side effects. I wonder if the synthetic oil in the cream is not the best vehicle choice for oily, acne prone skin and no one should put alcohol on their skin. If anyone who has used the various vehicles and can write a comparison, that would be great. I'll update at a later date.
I have oily skin (prone to pimples) and lots of age dark small spots. I thought this might have been the product for me. I broke out terribly during the first two weeks, then skin was flaky and then finally it seemed ok. Sadly , before seeing any real results (around a month and a half in treatment), i did notice the small spider veins on my face becoming much more noticeable; I started to search the net and discovered that retinoids can do that as a side effects, especially on long terms. I confirmed that with my dermatologist. Sad because i went through a month of hell for nothing.
So, be very aware if you suffer from small spider veins in the first place ! C
I dealt with acne as a teenager but the birth control pill and Dalacin T (clindamycin topical) fixed that. Fast forward to age 23. I switched birth control pills and my skin completely changed. I had moderate-severe acne, my skin was incredibly dull looking, and I had tiny skin-coloured bumps all over my forehead (in addition to the acne). Makeup wouldnít cover it up and every skin product seemed to irritate it further. I held out hope that it was just my body adjusting and that it would get better.
Fast forward nine months and it continued to get worse. After seeing a doctor, I was put back on my original birth control pill and prescribed Retin A gel, 0.025%.
Iím now in my fourth week of using it. For the first three weeks, I used it once every three nights as I was hoping to avoid any harsh side effects. Iím now using it every other night.
I have experienced some side effects. While I havenít experience a huge initial breakout, it hasnít stopped my zits and I am seeing whiteheads crop up the day after using.
Right now, the biggest issue is dryness and hyperpigmentation. I use Cetaphil bar soap for sensitive skin on a washcloth, morning and night, to gently wash and buff my skin. Otherwise, I get major flakes and scales during the day. I found this out the hard way when one day at work, I looked in the mirror around lunch time and saw that I had flakes of skin hanging off my cheeks and chin. Awful. After washing, I apply (a lot of) Cetaphil daily moisturizer. In the morning, Iíll sometimes dab a little bit of Dalacin T on any current pimples. I do that before the moisturizer.
The other issue right now is hyperpigmentation. Every pimple is leaving a bright red or dark mark behind that is quite hard to fully cover with makeup. So far, Iíve seen no improvement with older acne marks either. Iím hoping the reason for the starkness of the marks is because the clarity of the rest of my skin is improving.
One other, minor issue is that my skin is quite sensitive right now. After washing and applying moisturizer, I find my skin is stinging a little bit and that it is quite red.
So far, no great results but no terrible side effects either. I think the lack of results or side effects is because Iíve been taking it so slowly.
UPDATE #1 - I'm at the end of week five now. I thought I had turned the corner with this but I experienced a major breakout on my cheek this week. Two big cystic ones and a couple smaller pimples. Very discouraging but still hopeful that the next couple of weeks will really see it kicking in.
UPDATE #2 - I'm in week 7 now. As of this week, I've started using it every night as opposed to every other night. No added dryness or peeling yet, which is good. I did wake up today with two big cystic zits, which is how the cycle seems to go for me. Clear for a day or two, then two massive cystic zits. And so on. I've heard a lot of people say week 8 is where they've noticed changes, so fingers crossed.
UPDATE #3 - I'm on week 13 now. During week 9 and 10, I thought I was finally seeing results. Smooth, soft skin. No zits. Then I had some sort of relapse. Lots of pimples, a few massive cystic ones that took forever to go away. Once they cleared, suddenly my face was chapped and peeling all the time again. Now, in week 13, I think my skin is doing well again. No zits at all, very soft and smooth, and plump. I'm very happy. I'm hoping over the next few weeks I'll see in an improvement in tone, as that's the one thing that's still bothering me. I'm still quite blotchy, with some old acne marks.
ive been prescribed trentinoin gel (or Retin-A) on three different occasions. twice by my derm, and once by my regular doctor. all three times, it was really really tough at the beggining, but in the end it was always way way worth it.
from my experience, i found that it was a really really powerful treatment that burned and flaked and peeled. at least wherever there was acne which was basically my entire face. that would last for about 2 months or so. BUT STICK WITH IT!!!
i remember starting off one of my high school summers on this product, and about two weeks before school started i went on a camping trip with my youth group. one morning, when all of the girls were getting ready for the day, i heard them talking about their acne and how self-conscious they were about it. I joined in like, "oh my gosh, i know exactly how you feel". thats when they replied "OMG girl, shut up! you have flawless skin!!!! im so jealous!" and thats when i looked in a mirror and realized for the first time that they were right! i had not one blemish and only a few minor looking scars on my face (which is really saying something cause i started off the treatment with HORRIBLE skin). and thats when i made the mistake of discontinuing my treatment and within a few months i was getting clogged pores and whiteheads and cysts and those random bumps that never seem to go away, again.
oh! and a tip if you do decide to try this out: try really really really really hard to avoid the sun if you can! i noticed that if i stayed out in the sun for any period of time without good sun protection, a couple days later my face would by flaking like CRAZY. now that's a pain to try to cover up. nearly impossible. one week i was at a family reunion at the beach, the next i was at a church camp with the most horrible looking face ever. so embarrasing.
I only find this useful as a spot treatment on cystic acne. I can never put it all over my face as it becomes extremely rashy and dry.
Nothing has ever worked as well at evening skintone (I use in conjunction with hydroquinone).
Actually proven to be effective on serious skin issues.
Irritating to all but the most insensitive skin. However, in time skin adjusts and benefits accrue.
I've been using Retin A .05% for four months now and I'm quite pleased with the results. My skin is less oily, the pores look smaller, and the tone is more even overall, particulary on the neck and chest. Individual age spots are just beginning to fade, but as I don't have many lines or wrinkles, I can't say how well it works on those. I started off using it twice a week, half an hour after washing, then three times a week, and I now use it every second night. I didn't experience much in the way of irritation or peeling, but I had been using a lactic acid face cream for a few months prior to starting the retin a. The only times I've experienced irritation are when I've put it on damp skin right after washing, or when I've used the lactic acid cream on alternative nights to the retin a (duh). So basically when I've had irritation, it's been my own fault for not following the instructions. Anyway, both times all I had to do was stop using it for about a week and I was fine. I purchase it off Ebay for a very inexpensive price so this definitely gets two thumbs up from me.
Edit: I spent 15 minutes today getting my hair cut under unflattering flourescent lights while having to look at myself in the mirror opposite. My skin looks great! It's definitely improved considerably since using retin a.
I've used brand name tretinoin in one form or another for 20 yrs. I began in my 30s to treat stubborn "adult acne" and I did experience results. The results have never been 100% eradication of breakouts (but major improvement), and I had to be patient (waited 12 long weeks before judging effectiveness), but my skin had improved enough then to continue using to this day. The undesirable side effects (peeling, redness, increased sensitivity) were much less than anything containing Benzoil Peroxide (sp?). This product is effective for acne and tretinoin is the only product that truly works for aging concerns. Patients have to be smart about how they use this, and deciding what else they use on their skin. Your skin will always be sensitive when using a tretinoin product. Be careful not to combine other products containing acids on top of the tretinoin - your skin will rebel. Even after 20 years, I use Retin-A Micro Pump 0.04% no more frequently than every other night. I alternate with a OTC retinol product, I stay out of the sun, use physical block sunscreens (less irritating) and read labels on products in detail. My skin is aging much better than friends who have not been as diligent about reducing sun, not smoking, and using a tretinoin product.
Now, here is my dilemma: Retin-A Micro has become astonishingly expensive and is not covered by my health insurance (and I use the largest provider in my state!) I just requested a refill and was quoted $486.00!! The last refill, in 3/2011, was $276.00 (Yes, it lasts a while.) Why has it become so damn expensive?!!! Should I try Tazorac, which is covered, or a generic? My issue with generics is that although the active ingredient is the same, the delivery of that active ingredient is not necessarily as effective as the brand. Retin-A Micro in the pump was developed to deliver more of the active ingredients into the skin, while also being less irritating. At least that's how it was described by my dermatologist. The manufacturer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, provides coupons only if the product is covered by one's health insurance company (?)
Can anyone provide some insight into possible substitutions, and does anyone know why Valeant has increased the price of Retin-A Micro to such an extent? Very frustrated at the moment!!!!