The ultimate in anti-aging products. I'm 55 now and have been using it for acne since I was 40. I'm grateful that in all those years, insurance has covered the cost.
Although, it doesn't happen overnight (weeks or months, even, and it gets way worse before it gets better), it definitely clears up the acne and keeps it away. I couldn't believe what oozed out of my skin. Knowing it had lurked underneath for years, helped me understand the time it took for all that gunk to surface. It's worth the wait - see picture.
Using Retin A is a balancing act. I can use it on parts of my face (T-zone: nose, forehead, chin) nearly every day of the week. That varies with the temps and moisture in the air. Dry air - use less often. The rest of my face can handle it every 2-3 days. Too often and your skin will hurt (and peel). An alcohol free toner helps dissolve the flakes (alcohol stings). Active ingredients in other products you use on your face can irritate Retin A treated skin. I added a corrector for stubborn spots and schedule it around the Retin A to avoid tenderness.
It's also important to use Retin A on the neck and decolletage - no red, splotchy neck and chest to go with your bright, glowing face.
I can't imagine using Retin A without good moisturizers - day and night. Retin A slows down wrinkling and ruddiness although I still have both - just far less than I would have had without it. Although it's the HG of anti-aging products, it's not magic, after all.
All that newly uncovered, virgin skin needs a high SPF sunscreen. It's essential. If you're not going to commit to sunscreen, every day, don't use Retin A.
I started using Retin A for mild-moderate acne; I'd tried oral doxycycline, topical clindamycin, and most of the cleansers, toners, and treatments available at the drug store. My acne was never terrible, but it was embarrassing to be a grown adult with a teenager's face.
I started using Retin A in January 2013, and now my face is smooth and almost pimple-free. I still get one now and then, but nothing like it was before, and the texture of my skin is much finer.
My experience was that for the first two weeks of using Retin A every other day, my skin would get red and irritated - if it got bad, I would apply extra moisturizer (bag balm, actually) at night and skip a day of Retin A. After three weeks my face started peeling and flaking, almost like facial dandruff. Once again, I moisturized like crazy and would skip a day of Retin A if my face peeled excessively.
At one and a half months I started purging - a LOT of acne, worse than I'd ever had before, and a lot more painful and prominent at that. This lasted for about a month. I was hoping it would be short lived, but it was not to be - if this is you, soldier on! The results are worth it.
What finally helped usher out the terrible acne stage was changing my cleansing regimen. Basically.... I stopped using products. Any products. I wash my face with only water, and apply clindamycin gel at night, and sunscreen in the morning, and that is it. Now that my skin is so much thinner, it's a lot more sensitive to chemical/mechanical irritants. I also stopped exfoliating, which I have done every day for about ten years (facial brush/clarisonic/muslin cloth/silicone scrublet/aspirin mask/oatmeal mask etc). Now that I've given up traumatizing my skin, things are looking a lot better. I also don't need moisturizer now that my skin is used to Retin A, and I'm not stripping it down twice daily.
I should also point out that I'm using the cream version, because that's what was given to me by my doctor. I have had no problems with the cream actually causing more congestion (as opposed to the gel version), although I was tempted to blame the cream formulation when my purging dragged on for eternity.
TL;DR: works great for acne that hasn't responded to anything else. Redness and peeling? Take a break and moisturize. If you're in your purging stage, try simplifying your skin care regimen for sensitive skin. Enjoy transformed skin.
my dermatologist suggested retin a for me because I had been complaining about dull skin and wrinkles. I tried a small amount and it looked like it didnt do anything .. then next night a stupidely applied a lot and my skin became really really red and started to peel off. I freaked out but my dermatologist told me it is normal. So i had peeling for 2 weeks and after that i had the most beautiful skin ever and will use this product forever
This is my first review and I will be updating as I go along.
I have battled with my skin for numerous years and finally have it under control with a combination of the oil cleansing method, clarisonic and apple cider vinegar along with the BC Yasmin. It's taken a good, long time to get to this point but now I'm here I'm still not 100% happy, and that's where Retin A came along.
Now my skin is clear I have noticed not only do I have scarring but I also have extensive skin damage. There are numerous reasons how I got to this point, sunbeds, no sunscreen, taking accutane and not wearing sunscreen and generally not realising the consequence's of the above. So, I researched, researched and researched and Retin A seemed my saviour and I dove in. I all actuality I dove in way too deep to begin with, I ordered 0.1% off eBay and applied a liberal pea sized amount all over and hoped for the best, the next night I did the same and the same after that..... That's when things got bad! I woke up and my face was RED like redder than the sun and pieces of my skin were peeling off and although I'd researched and knew this was a normal reaction I panicked and then things got worse, for the next two weeks my face was raw and peeling and no amount of moisturiser could help. The side of my lips cracked, my actual lips, the crevice on either side of my nose and they wouldn't heal. I went back to just OCM and tried to be as gentle and use only natural products on my face and things got better, it took time but they got better.
But, what can I say other than I must be a glutton for punishment as the Retin A has lured me back and I'm ready to try again. This time I am going to edge my way in and use it only once a week, I have chosen Tuesday as my lathering up day and I took the plunge last night. I used half a pea sized amount all over my skin after OCM & ACV (I left at least an hour between applications) and today my skin feels tight but not uncomfortable so I'm hopeful that this may work for me and that over time it will, I realise it will be over many months and maybe even years but hopefully it will fade my sun damage, I'm only 27 so don't want old lady skin before my time just because my dermatologist was too lazy to really lay down the long term affects of the sun.
I have used Retin A for 22 years,mostly for undoing sun damage. My skin looks the best it has ever had. I recently changed from full strength to half and use it 3 times a week,I'm still reaping the benefits. It take awhile to get used to, but its well worth it for fighting the signs of aging.I buy it at Costco, where it's much cheaper than my Giant grocery store pharmacy.
I have been looking for something to improve my skin for the last few years, As I have gotten older, I've been developing lots of whiteheads the develop into spots on my chin and cheeks. My face was looking bumpy and pores were becoming very visible. I'd spent a small fortune on various cleansers, toners and potions over the last while and nothing was shifting the pores. Since I started using Retin A three weeks ago, I already see a great improvement in my skin with visibly fewer whiteheads and blackheads. I've been using 0.05% Retin A every second night after cleansing and toning. I also used a moisturizer, to help the dryness. I find that my skin looks best, the day after my free night as the peeling has subsided and my skin looks very smooth and fresh under my make up. I only wish I found this stuff years ago. I can't wait to see how much more my skin will improve! By the way, I use moisturizers with SPF Clinique Superdefense with SPF 25 and I recently started using an exfoliator from Lancome to help remove dead skin a few times a week.
I really wanted Retin-A to work for me, but it didn't.
Some reviewers have described that they got red, cystic acne pimples from using Retin-A, which is exactly what happened to me.
I got prescribed a very low dose of Retin-A. Initially I started using it every 3 days at bedtime. Almost immediately I broke out with large, inflamed cystic acne. The pimples were not concentrated to one area; I got them on my chin, cheeks, etc. They were very painful.
I thought that the cystic acne would be temporary while my skin adjusted to the medication. After a few days I increased my use of Retin-A to every 2 days, and eventually applied it daily. I used it for a total of 7 full weeks hoping that the medication would start to take effect, but it never did and I continued to get cystic acne the entire time.
During my time using Retin-A I stopped wearing makeup, and using face masks and serums. I really wanted to see if the medication would work, but it didn't.
I never got any flaking or peeling skin, or any positive results. All I got throughout the entire 7 weeks was red, inflamed cystic acne.
I know that Retin-A has worked wonders for many, many people, and I'm sure it can be a very effective medication for many others, but it did not agree with my skin. Although I do experience frequent acne, I seldom get cystic acne. Needless to say, I realized after 7 weeks that the medication was doing more harm than good, so I discontinued using the Retin-A. After a while, the cystic acne healed and has never returned.
Again, I know Retin-A can be very effective in treating acne, but I guess it's just not for everyone.
I'm 60 and I've been on Retin-a treatment (0.025%) for a bit more than a month. I think debdee gave the best advice. If your skin does not tolerate every-day application, DON'T apply every night. And make sure you start with the lowest grade. You'll spare yourself much grief and trouble. I have a love-hate relationship with this cream. Some days I like it, others I hate it. I'll try to be as objective as I can.
Per my derm's advice, I started using this every two nights for two weeks. Then every other night for another two weeks. Now I'm going to start using it every night. Even this low grade has dried up my oily skin quite a bit. Also, I must be very careful to apply the barest minimal on my chin and around my mouth or it's red/peeling skin central. I don't apply it around my eyes. My under-eye skin just can't take it. I would also suggest using a very mild cleanser. I use DHC's Mild Soap and it works beautifully. Cleans my skin thoroughly but does not over dry it.
Another thing I do is make sure I use a strong moisturizer w/SPF every day. I have a tube of the sadly-discontinued Kinerase Daily Defense Lotion SPF 30. It was ridiculously priced at $135, but I got it as gratis when I worked at Sephora, so I didn't pay for it. It's very emollient, but non-comendogenic. It never broke me out. My alternatives to this are Mario Badescu's Collagen Moisturizer SPF 15 (that may not be high enough, but sunscreen usually break me out, so I'm very wary of them), and Bliss' Fabulous Face Lotion SPF 15. Not exactly dirt cheap, either of them, but since I already had them ...
Fortunately for me, this treatment did not make my skin "purge." That could also be because I clean my skin uber-thoroughly every night, so maybe there was nothing to purge. I had two small but stubborn pimples and this cream cleared those w/o bringing them to a head, for which I am most grateful.
As for the rejuvenating benefits, no, I don't look 12 yet, and I have enough common sense to know I never will, but this has made my skin more even-textured and I haven't had a single break-out since I started using it, in spite of the emollient moisturizers and wearing MU. Foundation goes on and looks so much better on now.
When I finish my prescribed time, I intend to use this like debdee does, as necessary. I hope this helps ladies my age.
After 10 weeks of continuous usage, I can see why this product receives such rave reviews. It has been absolutely instrumental in normalizing my hormonal and cystic acne, reducing my blackheads, evening out my skin tone, and reducing my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
I started off VERY slowly with the generic tretinoin cream .025% - waited 20 minutes after washing my face (BWC's extra gentle cleansing milk) and moisturizing (CeraVe lotion), applied a dab the size of a grain of rice every third night for 2 weeks. Worked my way up to every other night for another 4 weeks, and have been using it nightly for the last month. AM routine consisted of BWC's cleansing milk, followed by Elta MD's UV clear sunscreen.
I did have a mild initial breakout but I used clindamycin phosphate lotion in conjunction which helped keep most breakouts at bay. Peeling was also kept at a minimum due to how slowly I started off. My skin is SO smooth - my forehead is free of bumps which literally has not been the case for the last TEN years. Tretinoin does make my skin slightly oilier, which can be countered by using jojoba oil as a moisturizer instead of lotion.
Like other reviewers have mentioned, using tretinoin has allowed me to cut back on the number of skincare products I use. As long as I practice good skincare (removing makeup, using sunscreen, cleansing, etc.), live a healthy lifestyle, and use this product, my skin is kept healthy and happy. Not flawless (I can blame genetics for that), but not severely broken out and ruddy.
EDIT (8/17/13): My love affair with this product continues. I recently saw a picture of my face around November 2012 and oh. my. god. The difference is UNBELIEVABLE. I don't think there was a single square inch of my face that was smooth and unscarred - I had pus-filled, painful pimples covering my cheeks that would last for over 1 month. (Seriously, I would pop them 6 or 7 times and they would continue to fester). And now? After ~5 months of usage, I get the tiniest, flesh-colored pimples - and these too go away very quickly. I am so, SO thankful for this product.
This is by far the one product I've seen most results from. I've been on it for 3 months now and am really seeing good results. First month wasn't easy, but do yourself a favor and stick with it! I found that using the clarisonic brush was an excellent way to get rid of flakes every morning. I really recommend it vs scrubbing since it's not as tough on your already irritated skin (from the Retin A). I use the .05% strength, started everyother day and by week 2 increased to every night. The flaking ended at 4 weeks. Then it was all improvement from then. My pores look smaller and black heads are down by at least 50% (this was my biggest problem). My skin looks better than ever. I really recommend using the clarisonic brush every morning too. It really does get rid of any left dead skin and leaves your face feeling super fresh and new every morning. It works REALLY well with the Retin A every night. Also, I go to Mexico often, they sell prescription strnght Retin A down there at any pharmacy, like a third the price, exact same product, no prescription needed.... Just a tip, if you're ever south of the border... :)