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... :)
My entire life I have had very good skin. I only had a few times in high school where I had acne outbreaks, but that was usually on my forehead and cleared up in a few months. Other than that I only had some minor occasional breakouts. In the summer of 2010 I was put on Seasonique and almost had an emotional breakdown from it. I stopped taking any form of bc to get myself back to normal. That's when my skin changed drastically. What started out as a cluster on my cheek soon spread all o er my face. I had whiteheads, cystic acne, and "strawberry nose". I also suffer from hyper pigmentation and scarring. I went to a dermatologist who did not really look at me and prescribed me antibiotics and a few different topical creams which made my face even worse. I found a tube of the Mexican brand of the retin A in my moms drawer and started applying it every other night as a last ditch effort... All I can say is stick with it. It is winter here and my skin is dry and sensitive. I did not notice it irritating it any further than a few flaky places and a stinging feeling when I cleanse with my cetaphil. The first few weeks I did not notice much of a difference. The second month in I bumped it up to every night and a few nights ago I am finally seeing results! My skin is a lot smoother, all my active acne seems to be quickly diminishing, and what blackheads haven't gone away on their own are very easily extracted. Every day I wake up with a slightly better complexion. It is definitely worth every penny just STICK WITH IT.
I am a 27 year old with oily, acne prone skin, and I have been using this product on-again/off-again for years. Honestly, even though I am not breaking out as much as I used to, this is a miracle worker. While it does dry out my skin, it has help a lot with my acne scars and any small pimples i sometimes get. I had horrible acne during high school, and have had bouts of bad acne since then when I've gone off my birth control. This has left me with a ton of red scars on my cheeks that never seem to go away. Retin A has really helped with that. I have also started using it on find wrinkles that I've noticed (wasn't very good with the sunscreen when I was younger) and it has helped with that too. Overall, a great product and I'd recommend it to anyone.
natural skin type is sensitive acne prone oily. Issues were a couple sun damage forehead lines, wanting to even tone and texture and acne. im in mid 20s.
I started off with a retinol cream just on forehead lines about 4 months ago. then i started using this cream on whole face too. the cream wasnt doing much except clogging pores so i picked up some 0.1% a ret and dilute by half along with using cerave pm underneath. been using this 3x per week for about a month or 2. i think im almost done with the uglies i was experiencing (dry skin, flaky patchiness, sensitivity, a couple new breakouts). Overall tone is much glowier, my pores seem to have emptied themselves. Most notably on the sides of cheeks/nose, which i was not expecting, especially since just a week ago they had plugs and were very oily. My forehead lines have unmistakably reduced by half. The bumpyish texture on cheeks and cheekbones is almost gone, i guess this was clogged pores too.
Im still having issues, mostly nasolabial folds and eyes, which get dry flaky and look wrinklier. i only started using it on them specifically around a month or 2 ago, so im hoping they just need a lil time to catch up and get through this stage. it's v scary to see sudden wrinkles around the eyes, but with enough moisture they go away.
I had a lot of issues finding moisturisers that didnt sting or irritate, hada labo super HA moisturising lotion, followed by cerave pm and then olay sensitive beauty fluid it working for me now.
it's dirt cheap off the net. im giving it a 4 for now, since there is quite a lot of irritation and im not over the uglies yet... my forehead looks 5 years younger and my eyes look 5 years older.
EDIT: Holy guacamole!!! My face looks awesome today, sorry i doubted you retin a!!+
I was having issues with the few wrinkles around my eyes looking worse for the past few weeks. I been hydrating v well but still doubtful, thought there was a possibility i'd ruined some parts of my skin and prematurely aged myself. Kinda avoided paying attention and stressing about it since then, holding out hope and what not.
Anyway i did my routine and just put on my m/u for the day and frikk, i look like a teenager again around the nasolabial and forehead area. the eye lines are back to how deep they were when i first started.
for ref im only mid 20s and damage was sun induced and a genetic predisposition to sagging muzzle look. so looking like a teen again isnt that far away for me... but holy frikk, glowing almost lineless firm skin. been using 0.01-0.05 for 2/3 months every other night and used retinol for 2 months beforehand. using cerave pm also.
i used around the eye and got burning, puffiness and raw peeling skin there. my skin gets pretty dehydrated and lines looked worse (presumably because the top layer of skin has been exfoliated and the area dried out). had to change up all my previous sensitive skin products because even they stung my skin. played around with 0.05 but it was just too strong and unnecessary from my research. had muddy looking skin from purging, wasnt too bad, just looked like i was run down for a few weeks but now all my pores are empty, any seb filaments wash away with my cleanser like poof! texture of skin is much smoother and softer now. Almost 0 hormonal jawline acne anymore. any jaw/mouth area slackness is almost fully gone. soft nasolabial lines that i had are now just subtle indents.
found a comfortable level with a 0.25 application every other night and using what film is left on my fingers to press under the eye instead of straight applying there. still get minor peeling even with following 'rules' regarding timing and moisturiser application.
SORRY FOR THE NOVEL THIS STUFF NEEDS EXPLAINING!
I started using Retin A Tretinoin about a year ago. We had a prescription for my son's acne, and it didn't do enough for him, so I thought I'd try it. I have very sensitive skin, and not many wrinkles yet, but I dab it under my eyes every other night. It really has softened any fine lines I had there! I have tried it on other areas of my face, but it made it too dry and peel.
Something I started using it on is on my upper arms, where I'm always plagued by tiny bumps and breakouts. It's amazing for that area, just a little dab after my shower, and again before bed. I swear it has cleared that area up after the first use!
Thank goodness this is covered by our insurance, I will continue to use it.
I have used Retin A for nearly 30 years. The key to its usage is learning which strength, what amount and frequency of application is best for your skin type. If you have burning and redness from using Retin A, you probably used too high a strength, and/or used too much product too soon, without gradually introducing it to your face.
Initially, apply the cream very lightly without rubbing it in and use it sparingly on areas of your face other than around the eyes, which is where the skin is thin and sensitive. Eventually, apply lightly around the eyes once a week. If the eye area can tolerate it, try applying it twice a week. Always remember that rubbing the cream into your skin will increase the chance of irritation. Apply with a very, very light touch. If you experience burning, you should temporarily stop all usage, then try again.
Caution is required during cold, dry weather. During the winter, I apply the lightest strength around my eyes, and use a higher strength on my forehead where the skin is less sensitive. When it's exceptionally dry, I use less product and sometimes have to stop completely for a few weeks. During warm, humid weather, I can readily tolerate a higher strength at regular intervals. It requires some experimenting to determine what amount will give you a smooth skin texture, without burning and redness.
One thing to remember about Retin A - it does not require daily applications to be effective. Your skin may not be able to tolerate more than two applications a week. In between applications, you may want to try an over-the-counter strength retinol. However, if you overdo any retinols, you will have redness, burning and irritation. If applied lightly and sparingly, you will have smooth, natural looking skin.
So I've been using Retin-a .05 for over a month now.
And it's hands down the best decision I've made.
After reading a ton of reviews I decided to give it a go. My skin wasn't too bad to begin with, a little uneven, and prone to break out once a month. My main concerns were little fine laugh lines, and I figured I'd better take them seriously now before the situation got out of control (I'm currently 27).
Before using this stuff I did a ton of research, I read a lot of possitive stories and a lot of terrifying ones. The scary ones had me a little hesitant to use the stuff but I realized the whole issue to retin-a making them look older etc etc, was because of lack of moisture, or just improper use.
My advice with this product is LISTEN TO YOUR SKIN. Ease into the stuff.
I used ROC retinol night cream for a month the prep.
For face wash I switched to Aveeno Baby soothing relief cream wash.
I wait 20 minutes before applying the retin-a.
Then I wait another 20 and apply pure organic extra virgin olive oil.
The first day I used it my cheeks felt a little "sun burned", but my skin looked dewy, even, tight, and amazing.
I waited two days before applying retin-a again.
My redness and irritation has been minimal, and peeling hasn't been that bad either.
Overall the irritation was nothing my skin79 mousse bb cream couldn't cover up.
Retin-A is amazing stuff, just be smart about how you use it!!!