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!!!
i've had acne since i was 12 years old and last year i got the isotroin pills to help clear the cysts and pimples.and that worked. i no longer have cysts or pimples however i am left with MAJOR scaring. i have bumpy scars all over both of my cheeks and if i dont wear makeup i look really red.so my derm suggested to buy retin-a 0.05. i've been using it for 2 months and i have to say that my scars have started fading and my skin seems more glowing and my pores seem smaller. i didnt get the instant results that so many people are raving about but im definitely going to continue using it because i have seen difference already.
I was very nervous to use retin a because of all of the reviews I have read, and from my mother who had used it back when she was younger. I have been using the retin a .1% cream at night time and so far so good! It has been about 3 weeks and my scars are slowly fading with only minimal flaking. My face is not red nor is it irritated. I must have very tough skin because I thought I would not be able to leave the house for weeks using this. I have been using CeraVe moisturizer and it works great! With my insurance it was only $10. I have been using the generic brand. I will definitely keep using this!
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.