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!!!!
I've used Retin-A .05% on and off for about 5 years. I tend to not use it in the summer, when I'm worried about too much sun exposure here in the south (yes, I use sunscreen). Anyway, I've always gone through bouts of flaking, redness, and sensitivity when starting back up on it...until this last time. I've changed up my routine a bit and I think that it's made a world of a difference in the adjustment. I've started using Super GHK Serum (copper peptide) before this to help heal irritation and instead of mixing the Retin-A 1:1 with a standard moisurizer, I'm now using CeraVe PM with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. I've used a hyaluronic acid serum with Retin-A briefly in the past and found that it helped cut down on the side effects during the transition, but not as well as this PM lotion. I'm exceedingly happy with this combo and my skin consistently looks amazing. I know that the transition from not using to using Retin-A can be tough, but maybe this will help someone like it's helped me.
I started the .025% recently and now that most of the peeling and burning has subsided, I'm already noticing a difference. I got it to nix any breakouts in the making as well as to prevent wrinkles. Back in the day when I was 13 this came in a greasy, nasty ointment that didn't seem to do anything for my acne. I don't think it's as effective with hormonal acne as environmental, since mine was brought back on by central air and heat after years of using neither.
The new skin is sensitive and reddish but very soft and the dryness is subsiding a bit. I'll add to this when I'm completely in the swing as far as results, but so far this looks promising. Not cheap, but not nearly as expensive as the less effective OTC retinols.
I have been using this for a few years now and for me, it's been a lifesaver. It is the one product that I've tried that has really changed the texture, look and feel of my skin more than anything. Beware, as others have stated, that you will not see results overnight and your skin does get worse before it gets better when you start using this but when your skin adjusts to it, it really works miracles!
Ok so a little bit about my skin. I have always struggled with acne and for the most part I can keep my skin fairly clear by using tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide. I also wear foundation so this hides any red or acne marks I may have. This used to work for me but for the last year I have been breaking out so much. My skin just took a turn for the worst and I keep getting these stubborn little bumps under the skin that will not go away no matter what I do. So I decided to try and find a new medication. Thanks to makeupalley and all the great reviews I decided to try Retin A. It had so many benefits that I couldnt resist!
So I made a trip to the Doctors office and he decided to start me on 0.025 Retin A gel. Told me I could get something stronger if this didnt work. Fast forward two weeks and I can already see a huge improvement. My acne is by no means completely cleared but I can see that all those stubborn bumps are gone. My acne marks are healng up nicely and my skin just looks brighter.
Be warned though, Retin A does peel your skin a lot. For the first week my skin looked pretty gross. My boyfriend made sure to let me know lol. However, with daily gentle exforliation, the newly buffed skin shows great new skin under it. I am now at the point where it is still dry but not nearly as bad. I'm hoping my skin will be almost all cleared up in another two weeks. I have every intention to stay on this gel.
Another great thing to mention is that all the blackheads in my nose and cheeks that I didnt even know were there have been coming to the surface and literally rolling out of my skin when I wash it. I know gross but that means it's working and my pores are getting cleaned out.
If you have moderate acne I suggest using this product. It doesnt hurt to try and see. I just know that for me I'm glad I gave it a chance. It will be hard to get through the peeling and irritated stage but it will be so worth it in the end.
I will update in two weeks time and let you know how my skin is doing.