This stuff just makes me angry when I think about it. I used this for MONTHS and all it did was make me look like one of the before people on proactive commercials. To start I didn't have bad acne to begin with. About once a month I'd have one cyst on my chin/sides of my chin. I know it was hormonal and that's the only spot I'd get acne. People would still even compliment me on my skin, saying I had great skin, I just wanted to get rid of that monthly cyst.
I go to a healing spa at our local hospital and they really helped my brother with his dermatitis so they recommended I go on this to help with some rosacia I have on my upper cheeks and to kill off those pesky monthly cysts. I did my research beforehand and did everything that everyone else did who had great success with this product. I used the smallest pea size amount, waiting an hour after washing face, I started off slow only using this 3 times a week. I could never even use this product every other day, it was still way too harsh for me. After the 2nd day of using this stuff my chin broke out in like 5 mountainous cysts! OH MY GOD. My entire chin looked deformed. I had to keep crushed up asperin mask on them to even talk, that's how painful and swollen it was! These persisted for weeks and then MONTHS. I was extremely traumatized both physically and emotionally as I became depressed from my skin's condition and the shame I felt constantly. I eventually stopped this after I got a rash like reaction on my forehead (a place I almost every break out) and then large cysts on the side of my face (also never break out there - my skin was like porcelain there before retin a).
I am convinced I was NOT purging with retin a. My skin was BEGGING me to stop irritating it. After I did my face improved dramatically. There is NO way that I had all that acne under the surface of my skin. I think only people with the absolute worst cases of acne would purge like that, not me and certainly not for that long. My skin is just not compatible with this product and all it ever did was inflame and irritate my skin. Now I am left with sooo many red spots from the old acne and lots of pock marks on my chin :(
I also hate how you can't be outside at all with this stuff. I don't care about sun bathing but I do like to be active in the summer (I do wear sunscreen) I like biking and running outside but with this stuff you can't do any of that. It made me feel like a vampire having to avoid the sun all the time.
I think you should only try this if you're older for wrinkles or have extremely bad skin to begin with and there's nothing to lose. After stopping this treatment I tried Dermadoctor's Ain't Misbehaving AHA BHA cleanser and their acne serum. I saw results within a day seriously! Right now I've been on it about a week and everything from my mouth upwards looks like porcelain again!! I still have redness on my chin and a small purge as I looked super congested there before I even began this new cleanser. BUT I can tell this is an actual purge instead of my skin begging me to stop. This purge is more typical spots, smaller red pimples that come to a whitehead quickly and then disappear. I can tell the cleanser is pushing out the oils and bacteria I had congested in there. That's also proof that retin a does not prevent future break outs, if it had I wouldn't of had congestion there even after months of use ffs. If your skin immediately reacts with violent cysts I would stop this stuff immediately. Paula's Choice has a nice write up about what is a purge, breakout and irritation or allergy. Reading that has helped me so much and also helped me stop using retin a. I'd suggest dermadoctor's line if you had occasional cysts like I did but don't want something as hardcore as retin a.
I have fine lines, overall redness and acne and wanted something to help. I did a lot of research and decided to change my entire skin routine.
I've been using Retin A 0.05% at night for 8 months with some breaks for IPL photofacials, so 6 months in total. I have also been using niacinamide 5% gel, which also reduces fine lines and acne according to the literature. Niacinamide isn't as effective as Retin A but it doesn't break down in daylight so I use that in the morning and at night.
I am finally started to see improvements in the fine lines, some have almost disappeared and the deep ones are noticeably shallower now. I am delighted. This seemed to happen quite suddenly at around the six months mark. I am really looking forward to the next six months!
Retin A and niacinamide seemed to help within two weeks for acne and continued to improve it for two months. I still get some spots but they are small and easily disguised with makeup.
My skin is still quite ruddy, so I'm getting IPL treatments for that and they are working slowly but surely.
Lately I've been getting a lot more compliments for my appearance and when I went out with no makeup at all recently, I got more attention then I ever have before. It seems I'm on the way to finally having nice skin :) Sometimes I think I'm only imagining the improvement, or I think I was imagining the problem in the first place and my skin was always nice!
My advice to anyone using this is to stick with it because it works slowly and moisturise more than you think you need to. Drink plenty of water. I use loads of silcocks base or shea butter before bed. They would be too greasy for the daytime. My day moisturiser isn't rich but it has spf 30. I oil cleanse at night and use a sulfate free foaming cleanser in the shower in the morning. I also got a very silky pillow case to reduce irritation to my skin. My skin seems more sensitive to heat now so I dress warm and keep my bedroom cool instead.
It is the only thing that actually keeps me away from breaking out while giving me a lovely skin texture! I have used it on and off ~3 years and I am pretty sure I will use it for another 30 or more years!
1) Clears skin.
2) Gives lovely skin texture.
3) Reduces wrinkles.
1) Comes only with prescription.
2) Not that available to get.
3) Makes skin super sensitive to sun.
4) If over-using, leaves skin flaky.
I had been using the generic tretinoin cream in .025% for approximately 4 months when I decided to up the strength. My skin's reaction was virtually identical to when I first began using tretinoin - peeling, dryness, a brief increase in blemishes and ruddiness. Now my skin has finally settled a bit and has adjusted to the product - I still have to be very careful, and can't use more than a dab (less than pea-sized) every night. I always buffer with jojoba oil (still can't apply it to neat skin), and wash with a gel cleanser in the morning + microfiber cloth to remove any new flakies.
My skin has never been happier! I've gone from having skin riddled with cystic acne and scarring to mostly smooth, clear skin with the occasional (rather than frequent) blemish.
I got this from my derm for hyperpigmentation from acne. Whenever I would get a breakout, it would leave a dark brown mark. My derm originally gave me the 0.025% one, and after one year it didn't work. He moved me up to the 0.05% and after 8 months, my skin looks absolutely amazing. I still get breakouts from time to time, but not as bad as before never any dark marks! It does make you peel for some time, as it takes some time to getting used to. I used really basic, non-medicated soaps to prevent more drying. I also moisturized with cetaphil cream to help it work too. This is my HG product!!!
I've been using it for 3 months. It got rid of sun damage on my forehead, I mean completely got rid of it.
BE CAREFUL that you only use a small amount, the size of a pea for your whole face, as others have said, it is very drying.
And if you get accelerated aging around your eyes, don't worry, it's not permanent. That happened to me, my eyes creped up, looked like I had aged ten years overnight, I was horrified, but it's because of the initial reaction of retin a with no moisturizer, and most people tend to overdo the retin a at first. It goes away, do not panic! Just stop using the retin a around your eyes for a week or two, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
If you want to avoid this wrinkly eye phase altogether, you can mix the retin a into your face with another oil. I like to apply the retin a very lightly after I've applied a moisturizer or moisturizing oil.
I started using Bio Oil a month ago and that's had really good results with my skin tone too. For me, these two products really complement each other.
Not sure if I would go any higher than .05% - that's strong enough for me. My face would really peel off if I upped the dosage. Not very expensive either, one tube is only $20 and lasts about 6 months.
Hands down the one product that has made the biggest change in my skin of all the skincare products I have used. I have used retin-a .05% for almost 5 years and it has made the biggest change in my skin....more even, reduction of fine lines, pores smaller. There was a time I couldn't even get close to a mirror as I didn't like what I saw in regards to the texture of my skin. I looked horrible....after several months of retin-a use, it became smoother and younger looking. I have not stopped using it since and it has kept my face smooth and youthful. It's not the easiest thing to get your skin used to...I had lots of irritation around my mouth and chin area, but if you use it correctly, your skin will get used to it no problem. This is the one thing in my skincare arsenal that will NEVER change. I will always have a tube of retin-a on hand!!
I wanted to do an update on the gel 0.05% since I switched to that. Crazy that I am in winter but I have been on Retin A since June and I am happy to report I now have clear skin. This is what I did and still do just now with the gel which I will get into. I wash in the morning with an oil cleanser ala Josie Maran,Shi,or Shu or I'll use a cleansing cream I really like the Asian ones like Tony Moly and Skinfood. I find right now I need cream based or oil based cleansing because my skin got so dry before I switched to the gel. So in the morning after cleansing I use Ren Global Protection for sensitive skin. It moisturizes dry patches and leaves my skin feeling so good I love this stuff. I then prime with Clarins and apply a moisturizing BB Cream like Skin79 or Skinfood Rose Lemon Tea. I find the moisturizing BB's work great and do not show dry spots.
At night I wash my face or will use my Clarisonic Mia with that I use MISSHA Chocolate Latte face wash it's decadent and full of moisture. The Mia used at least 3x's a week helps the Retin really sink into the skin. I then tone with Orange Blossom or Rose Toner. After 20 minutes it's time for my Retin now to the gel. I like that it still has a white base and is still moisturizing not as much as the cream but I find no difference really except I like how my skin looks with the gel over the cream. After an hour I us Origins Night a Mins and that really helps with skin turn over. The gel gives you a velvety feel whereas the cream would make me produce more oil. The gel does not I find I produce less oil and it's working better on shrinking my pores or it could be that I have been on it long enough where I am truly seeing the benefits. The 0.05% is perfect for my skin and what I started out on.
I have no pimples at all nor hyper pigmentation you can barely see it now my scars are getting smaller and the red spots are gone. My skin is even toned and very soft I get an RX from my Doc but have it filled through a Canadian pharmacy I save a fortune that way and it ensures I can use this for as long as I can. This treatment works if you stick with it. I had purging and it was gross but now it was all worth it because i can wear a light coverage BB with no problems now. People ask what I did to make my skin look so good and it did make me look younger. I'm 33 but look in my early 20's so the anti aging benefits are really there.
I really love this RA Gel and recommend either the cream,gel, or micro as long as you hang in you will have beautiful skin. I never thought I could have clear skin and now I do so give this a try I highly recommend it.
THE BEST investment you can make for your skin. I've been using .1% retinol for years & I strongly recommend starting out by using it every other night because it is STRONG! Now you may not be as crazy as I am to start off with the highest strength but I figure if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do it right! Lately, I've switched to the .5% & I'm really liking how much more gentle it is! Ok, I've used the generic version (Tretinoin) & I will never try to save money by using the generic again! Here's why: It is normal to experience skin problems, such as dryness, redness, itching, breaking out and blistering for the first 2 weeks of use but after the initial 2 weeks of use of the generic Retin-A those side-effects did not go away! In fact, I used the whole tube every night which lasted me almost a year & it was as if I just started using it =( I've been using the brand name every night for the last 6 months & my skin is in the best shape ever!!! =) For the first 2 weeks that you have to suffer for your skin to adjust, my doctor recommended: Cortizone-10 Intensive Healing Formula Cream 1% Hydrocortisone which can be found @ your local drug store (Ultra creamy formula helps heal problem skin.
* Clinically proven to moisturize 24 hours
* #1 doctors recommended itch medicine
* Calms, nourishes, hydrates
* Safe for sensitive skin
* With antioxidants & chamomile.)
I initially used Retin-A in my teens for acne purposes which I am no longer suffering from but now my dermatologist kept me on it for anti-wrinkle purposes. It is the best anti-aging treatment you will ever find but you have to be careful to use only a pea sized amount or your face will get SO DRY!!! Also do not go in the sun for prolonged periods of time even with high SPF - you will get a sun burn even if you don't normally burn easily! The key ingredient is Vitamin A which gets de-activated by sunlight so only use it at night before you go to sleep or else you will waste your product. Also very important, you have to wait 30 minutes after you wash your face to apply retinol because your face has to be completely dry. Just a lil secret of mine: Vitamin A works way better when combined with vitamin E & C. But there are different types of vitamin E so you have to find the DL Alpha Tocopherol version. It's more effective than Tocopherol acetate (for reference: info found in Dr. Oz's book "YOU: Staying Young" or "YOU: Staying Beautiful" - I own both books so I'll update once I look up which book it is. =) I prefer Nature's Bounty Vitamin E Oil (3,0000 IU Topical & Oral) & I use Vitamin C serum from Mario Badescu. The only moisturizer that's helped me during the day has been Jurlique Moisturizing Day Cream! And I do not use other exfoliating products daily such as the Clarisonic or any scrubs; however, when I plan to do a TCA or Glycolic acid or Lactic acid peel, I dis-continue use of the Retin-A for 7-10 days before performing the peel, then again wait 7-10 days after peel to resume use of the Retin-A! =)
ok--i just started retin-a exactly four days ago, so it's a little too soon to write a review, but i just had to because it seems to be working so well! much better than i thought, especially at this stage when all i expected was a battle with irritation as my skin adjusted to the treatment. anyway, i developed fine lines under my eyes a couple years ago that have been getting gradually worse. i had begun to accept them as a glimpse into what's to come, and only started retin-a because i know it's the only proven way to help your skin age the best it can. i wasn't expecting to get rid of those lines, just maybe soften them, but they are already gone! i gotta say i'm impressed. they weren't lines from dehydration that can be smoothed with a good moisterizer; they were etched in there pretty good.
as far as the irritation phase? for me--not so bad. my face has been feeling raw in the morning and looks pinkish, but it's nothing unbearable. no flakes or dryness...yet. i do use a good moisterizer (eucerin q10 for sensitive skin) twice a day,and a mild cleanser (johnson's baby wash). i figure keeping my routine gentle and simple is the best way to counteract the drying effects of retin-a. so far so good. i'll update later once i've been using it longer.