Review of Unlisted Brand Retin A by lovepotion9
As I write this, I'm in my second week of using the generic tretinoin 0.1% (the highest strength) gel. After reading some reviews about this "miracle cream" I decided I should jump on the bandwagon; I ordered it along with my Lumigan from alldaychemist.com like many others from MUA.
I am 19 years old, asian with medium, combination skin. I've never had bad acne, maybe a couple here and there, and normally they are on my forehead. Because I am a woman of color, the acne would leave brown spots (hyperpigmentation) constantly. I had these all over my forehead that I cover with makeup, which is fine. But it is summertime and I decided it was finally enough with the heavy foundations and such. I'd read that tretinoin is very good for acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, pores, so and so. Well great! How could you say no to all of that?
Being me, I got too careless when the product arrived in the mail. That evening, I washed my face and immediately smeared a good amount of tretinoin on my face and headed off to bed. UHH WRONG! Needless to say, I did NOT read directions and all the cautionary tales on MUA. I just thought tretinoin was another cream, never realizing that theres a reason it requires a prescription. I did this for two nights, and the third day I started to see the peeling. Okay, I thought, I could deal with this. I scrubbed my face with St Ives Apricot Scrub (love this stuff) as best as I could, and powdered heavily. I had a pool photoshoot that day, luckily my skin looked fine on camera. At home, I used a tweezer and literally PEELED my face off. It didn't hurt, but I have never seen my skin come off in sheets like this. I continue my nightly routine, and the next day I woke up to a DISASTER. My face was so tight, I could barely smile. I was peeling again, so I slathered on St Ives. That was effective on my forehead and cheeks, but when it came to my chin and lower portions of my face, it was HELL. Anything that touched it BURNED. I had to constantly splash cold water on my face to lessen the pain. The skin here was so dry and rough that it felt out of this world to touch . . I've never seen my skin so bad. I continued scrubbing it about 4 times in two days, and the chin area was just red and raw. I finally gave up and just let it be, I figure the flakies will come off eventually, just not now. But let me tell you, the pain was unreal. I broke down and got some darvocet (prescription painkiller) for when I had to work so I could focus on the work, not on the pain exuding from my face.
Oh, the social aspect of this is probably just as bad as the pain I was experiencing. I have a part time job on the weekend (I am a student), and I was so embarassed to be out in public with this horrible skin. I don't know how I made through it, actually. Now I really understood all the people who have skin issues, and I learned to not be so judgemental. . it was a great lesson. This same weekend, I did not go out. I can't say how depressing this was for me. I am a total social butterfly and have not stayed home all weekend for probably over a year. There's no way I could go out looking like that. While I was cooped up, I made up my mind. I was going to stick this out, that the worst is probably over (now that I know how to correctly use tretinoin). I just can't give up now, especially after all that I went through this past week. During this second week, I am going to pray and pray that the peeling will slow down, hopefully the red/raw skin will subside, and I can actually go out looking not so freakish. The only good thing is that I haven't had my usual hormonal acne pop up when I started my period.
I have high expectations for tretinoin and I hope it doesn't disappoint. I really hope this is my miracle cream, used properly. It would be awesome to just simplify my routine: cleanser, moisturizer and some tretinoin every other night. I'm ready to clear my cabinet. But for the moment being, I am taking it one day at a time and am doing this: cleanser then wait AT LEAST an hour before the tretinoin. For the tretinoin, I'm using a pea-sized amount buffered with my moisturizer. I am doing this every other night. So far, the burning sensation has subsided a bit. I WISH I could have been doing this the whole time to avoid what has happened to my face but I can't take that back. Now I just sit and wait it out. If anything, I am so glad I did this during the summertime where I can "hide it out." I will continue to update weekly about my results.
WEEK 2: My skin never ceases to amaze me. It did a complete turn around, just as I hoped! The extreme redness and raw feeling I had was all gone, as well as the pain. I could finally put on my moisterizer without it feeling the burning sensation. The crazy peeling did subside and I just had normal flakies around my chin area. That was fine by me. I could finally get out of my house and oh boy was I happy!
WEEK 3: My skin has stayed pretty consistent. The only side effect I have now is the common flakies most gals on here experienced. Up until this point, I had completely clear skin. I had 3 or 4 tiny tiny pimples (they looked more like bumps than anything) but with makeup on, you could hardly tell. They went away pretty fast as well. But let me tell you my skin texture. Every morning after I had washed my face and moisturized, I can't help but touch my skin. It is sooo baby soft and it just glows. I noticed that hyperpigmentation on my forehead has faded away quite a bit.
WEEK 4: I think I am going through the "purging" process this week. I had decent sized pimples mostly on my forehead, but nothing too crazy. Good thing I have long hair and side bangs to hide most of it well. By the end of the week, they have mostly subsided.
WEEK 5 & 6: More purging, and having my period doesn't help that either. I really want retin-a to kick in already. Flakies are almost non-existant now!