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Retin-a: Initial Breakout 8 Months Long. I Miss my "Before" Skin! - British Columbia, BC

I'm 20 years old and I've had acne since I was 8...

I'm 20 years old and I've had acne since I was 8 (yes, 8!). For a number of years, I kept it mostly under control with topical antibiotics, but last summer, I had a major breakout, the worst I've had since high school. I was put on a short course of antibiotics and then .01% of Retin-a to prevent any more breakouts. My skin in the first picture is fairly clear due to the antibiotics; it was much worse before them.

I was on .01% for about four months, and my skin got slightly worse, but not much. I wanted my skin to be perfect, so I got .025%, hoping it would clear everything up. That did NOT happen!

My skin broke out more than it did before Retin-a (though not as much as during my summer breakout), but this time it started to leave behind icepick scars! I'd never had scarring from my acne before.

I suffered through that for about three more months. On March 24th, I went back to the doctor and he diagnosed me with cystic acne and gave me .05% Retin-a. At this point I don't feel very hopeful about Retin-a, but I thought I might as well try again. It's been about a week and I think I might see a bit of improvement, but it's too early to tell for sure.

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A little over a week

I wear makeup every day, so I thought I'd post a picture of how my skin looks with makeup on. I think it looks all right, but not great, and you can definitely tell close up.


You're a really pretty young lady, I empathise with you because my friend suffered from terrible cystic acne in her early twenties. It actually went away when she started taking birth control pills, although we have no proof this was why. Retinols made her worse. Try not to worry, it won't last forever and you do a brilliant job with your makeup, it does look great. Best wishes for happy skin.
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Thank you for sharing your experience with Retin-A,. Wow, 8 is very young to develop acne, did your Doctor ever test you for food allergies? I know that dairy is a trigger food for many acne suffers, that is what led me to go vegan - once I stopped eating all animal products my cystic acne cleared. 

You look wonderful, even without the make up - hang in there you will clear your skin - it may take some time but it is possible. 
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My acne was immune to Retin-A!

Sorry for not updating this in so long. After still not getting any real results from Retin-A, my doctor determined that I have intractable acne, meaning my acne didn't respond to normal treatments (doesn't that just sound great!). Even though my acne was never really severe, I got put on a Canadian form of Accutane called Clarus. So far, it has been AMAZING! My skin is finally getting better!


Hi, I run a Beauty Salon and with the girls who work for me and my daughter, we have also noticed that using Retinols seem to make their acne worse. I wish you wouldnt use accutane, as although it may clear the acne it is incredibly bad for your body. For future use have a look at this website http://dannemking.com/ We have recently all trained in this method and find it very good. Birth control pills should also help with hormonal acne but diet is also very important. I hope this is helpful to you.
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