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Tretinoin ~ Don't Buy It Because It's Cheap - Portland, OR

I have used Tretinoin Gel .025% for the past month...

I have used Tretinoin Gel .025% for the past month. I was planning on going the 3-2-1 schedule--every third night in week 1, every other night in week 2, and every night in week 3-- in order to allow my skin to acclimate, but I found that to be unnecessary. The first time I put it on, I couldn't believe how simple it was and I waited 2 days to apply it a second time.

Ever since, I've applied it every night. After an hour, I applied moisturizer before sleeping. Because of this, I didn't experience the heightened sensitivity that everyone talks about. In the morning, I'd wash and put my sunscreen and moisturizer on. I'd reapply my sunscreen at least once a day.
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I will say that my chin and neck were the most sensitive. My chin was very dry and would peel, and my neck looked like I had a rash and it hurt terribly. So I only applied once a week to my neck. But the recommended pea size drop to the whole face is ridiculous. I tried that and felt like I was putting nothing on. So I actually applied a pea size to my forehead, chin, both cheeks, and on my nose and underneath my eyes. So 5 in total! And no adverse side-effects!
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Luckily, my forehead and chin have remained virtually clear during this time and my zits are primarily on my cheeks. I hope the tretinoin will eradicate the milia and fine lines under my eyes. It has made the acne worse and the scarring is devastating, but it's supposed to get better.
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I give this a one rating not because my acne hasn't improved (it's not supposed to for another month or two) but because 90% of the gel is comprised of alcohol denat, which is awful for your skin. It smells exactly like rubbing alcohol. Alcohol causes dryness, free-radical damage, and irritation that hurts skin’s healing process. It also weakens healthy collagen production. This is so ironic because the tretinoin is supposed to do the exact opposite! When I apply my moisturizer over it, it clumps up and I hate it. When I'm done with the Tretinoin I'll switch to Tazorac because it's alcohol free.
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I will update again at the 2 month mark.

OMG! My skin is clear! It started clearing out...

OMG! My skin is clear!

It started clearing out at around 6 weeks. The scars are much less noticeable. My face is getting better each day. It’s amazing really. I didn’t expect to see results until the 3rd month. I would wake up with about a dozen new breakouts on my face everyday then all the sudden they just started to disappear!

However, I noticed some broken capillaries underneath my eyes. I’m only 26 but I have many tiny wrinkles under my eyes and eradicating and preventing them is just as important as treating my acne. I stopped applying the tretinoin as soon as I saw the little red dots and lines, and was upset at the thought of having to spend hundreds of dollars on lasers to erase them. Thankfully, the broken capillaries went away after a while. Retin-a is the only topical thing that’s proven to fight and prevent wrinkles.

As I’ve stated, I am using the generic Tretinoin .025 gel which has 90% alcohol denat. I will never buy this again and researched extensively for an alternative.

• Differin has methylparaben. Sorry, no parabens on my face, anytime, for any reason.
• Tazorac has Vitamin C. You’re not supposed to mix Retinoic Acid with any other type of acid because it breaks down. It’s best not to apply glycolic acid, salycilic acid, or ascorbic acid on your face if there’s Vitamin A on it.
• Retin-A cream has Isopropyl Myristate which is extremely comedogenic. Getting rid of and preventing the wrinkles and milia under my eyes is just as important as treating my acne. Isopropyl Myristate causes blackheads and milila. So, no thanks.

After lots of research, I have concluded that the best brand of retinoic acid is Retin-A-Micro. It’s better because of its gentle and more effective delivery system. Microspheres help the ingredient to slowly diffuse into the skin and the sustained release enables the retinoid to be active in your skin longer. It doesn’t hit you all at once, so it’s much less irritating.

Although no longer suffering from breakouts, the surface of my face is rough and flaking. It’s not soft and smooth yet, as there is plenty of dead skin. I moisturize day and night, but this ultra-drying effect is from the alcohol.

I am looking forward to the progress I will achieve in the next month with an even better product!
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Comments (6)

I love retain -a! I use oil-free sunscreen and that's all I use. The sunscreen really helps since retain_-a causes sun sensitivity. Over time, I've noticed retin-a helps smooth out the skin too, I had really bad acne scars, much much better now. My skin looks better at 40 then it did at 20 or 30. :-)
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You are fortunate that your skin tolerated the Tretinoin so well. I'm assuming your skin tends to be pretty resistant, and you wouldn't usually consider your skin sensitive. Is that right?

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My skin is very sensitive! I know that a lot of people who use Tretinoin (or any brand of Retin-A) don't apply moisturizer at night. You should never sleep without moisturizer on your face. The gel, especially due to the amount of alcohol, is very drying, so you need to be diligent about moisturizing day and night. I also used a low concentration, .025, which is lower than others out there. But so far I've been applying to underneath my eyes and no problems! I use gentle cleansers that are soap and alcohol free and I don't exfoliate or use scrubs. And of course I apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 twice a day. All these steps protect my face and are a must for anyone on Retinoids.
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Yeah, I have heard of people not using moisturizer with it as well. When it was prescribed to me, I was told to use moisturizer but still found my face was sensitive to it, and there was no way I could use it every night especially not right at off the bat.

It sounds like you have found a great routine for yourself and are doing a great job to take good care of your skin!

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Thank you. Yes, your skin care routine has to be very structured if you're on retinoids. But I do want to make clear that my chin and neck do not tolerate it well. I don't put the gel on those areas every day. But I'm most surprised that my eye area hasn't peeled or turned red at all!
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Wow, that is surprising. Funny how our body reacts sometimes!!

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