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Retin-A Micro 0.1% Roller Coaster 6 Month Update - Ridgefield, CT

I have been using Differin 0.3% for several years,...

I have been using Differin 0.3% for several years, all through high school and first year of university. It didn't completely eliminate my previously moderate acne, but it kept it at bay and my skin was generally pretty clear with normal, mild breakouts when I was stressed or didn't wash my face, etc. Recently my skin was breaking out more than usual so I decided to talk to my doctor. She prescribed me Retin-A 0.1%.
OMG, I hate it so far. My skin was not "bad" at all before I began, just a few pimples I would rather not have. Now, I look disgusting. I refused to leave my apartment today. It's been 8 days and it just looks worse and worse everyday. I put on heavy make up and you can still see the bumps and redness through the cover up. I know I'm probably overreacting, but school is starting again (college) and it's humiliating to see people I haven't seen all summer, looking like I do. I'm dreading the start of classes if this continues. I am honestly considering stopping it and just going back to Differin and dealing with the odd pimple rather than this monstrosity that is my face.

Decided tonight I will not apply Retin A, and see...

Decided tonight I will not apply Retin A, and see if my skin relaxes a little in the AM. Also, my regime is simple: wash with Cetaphil for sensitive skin, then moisturize, then apply Retin A half hour later. In the morning, I wash with Cetaphil and moisturize. I usually wear Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer only but now I have been wearing a concealer and powder also. I hate wearing heavy make up, but currently have no choice :(

Last night as I said I did not use Retin A. My...

Last night as I said I did not use Retin A. My skin looks less inflamed today. I will probably apply Retin A tonight in a very thin layer after thoroughly moisturizing and pray it doesn't cause even further break outs. This is day 9.

Okay, so here's what I did. I did that one night...

Okay, so here's what I did. I did that one night without Retin A to let my face settle. Now, I'm just listening to my face. I'm wearing A LOT of moisturizer--I moisturize twice a day with Cetaphil moisturizer, along with using Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer as a base for my concealer, and I use the Cetaphil for normal to dry skin that's extra gentle. I have noticed a big improvement. Knock on wood. I mean an improvement from my initial breakout. My skin has been healing and getting better everyday. It is a tiny bit dry, mostly around my chin, but overall good. I guess today is day 12 or 13. I think it helps that I've been on Differin all these years: my skin needs less time to adjust. I hope. Again, fingers crossed. If another icky break out that makes me cry when I look in the mirror occurs, out with Retin A! I am just to OCD to deal with that. :p

It's been 3 weeks on Retin A now. My skin was...

It's been 3 weeks on Retin A now. My skin was clearing up, but I missed one night because I was out drinking and stayed at a friend's house (I'm in college..) and couldn't wash my face properly. After that my skin broke out again! Not as badly, but still spotty. So frustrating. I only missed the one night, though, and have pretty much used Retin A religiously every night. No improvement yet, skin seems to clear up, then break out again. Also have been noticing extra dryness on my chin, so I plan on using the smallest amount of medicine possible in that area and have been moisturizing 2x a day. I will continue using it for now, as the break outs are just slightly worse than what I would have normally and I can deal for now. Plus, it's been very hot and I have no air conditioning so I'm sure that's contributing to break outs. Will continue to update, if only for my own benefit! Hopefully this helps someone else, too...

Okay, today is 4 days shy of week 4. Very...

Okay, today is 4 days shy of week 4. Very frustrated, but now I feel stuck with Retin A since I have tried it for a few weeks. I guess you're supposed to start seeing improvement during weeks 4-6, according to what I've read? I hope that's accurate. I'm so upset that my skin is this bad. I'm including a pic. Just hate having to coat on tinted moisturizer and cover up when I go out, I am so used to having nearly perfect skin!! :( I hope I improve ASAP. It is annoying because my skin did clear up pretty well for a bit during the second week, and then BAM it's terrible again. I'm also getting red marks from the break outs. I used to never get red marks. This really sucks, that's all there is to it.

Wanted to post an update. My skin has improved...

Wanted to post an update. My skin has improved since I posted, but it is hardly "clearing." The improvement is because the large, red blemishes have faded but my skin overall is still red/broken out. Luckily I felt my skin was decent for my first day back in classes at my university. My skin feels (and has felt all along, to varying degrees) a little dry around my chin, but everywhere else it is fine. Actually, my chin is pretty clear except for old red marks. I still have problems on either side of my nose, and between my eyebrows. I really hope the red marks fade; like I said before I seldom used to get them. I never pick at my skin or touch it unless to wash it/moisturize. Tomorrow morning when I wake up I'll post a photo to show where I'm at now--no class til later in the day so I'll have time. Oh, and one of my roommates made a mean comment about my skin today... :( . Sucks living with 2 girls with perfectly flawless skin, they just don't understand. Anyway, photo in the morning. Still hoping this can be of use to someone eventually. Also thanks to you Megan for continuing to be encouraging!

Hi again, figured I'd update. Nothing much to...

Hi again, figured I'd update. Nothing much to report, my skin is neither clear nor terribly broken out. I have a few spots on my forehead. My chin is clear, though. Overall my skin looks fairly decent, despite the blemishes. Still experiencing some dryness where my chin meets the bottom of my mouth and my skin is a little blotchy. I'm happy I never suffered that extreme peeling I read about...the only dryness is truly concentrated in one area. I think my red marks are fading around my chin--a relief. So I am solidly in week 4 now, started the Retin A on August 9th. This is where it's supposed to start improving, I think...so I'll keep plugging along. Right now I'm just grateful for no huge breakouts like I have been experiencing these past few weeks. I am posting a photo from post-shower/face washing/moisturizing as usual for a visual update.

Also wanted to add, because this could be of...

Also wanted to add, because this could be of interest/use to others: every time I drink, I notice my skin is a little worse the next day. This past weekend I went to a bar with friends and the next morning I had begun to break out. Eeek! And I've made a point of still washing my face/doing my Retin A stuff even if I'm tired and a little tipsy. I attributed my breakout to the alcohol and declined the drink the following night, and lo and behold the breakout stabilized. I could be over-analyzing as is my tendency but I am going to avoid drinking more than a couple glasses of wine/mixed drinks for these next couple of weeks to avoid messing up my apparent progress.

Woke up this morning and my skin was very dry and...

Woke up this morning and my skin was very dry and tight in the chin area, much more so than usual. Weird. Also have a little break out on my forehead. It never ends!

Sorry for no recent updates...it is week 6 if I'm...

Sorry for no recent updates...it is week 6 if I'm doing the math right (I am not a math major for a reason!). My skin is still not "perfect." However, it's pretty good overall. Still a little dry (nothing terrible, though). I have a few small pimples but nothing like my initial breakout. I think my pores look a little smaller in my t-zone. Still waiting for all my icky red marks to fade (they're mainly on my chin). Definite improvement over what my skin was like in August when I began the Retin-A regime. So I guess I will say "worth it" for now. Still not awed by results though! I will continue to give it time. I'm just grateful that the worst seems to be over...things got pretty scary for a while there. I'll post a pic tomorrow. I prefer to post pics in the morning after a night of Retin-A/after my morning face wash.
Also, drank last weekend and had no problem with breakout...and I even slept with my make up on! (Bad, bad me). So maybe my drinking-skin theory was just me being a crazy perfectionist who loves to over-analyze.

Hello, new update: I HATE RETIN A. haha. I don't...

Hello, new update: I HATE RETIN A. haha. I don't HATE it, but honestly, this product is kind of useless IMO. I am now on week 8 or 9. I started on August 9th and it is currently October 13th. So it's been over 2 months. My skin is NO better than it was prior to starting Retin A micro. In fact, it is worse in that every time I get acne, I inevitably get red marks left behind. My skin does NOT seem smoother, does not seem to break out less, does not seem more radiant or whatever people always claim. I really don't have much of a choice but to keep using it until Christmas when I go home and can see a dermatologist. (I go to university in Canada and would rather see a private dermatologist of my choice). I have constant acne on my chin, redness on either side of my nose, and acne on my forehead. I feel like my acne is, if anything, worse than it was this summer. I know this product COULD still be trying to work, so Christmas is a good time-frame to reassess with a different, more competent dermatologist. Honestly though, how terribly frustrating. It gets better, you're all relieved, and then BAM you break out again. I try to blame it on myself, "Oh, I drank" or "Oh, I missed one night" or "I'm sick" but really, if it is that finicky it is simply unrealistic. I am going to drink sometimes, and get sick, and miss a single night of application on rare occasions; it shouldn't be the end of the world. My mom was here this weekend and she suggested I mention to the derma that Rosacea runs in the family...I mentioned earlier that my family is of very British heritage so we all have fair, sensitive skin. My mom says Rosacea can cause acne and is usually misdiagnosed so it will be interesting to see what the doc has to say. In the mean time, I'm angry at my skin! For an organ that gets so much coddling it should really behave...haha. Changing my rating back to "Not sure" for now. NEW pic added to show you what I mean about no improvement.

Another update, since it's been about a month...my...

Another update, since it's been about a month...my skin is pretty clear, but still inflamed, and I am quite discouraged by persistent red marks on my chin. They're difficult to cover with make up. Every time one fades, another appears from a new blemish. I don't know why my chin has become such a problem area recently, could it be hormonal? I'm not on birth control, so I don't get why my hormones would randomly be acting up. It is not like I'm still going through puberty. Just frustrating.
I wish I could go see my doctor, but I am still at school and can't get to see her anytime soon. I will try to go see a different dermatologist come winter break.
Hopefully this is still helpful to someone.

So I guess it has now been...3 months and 12 days...

So I guess it has now been...3 months and 12 days or so. So 13 weeks+. Still no marked improvement. I am sticking with this until I get home for winter break and I can see a different (better?) dermatologist. Posting a photo. My chin still breaks out and leaves hideous red marks quite often. And I get smaller breakouts elsewhere, too. Really have not seen an improvement on Retin A over results given to me by Differin gel. Only "improvement" is that my skin stopped purging and hideously disgusting breakouts settled down. But then my skin just returned to "normal" not "better."
 

Hi, haven't updated in a while. It has been 6...

Hi, haven't updated in a while.
It has been 6 months and I'm really disappointed in this product. It really hasn't done much for me. My skin seems to go in cycles. It will be really pretty clear for a few days and then I will get a bad break-out that takes a week to fully fade. Then my skin will be clear for a few days and again the process repeats. My skin is really flakey and dry around my chin and upper lip especially.
I have been doing a lot of research and I think I do have Rosacea. I have the classic red "butterfly wings" on either side of my nose, etc. And my mother has it. It's often found in pasty people of British descent like me, haha. I went to another dermatologist in December and he said to try Klaron, which is known to help with Rosacea and also with acne. My sister took my bottle and I never got to try it, so I am going to get it from her in a couple of weeks when I see her. I'll let you know how that goes (the new treatment, not the prying of the bottle from my sister's hands).
I will post a new picture of myself to show you the type of break-out I experience. It's only in my T-zone. My cheeks are clear, but they always have been. I've never had acne there, thank goodness.
I'm just frustrated with dermatologists in general. I had to self-diagnose myself with Rosacea even though it's pretty obvious I have it. I think they see so many patients with acne that they get to me and my skin isn't wretched so they're just like "whatever, you could try this." They don't really consider my personal history or skin type. :( I am going to NYC soon and may try to see a derma there.
Dr. Gretchen K

She really was rushing me through the process. I feel like she didn't fully examine my face and like she didn't care about me very much. She failed to mention that my skin would worsen initially and I resent that, because I would not have chosen to embark on a new product so close to school had I known it would cause unsightly breakouts. I know I don't have major, life-threatening skin issues like some patients she sees, but I still deserve her full consideration and attention.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
3 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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You're gorgeous. And your acne isn't bad at all.
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Oh sweetie, my acne problem def looks comparable to yours... Yours IS NOT BAD!!!! I would say that is moderate. Your skin is beautiful!
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Hello! I used Retin for very severe acne. It was looking more like a fungal infection than acne. Retnin initially made it worse but now after 7 months, clear skin but one blemish, that is still peeling away! AND no wrinkles. I stopped using it once my tube ran out and no regression. Its been 3 months of so. I have ordered a refill and will continue treating my skin to prevent any maladies for the future. When I started the treatment my skin got a lot worse before it got better. Im happy I sustained. I did refuse to leave my house MANY MANY times. I thought I had made a mystake. But now, I see it was well worth it. I have my face back. I also switched to mineral make up and change all of my brushes pre Retnin. Hope it helps.

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In my review I talked about how adding Doxycycline to my regime of Retin-A was the missing ingredient, and that the two together have solved my skin. I'll never stop the Retin-A and am hoping that as I wean myself off Doxy the benefits will continue.
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Many things have been mentioned here. For acne, the best thing for most folks with moderate to severe acne seems to be minocycline. None of the things folks mentioned in here cleared up own acne. Retin A can be used to improve overall texture of skin, but you have to be cautious with it and mess around with it, until you find the strength, prep, and frequency of use that will work for you. Differin can help, and so can Tazorac, and so can other stuff, but with my sensitive skin, Tazorac was usually harmful to my skin. Differin worked as a secondary help. But, minocycline worked across the board - and I had terrible acne because of hormonal flareups. It was the only thing that worked and from talking with many of my high school students over the years, I have found that to be the case with them too. In an extreme case, you could go with Accutane for a limited period, but unless NOTHING else works, I'd stay far away from that stuff because of all the nasty side effects. Btw, many of these topicals work in different ways with the skin, so it is important to know what your prob is. For example, do you have thicker skin? Differin can be more effective in that particular case.
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Wish there was a way to edit my response - can't find it if there is. So, I meant to say that none of the stuff folks mentioned in here had cleared up MY own acne.
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I've never heard of minocycline. I'll look it up. I used to use Differin, but it stopped working after around 5 years of use. It worked pretty well prior to that. I'm not sure if I have thick skin, how can I tell? Right now I'm thinking I have Rosacea, which can cause acne. I'm going to try some treatments for Rosacea along with the Retin-A and see how that goes. Thanks for your help!!
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Maybe try low dose like 10 mg of accutane (isotretinoin). It works for both acne and rosacea. If you do a low dose like 10 mg, then your side effects shouldn't be too bad.
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also, I am on tazorac .1% gel and found it much better than retin-a. I don't get any blackheads anymore at all (I never got zits). I don't know any good dermatologists in the area, and I got it from my regular doctor in Redding. I saw Dr. Lipper in Danbury years ago and he was fine.
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were u prescribed the cream or gel? are you ewearing makeup in the daytime? im on week 3 and my skin is purging like crazy!..im pretty sure my acne is hormonal too because i breakout mainly on my cheeks and jawline
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I was prescribed the cream, 0.1% Micro. I do wear make up in the day time; powder and concealer, but they are non-comedogenic so shouldn't be causing clogged pores. Good luck with the purging process---it's no fun. Hopefully you'll see results soon.
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it took me 3 months to actually see improvement
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That's encouraging...about to post an update.
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So are you going to drink a ton more now that you know it won't affect your skin?!! ;) I'm glad you let us know it turned out ok. Its really pretty awesome that you didn't get a breakout after sleeping in your makeup! I won't even nap with mine on anymore, because it just inevitably makes a disaster out of my skin. Glad things are going well for you!

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I think .05 would probably be better for you. .1 is not too much more effective than .05 and is far more irritating. Go for the .05 cream as that way you won't need to use a moisturizer at night when you apply as the base itself is moisturizing.

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Interesting, maybe I should call my doc and see what she thinks. My skin seems to have calmed down a little, at least.
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Interesting what you noticed about drinking & your skin. I'll be curious to hear if you continue to notice a correlation between them. 

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Yeah, I think it may also have to do with my skin quality/tone. My family background is entirely British Isles (Welsh, Scottish and English), and some people in my family get redness/Rosacea which I have heard is exacerbated by alcohol. Lucky me. haha
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Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry your roommate made a rude comment. Those little comments, even if the person saying them doesn't realize it, can dig in pretty deep. I'm trying to think the best of her, and that she really just didn't realize what she was saying...but I'd still appreciate it if you would give her a good, hard pinch for me. ;)

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I continue to sympathize with you, and very much hope your skin starts to turn around as you get into your 4th & 6th week. Finger crossed!!

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Sorry to hear about the little breakout. :-/

Yes, please keep updating - I know your review will help many people considering/starting Retin-A to know what to expect. You are doing a great job of taking us through the experience with you. So appreciated!!

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hey im scared to use retin A because well as a high school student,(guy) its embarrasing & i dont know if i should. i just broke out today. two medium sized ones on my forehead and i hate them , i need help pleasee ! & motivation as well :(
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umnomnomnom, have you visited a dermatologist about your breakouts? That would be the first step. They may recommend Retin-A, or something else entirely depending on what they think the cause of the acne is. I would definitely encourage you to make an appointment, that way you could hear what your options are and have an expert to guide you.

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I agree with Megan, have you talked to a doctor? Express your concerns, they're there to help you. If you already have, there's no shame in going in for a follow-up to discuss your issues. Good luck.
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Hey. I'm sorry to hear you have had such a hard time with your skin issues. I am 31 and have had bad acne since I was 8. 8!!! I felt like I had tried everything over the years. I have used Difirin and Renova too. Renovation works great for me, but my skin would never stop peeling, even when moisturizing per manufacturer. Last month I came across the oil cleansing method online. I figured "What the heck...I've tried everything else" The science seemed sound to me, so I started. No joke, one month later-my skin has never looked better!!! No more acne and my skin glows. I finally have that luminous skin that all the cosmetic companies promise but never deliver. I do still have blackheads on my nose and chin, but there are fewer and they seem smaller than ever:-) I don't know if they'll completely go away or not, but time will tell. Anyway, google "oil cleansing method face" and read about it. See if it sounds reasonable for you. I totally understand how hopeless it can feel haveing bad skin, so hopefully what worked for me could give you some hope:-) Seriously, for the first time since I was 14 I went out in public without makeup on. I've not worn any foundation in a week. So liberating!
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