Retin a Damage- Enlarged Pores and Orange Peel Texture - New Jersey, NJ

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Hi, I am a 21 year old female who experienced skin...

Hi, I am a 21 year old female who experienced skin damage and inflammation after using retin a. I had consistent clear skin for years due to a natural approach only using honey, aloe and rosehip seed oil on my skin and eating a primarily vegan diet. During the summer I was going through a very stressful time in my life and began to experience some break outs, which now looking back at it were not bad- like at all, but at the time on top of everything else I felt very self conscious about it. I came across retin a and did my research, reading a majority of positive reviews and a few negative ones. The negative reviews did make me question the product, but for every negative review there was usually someone who commented on it saying that they used it wrong or used the wrong percentage. This made me feel confident that if I started with a low percentage and used it correctly I would have great results and I could put this bad skin phase behind me. I called my dermatologist and asked her for 0.25% retin a. I started out slow and tested it on my forehead and chin first because I wasn’t breaking out there and I wanted to see how my skin would react. After a week of doing that without any irritation, redness or peeling I thought it was time to start using it on my cheeks where I had the breakouts. On about September 8-10th ( I forget when exactly) I started using a pea sized amount of retin a on my whole face every third night. Around September 28, after a night of using retin a I woke up to the nightmare I have been living ever since. I had huge pores all over my once virtually pore less face, orange peel texture, extreme oiliness, burning sensations, I could feel my pores (if that even makes sense- similar to when you steam your face and feel your pores opening), tightness on my forehead that felt like the skin on my forehead was being suction cupped to the bone underneath it and indented marks like acne scars that I had never seen before. I became severely depressed and suicidal, crying for hours a day, it was horrible. I became desperate using all kinds or astringents, serums and masks to try and fix this, I felt crazy. I did this for about a month until I came across an old forum where a woman named Chase had retin a damage which greatly improved when she stopped putting anything on her face, only cleansing it twice a day. I also came across another post on Realfself about another woman who only used honey and emu oil on her skin and got amazing results. After realizing that what I was experiencing was inflammation that needed to heal itself, I decided to do the honey and emu oil and see how my skin did. That was only about two to three weeks ago and I feel that my skin has improved a lot since then. For the past week I have been doing the “caveman regimen” where you put nothing on your face at all and have seen the greatest improvement since. The acne marks that had appeared on my face have miraculously disappeared, I no longer get any burning sensation, the pores that used to be all over my face seem to now be just around my nose area and some on my cheeks and I no longer feel the tightness in my forehead. I also think the caveman regimen has gotten rid of any existing acne I had because I no longer experience breakouts at all. When I read those two posts I realized that this damage was from destroying the protective barrier on my skin and causing inflammation. I think the way that I will completely heal my skin is by irritating it as little as possible and by allowing my skin to regenerate on its own. I also have been drinking tons of water and eating pretty healthy. I hope to make a full recovery from this and get back to living my life again. I will keep a log on here to connect with other people who are going through this and update on how my skin is doing/improving over time. I believe that if I can calm the inflammation and get my skin barrier back that my skin will go back to normal, but it will take time.

And for anyone who is considering using retin a I just want to formally advise you not to. I remember reading someone who said something similar when I was first researching retin a and didn’t listen, please don’t make my mistake.

New Year

I haven't updated in a while and I figured that it is about time to do just that! In the past couple of months I can see my skin improving week by week, month by month. It is surely not an overnight process, but it is there.
My skin used to be so oily is was like a slip and slide and up until a little while ago I still experienced more oil production than normal, but that has since gone back to normal. In fact, until going back over my last post I had temporarily forgotten about my oily phase. I think with the production of oil subsiding the oil peel type texture has lessened as well because my skin doesn't seem so shiny/waxy anymore, although my pores are still there. I can see my pores getting smaller, but they are still bigger than they were before using retin a. I am happy to see improvement though because it gives me reassurance that my skin is hard at work to improve itself. I have been taking a few supplements that a women on a form had success with as well. I started taking them a little under a month ago and I do believe that they are contributing to the healing of my skin. Those supplements are Source Naturals Skin Eternal Hylauranic Acid and Source Naturals Skin Eternal with DMAE, Lipolic Acid and C Ester, which I take 2 of each in the morning and 2 at night with food. I also take four capsules of Neocell Marine collagen with HA on an empty stomach in the morning. These supplements were all recommended by someone who had retin a damage for 2 years and started taking these supplements and said her skin went back to normal.
My routine is still not washing my face, just sometimes splashing it with water. Occasionally I will do a honey mask, specifically Manuka honey or put on some rose hip seed oil at night for some hyper pigmentation issues. A lot of times I get in my own head and think that my skin looks way worse than it actually does and then I look in the mirror and am surprised sometimes by how it is improving. Yes, my skin is still not what it was by any means, but I have to get excited about the little things. I am staying positive and trying not to concentrate my energy around negative thoughts, only healing. I hope everyone who is going through this is keeping their head up and seeing improvement.
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