Turning 30 & Starting an Anti-aging Routine, Got Rid of Blackheads Instead! - Pittsburgh, PA

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I purchased generic Retin-A cream (tretinoin made...

I purchased generic Retin-A cream (tretinoin made by Johnson & Johnson) in the .05% strength. My reason for starting this medicine to kick off an anti-aging routine.

BACKGROUND: I have used the tanning bed in the past and was a flight attendant for six years. Other than some fine crows feet and the muscle between my eyebrows (which I get Botox for), my skin is still in pretty good shape. The only problem is very resistant blackheads on the nose and chin that never go away. I extract them daily, but they are never-ending and only get slightly smoother with salicylic acid/washing.

SIDE EFFECTS: In terms of side effects, there has been minimal flaking and no redness from the cream. In fact, it feels moisturized. However, it does feel tight a few hours after application at night.

RESULTS: Within three days of using Retin-A, the blackheads are almost entirely gone. The pores on the nose and chin are smooth now. I continue to extract any that can be removed without irritation, but no new ones are forming for the first time ever. The rest of my skin does not show changes yet, but I will update at three months and again at six months.


In my first post, I was not getting any of the nasty side effects of Retin-A. I spoke too soon! During the second week, the side effects began. I got red, thick scale-like patches around the mouth area. The under eye area got wrinkled and added 20 years to my face. It was nearly impossible to wear makeup because it emphasized the flaking and wrinkling. However, I am six weeks into use, and those side effects have lessened.
I decided to step down to the .025 strength gel, and it has been great. I can use it nightly without needing a break. I still experience micro-peeling, some redness, and extra lines under the eyes. However, it is gentle enough to be applied to under eye skin every two or three days whereas the .05 cream was really harsh for that area.
There are two things I wanted to mention. One is the BURNING! When I applied very mild Cerave moisturizer or even just cocoa butter, an intense and unbearable stinging/burning made it very painful for about 5 minutes.
The second thing is that I was applying too much Retin-A. I thought a pea-sized amount simply could not cover my face. IT CAN, but you have to dab it all over the face then rub it in. You want it to touch all of your skin, not smother it like a moisturizer would. This seems simple and is what I was told to do in the first place, but I just didn't listen. Once I started using less of the product, the burning and scaly dryness mentioned above lessened greatly.
Also, in regards to gel vs. cream, I LOVE the gel. It practically melts across the skin and spreads much easier than the comedogenic cream.
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