Thursday, 19 April 2012

Battling Acne: Retin-A Review

My trial-sized Retin-A's from my Doctor
When I was a teenager, I suffered from mild acne. I would get occasional deep bumps on my chin or nose area that would swell up and eventually, they would either go away or I would pop them if possible. I have a terrible skin picking habit. I know its bad, but I literally feel compelled to pick at my skin. I cannot help myself. I have made lots of 'goals' to stop picking but I can't seem to stick to it. I know it's a gross and harmful habit. I wish I could stop myself. 
My skin cleared up fairly nicely in my early 20's. I didn't even need foundation or concealer- I just used powder to keep shine away. At the start of 2011 I went off my birth control; I had been on it from the age of 17. I believe that going off the pill somehow triggered my hormones, and they went crazy. My skin erupted terribly in May 2011. Like, constant cystic acne all over my chin, as many as 10 painful lumps at a time. My self-esteem disappeared. I felt so insecure that I wanted to call in sick to work every day. I always felt like everyone was staring at my disgusting skin. It was confined to my chin area. If it was everywhere else too, it would've been even harder to deal with.
I spent a TON of money trying different face washes, acne treatments, masks- you name it. However, I know now that what causes acne is internal, and topical treatments can only mitigate acne once it's formed, not stop it from forming altogether. 
I still have bad skin. It is embarrassing at my age. I notice that most females in my age-range do not suffer from the persistent acne I have. I wonder to myself, "why me?" but I do not want to go back on birth control. What's worse is that it also affects my body: my back is covered in marks and scars now. It would be hard for me to wear an open-backed dress now, and yet I used to do that without a second thought. 
I went into my doctors office to ask for a birth control prescription back in February 2012 for my acne because I was getting desperate. The acne was NOT going away and it was killing my self-worth. I left with a bunch of trial-sized retin-A tubes to try out. I had already tried another topical treatment which stopped working, and I had already been on antibiotics which did take away my acne, but as soon as I stopped taking them, it came back full-force. I did not want to be on antibiotics long-term. Retin-A sounded like it could work for me- what did I have to lose? It has minimal side-effects. I read a ton of reviews online, some good, some bad. 
My prescription filled: 20g of Retin-A
I started applying retin-A every other night before bed in a very thin layer just on my chin. I had heard it could be very irritating and drying, so I wanted to ease into using it. My acne immediately started to heal much faster, my scarring slowly getting lighter, and I quickly began using it every night before bed.
I find this product to work very well. It is very drying, so I moisturize more and exfoliate more. However, this product makes my acne heal 2-3 times faster than it was healing on its own with tea tree oil, BP or salicylic acid. I have read online that retin-A can also be used to treat wrinkles and red stretch marks. It is a tretinoin; it causes the skins outer layer to grow more rapidly and to be replaced with new skin cells which can help reduce the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and other acne. If you want to know more about it, google will give you tons of information. I just wanted to share my success story so that if anyone else out there is suffering, they can try it too. You will need a prescription from a doctor, however. 
My 20g tube of Retin-A
Retin-A is fairly cheap if you have to pay for your own prescriptions. A little goes a long way because you are only supposed to apply a thin layer to avoid aggravating your skin. My tube should last me up to 6 months, and it only cost $25.00. This is a heck of a lot cheaper than all the store-bought acne remedies I've been splurging on! I still have acne- it is still coming in on the daily! But it heals faster, and I am having less breakouts as days go by. I hope that with long-term use, this will curb my constant breakouts. I will never take clear skin for granted again! Retin-A comes in various strengths, and it also comes in two forms: gel and cream. If you want to try it out, talk with your doctor about which prescription might be right for you. People with very sensitive skin might not find Retin-A to be a good solution as it can be very aggravating; luckily I have not suffered any side-effects except for dry skin.
Any there any other acne sufferers in their 20's out there? I'd love to hear success stories and product suggestions from you. 
--S

28 comments:

  1. I started getting cystic ance when I turned 20. I would always have 1-2 really bad cystic breakout at all times, and most of them would pop up the week after my period and last for WEEKS...they would appear all over my face (not confined to one specific area)

    Taking a high-quality cod liver oil daily actually made the cyctic breakouts completely go away for me. Retin-A is a form of Vitamin A, which helps in the process for good skin....Cod liver oil also contains Vitamin A, only you take it internally...I did a lot of research online and decided, why not? It can't hurt, and its no more expencive than all these other lotions and potions I've been buying!

    I highly suggest starting HERE:

    http://beautyeditor.ca/2010/09/02/the-single-best-product-evah-for-your-skin-is-not-in-fact-an-actual-skincare-product/

    This is the article that made me discover it.

    Sorry for sounding like an infomercial...It just really did help me :)

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    1. I should also mention, that it is something that I need to be taking ongoing every day. If I forget to take it for a few days (if I'm away for a weekend, or just get lazy) I notice that I will start breaking out. But once I go back on it my skin clears up right away. Also...I still get small whiteheads/black heads, but I dont care about those...they are small and last a day. Also, it took me about 2 months of taking this before I saw long-term results!

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    2. what brand do you buy, Courtney?

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    3. I get the Carlson one in the bottle, It's $50 at Whole Foods, and lasts at least 2 months. I've ordered the one that she recommends on the post, but I dont see any difference in the two...and the Carlson is WAY cheaper and lasts twice as long. Its also lemon flavoured so its not bad at all taking it :)

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    4. I bought a 300 capsule bottle by Carlson. I am scared of taking the oil straight, I'm a big baby. Its on its way to me, I cannot wait to give it a go!

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    5. woooo!! Yeah, I started on capsules as well! Just be sure to take enough...when I first started I wasnt taking enough and it took some trial and error. Not sure what the concentration is of the ones you got, but I take 2 teaspoons of the liquid stuff a day (one morning, one night) :)

      Really, really, hope it helps you! xoxo

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    6. once I get them I will post about it, I would love you to let me know how many capsules you think I'll need to take!

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I didn't get much acne on my face, it was on my shoulders and chest. I ended up on birth control and that seemed to make it go away. I am terrified to go off it. I am afraid it will come back full force.

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    Replies
    1. I got a prescription for birth control, and I filled 3 months of it. I am scared to take it though. I like my body to have its natural rhythms. However, if my acne doesn't clear up I may go back on it.

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  3. Great review. I barely went through any issues with acne as a teenager, but in my 20's I noticed I was breaking out quite a bit. The only thing I tried out of the ordinary was Proactive (I got sucked in with their infommercial). After using it for a few weeks my skin cleared up. I've been using it ever since (not religiously, but I quite like the scrub and toner) and my acne has been kept at bay. If I don't use the products for a few days I notice that I start to break out again.

    Recently I've started using a cheap charcoal face mask (it's $2/bottle from a Japanese department store) and I've noticed my skin feels even better and I've gotten even less acne. I'm not sure if this would help you since my acne is probably more likely caused by clogged pores these days.

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    Replies
    1. I would love if you did review on this cheap mask! I have heard proactiv works great for some people, but I've never thought to try it. I believe its BP based?

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    2. I did do a review..buut..keep in mind it's just a $2/bottle mask. So if you were to get it I'd test it out on a patch of skin first before using it on your entire face. http://slightly0bsessed.blogspot.ca/2012/03/revew-daiso-charcoal-mask.html

      As for Proactive - I think it was just the fact that there was a scrub, toner AND moisturizer that did the trick. I'm sure if I used another scrub and toner it would have given me the same results (what can I say, I'm lazy and before that I just used a face cleanser).

      In the past I've known some friends to have taken pills for their acne. It wasn't birth control, but actual medication.

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  4. Just stumbled on this post, and I am soo happy I did! Honestly I've always had blemish prone skin, it's on and off but I hate the scarring that comes afterwards! I don't have cystic acne but either which way it still a pain and bothersome. Now that summers here I don't want to wear foundation/concealer everyday but I hate going out without it. My aunt told me about the Retin -A, I am super glad it worked for you in combo with the Cod Liver. I will see if I can get it the next time I pay a visit to the doctor:) Thanks soo much for this post, I love how you shared with others who can benefit <3
    xo

    P.S) Is Lush's Grease Lightening a good spot treatment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sabina, definitely try retin-A. It is a great product which I still put on my chin every single night. I have not had a huge breakout in a month now (which is crazy for me! I usually always have at least one cystic acne on my chin) and I credit it to retin-A and cod liver oil.
      LUSH's spot treatment is crap IMO. I did a review on it on my blog. It didn't work for me AT ALL!

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    2. Ohh haha I am going to find that review! I want both the Retin -A and the Proactive Mask. I think what's a downer for me is even when I'm clear the scarring gives off this appearance that I have active breakouts..my face is doing good but I would love to use these items for preventative measures.

      Thanks again Steph:)

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  5. HI! Love your blog! Could you please tell me how soon you started seeing results both with retin A and the cod liver oil. and also, did you initially break out and did your skin get worse before it got better?

    Thanx n keep up the good work!

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I apologize for the delayed response here!!

      with retin-A the results were immediately noticed. With Cod Liver Oil, I noticed after about a month of usage. I did not have an initial purge with retin-A although I have heard of others who did. Luckily for me, that didn't happen!

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  6. Great post :) I have a similar story I went through most of my 20's to my 30's with great skin! I took it for granted b/c I had acne as a teenager and just assumed I was over it. I'm 34 now an a little over a year ago I started breaking out again - BADLY and I still haven't found a solution :( I can't take cod liver oil b/c I did a food intolerance test and I'm highly intolerant to cod so unfortunately that's not an option for me. I have Retin A too but yes it was really drying and peeled my skin so I stopped for a while b/c I had an event coming up so I didn't want my makeup flaking off (eww!) but I'm starting to use it again. My naturopath suggested to use it on top of a good serum and moisturizer to minimize the drying and peeling effects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes with retin-A you have to make sure you moisturize the areas! I moisturize at least once a day, sometimes twice on my chin area. I also use a great exfoliator (LUSH Ocean Salt) to keep dry skin flakies away. The more I use retin-A, the less my skin flakes from it though. It seems to be getting used to it :)
      I would also suggest checking out Apple Cider Vinegar as a natural daily supplement if you can't use cod liver oil! I have heard great things about it and I want to start taking it myself !!

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Check out www.proactivclear.ca for an EXCLUSIVE Proactiv offer!

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  9. I have mild acne and normal-to-dry skin. I wash my face twice a day daily but that doesn't seem to get rid of the few zits/black heads. Help me! under skin pimple

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  10. I have lots of acne. I want something that will prevent pimples all together & keep my skin from getting dry and flaky.Thanks. cure for pimples

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you must try tretinoin cream. it is my experience that i had severe acne situation was worst one of my friend suggested tretinoin cream eventually.
      and miracle happened acne disappeared in 2 months can you believe it?

      refer below for more info:
      http://www.generic-cialis-rx.com/Tretinoin.html

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  11. Hi sweetie,

    I'm very interested of using this product. Will you please tell me where a lady can get it? Hahahah My last resort would be to go to the doctor to get a prescription here in Canada (they will usually say I don't need it but I believe in early prevention of aging!!) Please email me @liz_zyle05@hotmail.com Thank you ^_^

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  12. And I don't know much about retinoids, but Retin-A and Tanzorac are both for the treatment of wrinkles and other skin conditions. They're for spot treatment only and having used both, I wouldn't use either around my eyes.

    I use Lady Soma's Renewal Serum. It's amazing. I've run out and need to get some more and since running out I've noticed a difference in the suppleness and softness of my eye area. Its seems to have smoothed out the wrinkles, and made my skin tone even. Love it!

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  13. The best skin inflammation treatment for your particular instance of pimple inflamation is to be picked consistent with your skin sort by giving careful consideration to all the Acne treatment delhi in the market.

    ReplyDelete
  14. FYI my dermo said NEVER do cod liver oil and retin-A together. It can lead to vitamin-A overdose and could cause imbalances for vitamin D which protects brain function, etc. Hair loss sometimes happen as well with the amount of vitamin A CLO manufacturers recommend.

    My derm recommended retin-A only cuz the CLO ratio of A:D is generally imbalanced and hard to get right :(

    an article I ran into: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/23/important-cod-liver-oil-update.aspx

    ReplyDelete

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