Tretinoin (Retin A)

I went to the dermatologist in April to see what could be done about bumps that had appeared on my face over the past year and never went away. She told me about laser removal and did one for me to see how it worked. She also mentioned Retin A as a possible option. I really did not know a lot about Retin A so I didn’t ask any questions about trying it. I was not pleased with the laser because all it did was make the bump a little flatter but it is still there.  There wasn’t enough of a difference to justify the cost.

My son had the flu at that time so I was home with him for 4 days. That gave me time to research Retin A. I was intrigued by what I read. It is considered the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients. It is proven to regrow collagen which we lose as we age and can minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Over time it gives your face a glow and makes it feel firmer. Tretinoin is the generic name for Retin A and they are often used interchangeably. I decided that I wanted to try this instead of having the laser treatments.  Not only would it be cheaper but it offers more benefits for my skin.

Retin A  was initially developed and prescribed for acne but anti-aging benefits turned out to be a great side effect. It comes in a cream and a gel form. It seems that gel might work better for acne and the cream for dryer skin. Tretinoin comes in strengths from .01% to .1% and from my research you need at least .05% for anti-aging. You may need to start at a lower strength and work your way up. I hope to someday be able to use the .1% strength.

The dermatologist called in a prescription for .05% of tretinoin cream. My insurance would not cover the cost but I found a coupon online. I ended up paying $68 for 45 grams of cream. I have since discovered an online pharmacy where I can buy 60 grams for $30. It is genuine and authentic. It is cheaper in every other country in the world than it is in the US. The 60 grams come in 20-gram tubes rather than in one large tube.

In my research, I saw some amazing results and some horror stories. It is easy to overuse and can wreak havoc on your skin.  It can make it look like you have had a chemical burn. It can cause your skin to peel off in strips. Flaking of the skin is normal and to be expected to a degree. It works by exfoliating the top layers of the face to reveal the fresh, new skin underneath. If you start slowly the flaking will be minimal and manageable.

It is this exfoliation and rapid cell turnover that makes it imperative that you use a good sunscreen every day. Your skin becomes extra vulnerable to the sun and can burn more easily. Even worse, it accelerates photoaging of the face. I have enough problem with dark spots as it is to risk anything to add to it.

The amazing results that I saw are what made me willing to give tretinoin a try. There are many women who looked better a year after starting than they did when they started. Their skin tone was more even. Dark spots were lightened. Fine lines and wrinkles were less noticeable. They had an almost luminous glow to their skin.  The thing to keep in mind is that results do take up to a year to really see. After 3 months most people will see some changes.

The key to using tretinoin is starting slowly. Most people are not able to use it nightly in the beginning. It can be excessively drying and cause heavy flaking. I got a lot of great information from HotandFlashy on You Tube. I developed my plan of action based on the information I got from her.

It is also important to use only a small amount. You only need a pea-sized amount. It doesn’t seem like much but, trust me, it is. Too much can dry your face totally out. Some people have had their face actually crack. This is a serious product and you should do your homework before using it. I don’t think that my dermatologist gave me enough information to prevent negative side effects. It is a good thing that I did my own research.

This post is an overview of tretinoin and how I came to try it. I will write future posts sharing my personal experiences using it.

 

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33 thoughts on “Tretinoin (Retin A)

  1. Good post! I’m 35 (soon to be 36!) and have been using prescription Tretinoin for about 5 months. I’m already seeing some great results and plan to keep using it!! I only apply it every other night and am still on my first tube. I’m lucky because my insurance covers the prescription, so it only costs me $10/tube. Sounds like there are some great deals to be found out there for it, though! I’ve been recommending it to all my friends, but I agree; my dermatologist definitely didn’t give me enough info to help prevent negative side effects, so I’m glad I did my own research, too. 🙂

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    1. Thanks! I used it for 3 months and then stopped for 2 weeks because I went to the beach. I was seeing some positive changes. I have now started back and am looking forward to even more changes in my skin.

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