Retin-A (tretinoin)

Retin-A has been a gift from God to me.  As mentioned in a previous blog post I have battled with my troubled skin for a very long time (roughly 10 years).  I have tried everything–and I mean everything.  I have tried just about every face wash on the market, birth control pills, minocycline pills (from the dermatologist), and every home remedy that lurks on the internet.  In my travels across the wild, wild web, I have come across Retin-A (tretinoin).  Retin-A has been the only product able to consistently keep my skin clear.  I have used it for roughly two years now. (Below)

What it is: 

Retin-A (tretinoin) is a form of vitamin A in a cream or gel base that aids in skin cell turnover.

What it does: 

When applied, it causes the skin cells to renew themselves at a rapid rate (much faster than they normally would).  When the skin cells renew quickly, it prevents acne causing bacteria from thriving under the skin’s surface as the skin cells are constantly renewing themselves.  This causes shedding of the skin.  When the skin sheds, it reveals new un damaged skin.  This not only helps with acne, but also with wrinkles, age spots, and scars.

Side Effects: 

  • There may be a purging period when you initially start using Retin-A.  This means that your skin will worsen before it gets better.  Everyone’s skin will react differently during this period.  It is essentially removing all of the built up toxins and bacteria in your skin and with that, some acne may occur.  During my initial use of Retin-A, I did not experience purging.
  • Sensitivity to sunlight.  (Wear an SPF, avoid tanning beds and avoid moderate sun exposure)  Now I know there are some people out there that are going to tan anyway, and to that I say: at the very least, cover your face with a hat, towel, SPF foundation, or something of the likes because you will burn if you do not.
  • Excess skin shedding.  The shedding of skin cells is quite normal and while it will help reveal new and undamaged skin, it might not look very pretty for a day or so(exfoliation is key during the shedding process).

More About:

When starting a Retin-A regimen, you will find that it comes in two forms.  A cream base and a gel base.  You will also find that it comes in .5% and 1%.  I started with a cream base .5%.  I was told by my dermatologist to use it every other night and slowly work up to every night.  I did this and my skin responded extremely well.  I then progressed further to the gel base 1%.  The 1% Retin-A is very strong and cannot be used every night or even every other night.  I usually use this [1%] about once or twice a week in order to keep my skin in tip top shape. A last and important note to make is that you need a doctors prescription to get Retin-A.

Final thoughts:

I would highly, highly recommend Retin-A to anyone that is struggling with their skin (acne).  I have been struggling for roughly 10 years with my skin and Retin-A has consistently kept my skin clear of bacteria and acne for the two years I have used it.  While it does wonders for acne, it can also help for wrinkles and age spots alike.  This product is meant to shed the top layers of the skin to reveal healthy, smooth skin right below the surface.  By shedding the top layers, it keeps acne causing bacteria from developing under the skin’s surface.


I am not a doctor, only you and your dermatologist can decide if this treatment is right for you.  I am simply making a review on Retin-A based on my own experiences.

Comment any of your questions below and I will be more than happy to answer them!