Retin A is turning my face into a desert!!!

Retin A is drying out my skin sooo much. Is this a good thing? It’s turning my skin so dry, it’s actually looking wrinkly and flakes like beeatch. Does that mean it’s working? So I continue to use it? And I’m only using the 0.025%, not the 0.1%.

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18 thoughts on “Retin A is turning my face into a desert!!!

  1. Jim,
    That’s 1/2 the strength I am using! 😮

    How often do you apply it?

    Are you doing anything to remove the flakes on a daily basis?

    Do you have any shallow scars?
    Solomio

  2. ok i’m gonna get flak for this but i just got retin a last friday and it’s 1.0%. i like to think i’ve got a tuff face. it’s not too dry, but i’m breaking out a bit, nothing i can’t handle i guess. i really hope it works. i’m using polysporin on the really dry parts at night and its doing ok. i’ve got my fingers crossed on this stuff…yeah!!! i’m applying the retin a all over at night time, is that ok? well except for underneath my nose and around my eyes and stuff.

  3. Do you mean 0.1%? I have retin a micro also and it’s 0.1%, not 1.0%. I wasn’t aware they make a 1.0% gel, that seems pretty strong doesnt it?

    Solomio,

    I apply is once a night, after my moisturizer. I heard you say not to use moisturizer when you put on retin, but my skin is sooo dry, I have to. I do remove the flakes every morning and night, basically by wetting a towel and rubbing them off. I know it’s pretty harsh and leaves my skin real red, but I don’t know how better to do it. It still leaves me flaky. After I eat something and my skin has been moving a lot, it’s all flaked up again. It’s pretty bad, not only that but my skin is also so dry and tight that it wrinkles up, and you can clearly see how I have acne and extremely dry skin.

    I do have shallow scars, but my acne is so bad, that you can not see them. The only reason I know I have shallow scars is from when my face cleared for the 2 weeks, I could clearly see them. But hopfeully they’re nothing a little laser can’t help when my acne clears (or should I say IF)

    My skins is already so dry even before retin a, that I have to soak it in moisturizer for like 10 minutes and then wipe off the excess just to make it look half way ‘moist’. Now even doing that doesn’t help because of the retin a.

    I hate to quite using retin a so early, as I have faith in it. I can tell it’s somewhat working. On the areas off the sides of my nose, used to be real red, and after 4-5 days of retin, the redness is gone and my skin looks healthy. Although I never got acne there (maybe 1-2 a month) just had some redness.

    Oh, also my severe dryness is only on my chin where my severe acne is, the rest of my face can handle the retin fine.

  4. Oh Solomio, I wanted to ask, what’s a good method to removing this flaking dead/dry skin? Isn’t that what microdermabrasion does? Are there any home microderm products? I have no idea what true microdermabrasion is, but is there some home electronic device (is microderm electronic? no clue here) that would help me?

    Now is this flaky skin dead skin that I should remove, or is it scab like skin or new skin that is healthy in healing my face? Is it best to remove it or leave it?

    oh, oh, oh, this reminds me of something that occured prior to my two week “clear” period. I’m going to add a reply to that post, if your interested.

    Thanks

  5. jim, I used retin A for a few yrs. Can’t say I liked it. It DID clear my zits, but it kept my face red for 2 yrs and people were always asking what happened to my face. So I figured the red was just as bad as having zits and quit. BUT, you may not stay red- its “supposed” to subside. Anyway, do NOT rub the flakes off w a rough towel- you’re making your face more likely to break-out, but worse- scrubbing the flaky skin off like that can scar you. You may not see it now, but it can create that orange-peel type of skin later. I was told to do this: apply it every other night if the flaking got too bad and to moisturize in the morning to flatten the flakiness. My son is currently using Tazorac and the red & flaky is so bad that he’s only using it 3 nights a wk and has stopped other topicals and washing only w a very mild soap- Purpose. The Acne.org regimen is great advice for how to wash sensitive skin -leave off the BP of course.

  6. the flakes means its working. retin a is basically the topical version of accutane. retin a peels the layers of your skin. so extreme flaking is common. i am using it for about a month now and i havnt have flaking just dry skin. but i have used to many products my face isnt sensitive at all anymore.

  7. the flakes means its working. retin a is basically the topical version of accutane. retin a peels the layers of your skin. so extreme flaking is common. i am using it for about a month now and i havnt have flaking just dry skin. but i have used to many products my face isnt sensitive at all anymore.

  8. Jim, I’m on 0.1% Retin A Micro, which is much better than regular Retin A as Retin A has a very strong pore clogging ingredient, which is why a lot of people break out when on it.

    What you should do is put on Retin A *FIRST*, then 20-30 minutes later massage some jojoba oil into your skin, which is non pore clogging and very good for acne. That’s what I do, except I combine jojoba oil and emu oil, which is a fantastic combination.

    Also, if you are that sensitive, you should have started out on the weakest solution possible, and worked up. You could always go to every other night application. But in all honesty, these ignorent derms don’t even understand that isopropyl palmitate is one of the worst pore cloggers around, and to give the micro version to people with acne. If I were you, if you continue to break out, you should go to your derm and tell him to switch you to Retin A Micro .04%, then work up when you can to the strongest version. That way it’s not such a shock to your skin, and you’re not clogging your pores and making your acne worse. Regular Retin A broke me out horribly, but micro didn’t at all.

  9. Jim,
    First things first, Since you are having a problem right now you should give your skin a rest for a couple of days, and stay away from using Retin-A until all the excessive dryness and redness goes away.

    Denise gave you some good advise when she recommended you put jojoba oil OVER Retin-A for the excessive dryness and redness you are experiencing. BUT first you must be sure that your skin is completely dry before you first apply Retin-A at night.

    I had a similar experience when I applied Retin-A on damp skin.
    At first I did not understand what was going on. I thought that my sun-block had somehow failed and some sun had reached my skin! But this was NOT what had happened.

    You know when you wash your face you usually apply whatever product you are using on damp skin, most people do this and this is the right thing to do when applying a moisturizer to seal in the moisture. BUT with Retin-A it is the wrong thing to do, at least that is what I learned the ‘hard’ way. Once I let my skin rest for a couple of days and went back to the Retin-A but made sure my skin was bone dry before applying it, I did not have any further problems with redness or super excessive dryness. It was then that I realized what my derm meant when she cautioned me to use the Retin-A by itself, she was really telling me to not use any moisturizer on my skin before I applied Retin-A.

    Just recently I have started applying a thin layer of jojoba to my face about an hour after applying the Retin-A. I have been using RA for almost 6 months now so in that period of time a lot of skin has flaked off and my shallow scars are much less. BUT I am experiencing some dryness now, especially around my eye area so I decided to give jojoba oil a try over RA because oil is very different from water moisture, and I am applying it at least an hour AFTER applying the Retin-A.

    Retin-A cream goes into the skin all at once. It does contain an ingredient that can be troublesome for some people who have acne. This ingredient does not seem to bother me. The gel goes into the skin on a time-released basis. If you think you may be having a problem with the cream causing you to BREAK OUT, you should do as Denise advised, and get yourself the .04 gel. DO NOT START WITH THE HIGH DOSE THAT DENISE IS USING!!!! You must start on a low dose and work your way up to the higher dose otherwise you will have problems like you had when you were using the .1% cream. Just be sure that your skin is bone dry before you apply the medication, and then do as Denise advises, apply the oil to your skin, later in the evening.

    Hopefully this will work for you as it is working for me and you will get rid of both your acne and your shallow scars at the same time.

    Solomio

  10. I buy all my Retin A online, I don’t visit derms anymore, they’re not worth my business. I currently have Retin A micro .1%, and plain retin a .025% & .05%. I am using 0.025% now. After I wash, I do put on moisturizer and then retin a 15 minutes later. I have to use moisturizer, if I don’t my face will badly shrivel up and peel. This true if I go swimming, or just rinse my face. My skin is so messed up, even thick moisturizer for 20 minutes won’t make it temporary hydrated.

    So where can I buy retin a micro .04% online? Also is there anything weaker in the micro form, like maybe .025%? And is there a generic form of the micro (gel)?

  11. Jim, I dont’ know what kind of moisterizer you are using, but that might be part of the problem too, that’s why we recommend jojoba oil. It mimicks skin sebum and helps the pores to not get clogged.

    Again, don’t moisterize FIRST. The Retin A isn’t going to be able to penetrate through another layer of moisture.

    You need to get yourself some PURE jojoba oil; not the pasterized stuff, but the real stuff from the health food store. Read the label and make sure it’s the pure stuff.

    Wash and then wait a half hour, since you seem to be so sensitive. Apply the Retin A, THEN WAIT FOR 15 MINUTES or so, THEN apply the moisterizer.

    If your face is this red and flaky, you are using something way too strong for you.

    I don’t like derms much either, believe me…but ordering stuff online can be way more expensive. But anyway, that’s up to you…..regarding the Retin A micro, it only comes in .04% and .10% with nothing in between. Sorry.

  12. I’m using olay complete moisturizer. Sebum is bad though, yes it keeps your skin hydrated, but it also is the reason I break out. So why would I want to add more fake sebum to my face?

    If I wash, don’t apply moisturizer, wait 30 minutes and then pu ton retin a, I will be sooooo dry. I will already be flaking/peeling dry 30 minutes after I wash, if I don’t moisturize.

    So .025% is too strong for me? That’s like the weakest they make.

  13. Hi Jim; I answered you here:

    I’m using olay complete moisturizer. Sebum is bad though, yes it keeps your skin hydrated, but it also is the reason I break out. So why would I want to add more fake sebum to my face?

    Denise: Nononononoooooo :angel ! You misunerstood me. Jojoba oil, emu oil, and the manuka honey and oil gel are the only things I would put on my face. Jojoba oil is GOOD for acne because it causes the sebum NOT TO HARDEN, thus causing skin cloggage. You’re not adding fake sebum to your face for the purpose of breaking it out, and it’s not “fake sebum”. It mimicks sebum’s properties, mixing with your skin’s own natural sebum, thus preventing breakouts.

    If I wash, don’t apply moisturizer, wait 30 minutes and then pu ton retin a, I will be sooooo dry. I will already be flaking/peeling dry 30 minutes after I wash, if I don’t moisturize.

    Denise: If you’re telling all of us that your skin is so dry inside of 30 minutes that you are flaking and peeling, then Retin A is just too strong for you. The Retin A must and should be put on first to be effective, on completely dry skin. It cannot get past the moisture barrier of the moisterizer. This is very important.

    So .025% is too strong for me? That’s like the weakest they make.

    Denise: It sounds like it. If you are bound and determined to use it, you should try every third night and follow the directions we are giving you. Then move up to every second night, etc…..

    It could be too that the regular Retin A is just too much for your skin. I don’t know. That’s something you’ll have to see for yourself.

  14. No, what I meant was if I wash and don’t moisturize my skin will be so dry, no matter if I am using Retin A or not. That’s just how dry it is from the years of various acne treatments. It’s not that dry because of retin a, although that does make it slightly worse.

  15. Thats some great advice Solomio and Denise. I’m using Retin A 0.05% generic version. At first I thought my skin could tolerate it, which surprised me because my skin is ultra sensitive, but then I started to flake about a week into it. Now, I try and use it every other night. I use aloe vera or vitamin e gel on the dry patches. One thing that helped my really dry patches was to mix the vitamin e gel and retin a together, although I don’t know if this was a good idea, but it did help the drying ease. We should start a Retin A Diary post, with this many people using it.

  16. hey i use retin-A micro and it works great, just remember its a chemical peal. So it actually peals off the first layer of skin and your skin will Re-New. Mine gets real flaky some times but screw it, freak works doesent it? you gotta use it as directed by doctor, dont skip any days. And put it on Redmarks,scars,pimples everything that acne has to offer.

  17. i am also using retin a micro, for about a week and a half now. my face is pretty dry in spots but i’m sticking with it. will it always keep my face this dry?? or will it eventually become used to it?

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