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About Retin-a

If you've used Retin-A, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Discoloration
Date: 11/12/2008
A few years ago my daughter used Retin A for pimples. I urged her to stop using it. A week later she called from college crying b/c it had burned one of her jaws. She now has discolored cheeks. I took her to several dermatologists who said they did not see anything and now it is really noticeable. Is there any help for this discoloration? She is a pretty young woman now with very noticeable dark discolored areas where the cheek bone are. I am very concerned. She tries not to let it upset her too much. Thank you in advance.

AskDocWeb: It seems strange that several dermatologists said they did not see anything. However, since it is now noticeable it may be time to consult another dermatologist.

Subj: Thinking about a TCA peel
Date: 11/12/2008
I have started using retin-a for acne and dark spots covering my face. I used bleaching cream for two months that didn't work. I'm thinking about a TCA peel. But I'm wandering if the retin-a will give the same results anyway.

AskDocWeb: That is unlikely although Retin-A is sometimes used to pre-treat the skin before a TCA (Trichloroacetic acid) peel. This thins out the skin's surface layer allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. You may have to spend a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before your doctor will schedule the peel.

Subj: Hair removal cream?
Date: 11/18/2008
I use a hair removal cream on my upper lip and chin which works very well. I have just been prescirbed Retin A Cream 0.05% for wrinkles. It is a problem to continue using the hair removal cream?

AskDocWeb: Please consult with a dermatologist before using any other products with Retin-A. It's not unusual to have problems with chemical hair removers while using Retin-A. In general, that is not recommended.

Subj: Scarring?
Date: 11/18/2008
I recently had Gamma Knife radiation for a benign brain tumor. My face felt very tight following the radiation and it was hard to smile and raise my eyebrows. It was if I had edema. Also, my scalp was quite red and itchy. Two months later, after taking a round of Doxycline, then followed by a Medrol Dosepak, I suddenly had scarring and pitting on my face. At no time did I have any visible signs of any rash or breakouts proceeding the scarring and pitting. My physicians do not know why. I was advised by the dermatologist to try Retin A mixed with Oil of Olay Regenerist. Would this be too harsh for my face? Has Retin-A ever caused further scarring? I am 47 years old with very thin, fair skin. I have not used Retin A since my twenties. By the way, I am been diagnosed with lupus and then later psoriatic arthritis.

AskDocWeb: While it works well for some people, others report that they can't use Oil of Olay while using Retin-A. If your dermatologist thinks it is okay then give it a try but read the directions, additional scarring may arise from improper use.

Subj: Neurotoxic?
Date: 11/18/2008
I have been using a retin-a face cream product for about 15 years. During those 15 years I have suffered with depression, an inability to concentrate and memory loss. I was on anti-depressants that never helped. I finally discovered myself that retin-a was neurotoxic and had caused all of these symptoms.

AskDocWeb: Most of the literature suggests that oral retin A can be associated with neurotoxicity. The link with the topical Retin-A is less well established but does seem possible.

Subj: Medium to deep facial lines
Date: 11/20/2008
What are the results of useing retin-a on medium to deep facial lines?

AskDocWeb: Reports have been pretty positive on using Retin-A for small to medium facial lines and even deep wrinkles are softened.

Subj: Elevated liver enzymes?
Date: 11/20/2008
Could Retna A cause elevated liver enzymes?

AskDocWeb: There have been several reports of elevated liver enzymes while using Retin-A. They also reported that their liver tests returned to normal upon discontinuing.

Subj: How long to clear up moderate acne?
Date: 11/26/2008
Hey I just started using Retin A. I am using the .025 cream. It hasn't done anything much except make me peel, but I know it works in stages. I also know it will take a while. How many weeks would I have to wait to clear up moderate acne? (Just an estimate) Thank-you!

AskDocWeb: You should begin to notice results after 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. More than 6 or 7 weeks of treatment may be needed before consistent beneficial effects appear.

Subj: Sun exposure
Date: 11/27/2008
I am 41 and have just recently started retin-a .o5 to manage minor crows feet around the eyes, lips, mouth and the brow furrow. I also use it on my neck chest and stomach (stretch marks). I use it vary sparingly and usually only on the spots neccesary not the whole face...I haven't had any adverse reaction yet! I am wondering, tough, how long prior to sun exposure should I stop treatment? And I it ok to stop and start treatment i.e.: seasonally? I do love the sun but live is a typically nothern area.
Will be in the sun

AskDocWeb: When Retin-A is discontinued it may take up to a month or more for the upper layers of skin to lose that extra sensitivity to UV rays. Those who use Retin-A seasonally are still likely to retain the underlying structural changes beneficial in the skin.

Subj: SEVERE dry eye syndrome
Date: 12/6/2008
I'd like to know if Retin A has any side effects that deal with SEVERE dry eye syndrome. My opthamologist has told me I need to stop the Retin A, but my dermatologist told me that there is no connection. I would LOVE to hear your take on this contradiction of opinions between my doctors. Thank You!

AskDocWeb: Your ophthalmologist and dermatologist are both specialists but in different areas. While the dermatologist deals with skin conditions, the ophthalmologist is a specialist in treating eye conditions and diseases, and that's what you need in the case of dry eye syndrome.

Medications may be responsible for more than half of all cases of dry eyes. The list includes sleeping pills, birth control pills, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, opiate-derivative pain relievers such as morphine, diuretic medications for high blood pressure, and yes, even isotretinoin-type drugs used in the treatment of acne.

Of course there are many other things that can cause dry eye syndrome. The natural aging of tear glands, extended use of contact lens, environmental pollutants, refractive surgery, auto immune diseases, and nutrient deficiencies can also cause dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes can also be symptomatic of some diseases such as lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome.

Subj: Still breaking out
Date: 12/8/2008
I am on my 7th or 8th week of treatment and I am still breaking out. Is this normal?

AskDocWeb: No, consistent beneficial effects should have been seen by the 6th or 7th week of treatment. Since that is not the case, we would take that as a sign to check back with your doctor.

Subj: How does Retin-A produce collagen
Date: 12/20/2008
I've read that Retin A or Renova reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. Is this true? If so, how does the process work and is it necessary to use Retin A on a regular basis to maintain the level of collagen production? It almost sounds to good to be true. Very interesed in your feedback!

AskDocWeb: It's true, the production of collagen is stimulated by Renova and Retin-A but this happens slowly over several weeks. The benefits last for a while after discontinuing but to keep the benefit you have to keep using it. Retin-A speeds up the natural exfoliation process and the new cells produce collagen in response to this process.

Subj: Use a moisturizer
Date: 12/25/2008
Hello actually I'm using Riten A for maybe about 1 year now and it really helped me to improve my skin I mix the Riten-A with the elodoquin. When I first start using it my skin get little red and all that but now my skin get used to it and it doesn't turn to red. I think using the Riten-a with the eldoquin every night before going to the bed will really help to improve you skin but you should use a moisturizing in the morning because the Riten-a will dry your skin ..

Subj: Marked improvement
Date: 12/30/2008
I have started to use Retin-a to control my adult acne. The first three weeks were horrible. Now in my fourth week there is a marked improvement in my skin's texture and my breakouts have begun to disappear. YAAY!!

Subj: Using too much Retin-A?
Date: 12/30/2008
Are there any side effects from using too much Retin-A other than dry skin? Can too much be harmful?

AskDocWeb: Using too much of almost anything can be harmful. Those who have used too much Retin-A have reported red, swollen, peeling skin that feels like a burn and resembles a chemical peel.

Subj: It really works
Date: 1/1/2009
I have used retin-a for over a week now and see a big difference. My whole face was covered and at first it caused redness and dryness of the affected areas. Now it's going away it's like a miracle. It really works.

Subj: Alternate between Retin-A and benzoyl peroxide?
Date: 1/3/2009
Do u always initially break out with retina a? Can I alternate between retina a and benzoyl peroxide cream on different days? I only have a few comodones which have been there for ages and some red marks from pimples which take ages to disappear. Thank you,

AskDocWeb: This is one of those combinations that you should check with your doctor before trying to avoid possible complications.

Subj: Skin that glows
Date: 1/4/2009
Retin-A is the most effective --and cost-effective-- product you can for your skin. I have used Retin-A for 20 years, on and off. I am now 40 and am routinely mistaken for a decade younger. My skin looks like that of a 28-year old. Retin-A is the most significant breakthrough in anti-aging technology that you can get in a tube. After sunblock, it is the most important thing you can do for your face.
Please remember the following: Retin-A is a chemical. Every time you use it, it is like giving yourself a mild chemical peel. Use it sparingly and find a balance between getting a nice rosy glow and tipping over into irritation and redness. Use a small amount: no more than three small peas per face. You should see a whitish cast on the skin, especially with the micro version. After it's on for about 3 minutes, gently pat moisturizer on. Don't rub it in. Start using it every few days, then work up to every other day then if your skin can take it, every day. If at any point you are becoming too irritated, just stop and wait and start again a few days later. You don't have to use it every day for it to be effective.

I now use it about one week a month. I use it 4 or 5 days in a row till my skin gets a nice glow and then stop before it becomes too irritated. It's one part of an ongoing maintenance routine. You need to remember this is a long term investment in your skin. This is not like some olay product from cvs that you can slather on your face on Tuesday, then wake up on Friday hoping you'll look good for the weekend. It doesn't work that way. Using Retin-A is a continual (for some, life long) process of sloughing off dead skin cells and constantly achieving a process of cell turnover that mimics that of young skin. It helps your skin "behave" differently.

If you don't respect the seriousness of the drug and what it's doing, you will be disappointed. You must wear sunscreen. If you seek a tan and don't religiously wear spf 30, don't even bother with the retin-a; you won't be happy. But if you are willing to make a commitment to use it responsibly and diligently and put up with a little redness and avoid the sun, you will be rewarded with skin that glows for decades to come.

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