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About Retin-a

If you've used Retin-A, please help others by sharing your experience with side effects. 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: Affect of sunlight on Retin-A
Date: 6/15/2011
I understand Retin-A makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight. However, if you do wear it during the day, does the sun make the Retin-A ingredients inactive in any way Thank you,
Donna

AskDocWeb: If you followed the directions and applied it at night then the Retin-A has already done its job. There is no data on the affects of sunlight on the effectiveness of Retin-A probably because applying it in the daytime is counter to the directions.


Subj: High liver enzyme levels
Date: 6/16/2011
I have hep c and cystic acne, I was prescribed retin a for the scarring. My last blood work for my liver came back with high enzyme levels. Could this have been caused by the retin a?
Becky

AskDocWeb: Although the product information for Retin-A doesn't mention this, there are several reports from consumers that Retin-A may have been responsible for an elevated level of liver enzymes. Those reports also stated that the level of liver enzymes returned to normal upon discontinuing this medication.


Subj: Which strength of Retin-A?
Date: 6/18/2011
If i was using Retin A 0.025 for 5 weeks and moved up to 0.1 will the break out stage reoccur? I'm talking about the 2nd-3rd week extemre flare ups and break outs.
Vash

AskDocWeb: The 0.1 is four times as strong as 0.025. There is a smaller step in between those two. The 0.05 strength product is only twice as strong as the 0.025. Most of the long time users say they had fewer problems when they took it slow and gradually moved up in potency. The skin really does need time to adjust to Retin-A.


Subj: Dry skin in need of moisturizer
Date: 6/22/2011
My GP recently prescribed Retin-A for my acne scars. I'm 40, so after washing my face in the evening, my skin almost immediately feels dry and in need of moisturiser. How long after applying Retin-A must I wait and can I continue to use my regular moisturiser?
Theresa

AskDocWeb: Successful users generally wait 20 to 30 minutes between applying Retin-A and using another product. However, there is no way to know how or if your moisturizer will interact with the Rein-A. Because people have different skin types there is a certain amount of experimenting required to find one that works well for a specific individual.


Subj: Oily skin and sebaceous hyperplasia bumps
Date: 6/27/2011
I'm a 47 yr old male. I have extremely oily skin and many small sebaceous hyperplasia bumps. I have been using Retin-A .1% for one week now. The SH on the sides of my face have turned from clear to red. They also seem to be surfacing more. I'm hoping that these happenings are part of the eliminating process?
Kevin

AskDocWeb: One of the effects of Retin-A is that it brings areas of inflammation to the surface. When they break the surface they are expelling the toxins and other irritants that cause inflammation. This is usually not a reason to discontinue therapy, but do notify your doctor if it occurs.


Subj: Is alcohol harmful to the skin?
Date: 6/230/2011
I just got a prescription of retin a 0.0125 strength with lanolin cream in it from my dermatologist. Is this the same as 0.025 strength? He also prescribe something called "AV plus gel" which is 95% Aloe vera gel, 1% ectoin or ectoine and viatimin b3. I have not found any information about this produce in the internet. And I was advised to clean my face with alcohol which he prescribed. Is alcohol harmful to the skin when using retin a? Also, I live in Germany and he is a German Derm.
Kim

AskDocWeb: We are not familiar with the AV plus gel so can't comment about that. Hopefully you already know that Retin-a has a drying effect on the skin. Well alcohol also has a drying effect on the skin. The pores respond to this dryness with the production of more oil. If you have oily skin to begin with then that can present a problem. Over time it may even make the poses more noticeable. For most people the adverse effects of using alcohol on the face outweigh the benefits but there are exceptions.


Subj: Can I use oils with Retin-A?
Date: 6/230/2011
I wrote a comment/question earlier. I've been using lavender oil, emu oil, jojoba oil and sesame oil as a moisturizer. The lavender oil I use as a toner, after letting dry for 10 minutes I mix the other oils together and apply to my face. I noticed in just a few weeks my acne started clearing up. Now I'm starting retin a 0.025 at night and would like to know if I can continue the same oil mix routine with lavender oil mornings?
Kim

AskDocWeb: The product information for Retin-A warns against using anything that dries the skin but oil does just the opposite. Most of the reviews about the moisturizing effects of oils are overwhelmingly positive. The oils you mention are not likely to cause problems but citrus oils are another story. The most common citrus based oils are Lemon, Lime, Orange, Mandarin, and Grapefruit. These oils are phototoxic and can increase the risk of skin damage when applied to skin before exposure to sunlight.


Subj: Prescription strength of Retin-A
Date: 7/24/2011
I'm new to Retin-A usage. I've been using Retin-A .25% for about 5 weeks before bed time with good results and little flaking. Should I ask my doctor to increase the prescription strength?
Ruth

AskDocWeb: That depends on whether or not the product is working as well as you think it should and whether or not it is achieving your goals. Did you ask your doctor when they would see you again to evaluate your progress?


Subj: Closed comedones
Date: 8/10/2011
I am an older woman with hard closed white heads that the dermatologist called closed comedones. I started using Retin-A .05% a couple of weeks ago and have some flaking and burning. These white heads are impossible to press out. How long would it take to rid my face of these and do they come to the surface or just disappear under the skin?
Jacque

AskDocWeb: Retin A works by bringing those comedones to the surface and unplugs them so that the bacterial and pus in them can be washed away along with the dead skin cells. How long that takes varies with the individual but most likely a few weeks.


Subj: My skin is dry, red, and more wrinkly
Date: 8/11/2011
Hello, I am on retin a gel for few lines on the face since 4 weeks without problem. I started slowly every other night and every nite and suddenly my skin is very dry and a bit red and a bit more wrinkly. I use moisturizer and protect my face from the sun with protection 30 should I stop using retin a or switch for the cream version???
Patrini

AskDocWeb: The product information for Retin-A does say that the skin condition may worsen during the early weeks of therapy. Typically this is not a reason to discontinue use, but talk to your doctor if it occurs. He or she may want you to adjust your usage or switch to another product.


Subj: Excessive oiliness
Date: 8/11/2011
I used Retin-A for 3 weeks, and had the usual initial side effects-- breakouts, redness, etc. However, my face (which is normally oily) became extremely oily, to the point that going outside was embarrassing. I applied the cream every three days, and would cleanse my face in the morning with Cetaphil as usual. I looked up this side effect and found that a minority of individuals seem to also experience excessive oiliness when using a retinoid, and for some, the side effect did not go away even after using it for a year. What would cause this?
Jenna

AskDocWeb: There are several possible causes, some you can do something about and others you can't. Let's talk about the factors you have control over. Using oil based moisturizers, soap based cleanser, and oily skincare products are all possible causes for excess oil. Over cleansing can also stimulate the skin to produce more oil in an attempt to stay moisturized. Your diet is another factor to consider. Eating oily junk food, fizzy drinks, and chocolates may also cause skin problems.


Subj: The magic bullet
Date: 8/13/2011
I have been using retin a for 24yrs. I started when I was 27 yrs old. nobody believe's im 52 it is the magic bullet if your being consistent with use, but I believe it cause's some harmful affect's on your health, but i have been using it for decades.
Deborah


Subj: Dryness and fine lines
Date: 8/17/2011
Hi i am using Retin A for the last 2 wks. I am using it on alternate nights. My skin has become so dry that due to that dryness my fine lines have become more prominent. Is it a normal thing? Dryness itself can cause lines n wrinkles then whats the point of using Retin A? (im using petroleum jelly for the dryness)
Nida

AskDocWeb: It seems to be fairly common for the skin condition to get worse before it gets better. You might think of it as a phase that you have to go through. Fortunately it lasts only a few weeks and according to those who have used Retin-A for years, it is well worth it.


Subj: Neopsporing CREME
Date: 8/25/2011
If too much retin a is used on the chest and neck area I found Neopsporing CREME worked the best to soothe.
Tina

AskDocWeb: Thanks for the tip Tina!


Subj: Crepey skin
Date: 8/27/2011
I am 53 with crepey skin, whilst in Italy i was able to buy retin A .05% over the counter. I have never had sensitive skin. My questions are in order to reduce the crepyness do you have to go through the redness and flakiness first or does it sometimes just work with no side effects? My hands and cleavage have fine lines also would they be suitable for treatment too?
Michelle

AskDocWeb: Whether or not you get the redness and flakiness side effects depends in part on how well you follow directions and the sensitivity of your skin. Trying to get results quickly often leads to more side effects. Retin-A can be drying and can contribute to crepiness during the first few weeks of use. One way of avoiding that is to start using it no more than twice a week in the evenings and then slowly build up to using it every night. Make sure the skin is dry before applying Retin A. Frequent and generous use of moisturizers can also help those areas.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2010-2011 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report Retin-a and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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