Feedback on Retin-A Side Effects and Usage, page 27

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: Face is very red
Date: 7/16/2007
I have been using retin-a for six weeks now. My face hasn’t changed…no worse, no better…just very red. Could I be using too much on my face. I use more than a pea size. I put it on like a moisturizer. I put it on once a night.. it almost looks like an allergic reaction.


AskDocWeb: Yes, it does sound like you are using too much at a time because the redness is a sign of overdose. You might try it every other day to see if that improves the redness. If it doesn’t then your skin may be just too sensitive.

Subj: The worse before it gets better stage
Date: 7/19/2007
I’ve been using retin a gel .01 for about 7 1/2 weeks now and it seems that my skin is still going through the worse before it gets better stage. When will I start to see improvement? I had very moderate acne before I started using it and treated it with benzoyl peroxide. My face is now broken out all over cheeks and chin and has been for several weeks.


AskDocWeb: It should have improved by now. Others have had success with giving the face a break for three days and then starting over, using it every other day for a couple of weeks, gradually building up to every day use. If you don’t see improvement you may have to quit.

Subj: Forehead
Date: 7/20/2007
What does it mean when I break out only on my forehead? Thanks,


AskDocWeb: That is the only area where it’s oily enough to cause pimples. You need
to cleanse this area more thoroughly and more often than the rest of your face and keep your hair
off of your forehead.

Subj: Light patch
Date: 7/21/2007
I just started Retin-A cream and have abandoned my antibiotic and birthcontrol since I recently started both and got ill. I am 32yrs old and I am extremely upset because my face has never looked this bad. I have read everyone’s comments but no mentioned that an alkaline diet supports skin condition – I am starting to change my diet because I loved spicy foods. Now I am concentrating on eating more bland foods with herbs. I have now discovered to a light patch close to my mouth two days after use of Retin A and I am flaking too but that is something that expected. Should I be concerned about this light patch on my face that looks like a circle? Thank you for this site, it’s very informative.


AskDocWeb: You would need to consult with a dermatologist to find out about that light patch, it could be several things. Light patches of skin (lack of color) have been reported to occur temporarily with Retin-A. An alkaline diet supports more than just your skin condition. We are putting together a report on body pH and hope to have it up soon.

Subj: Weird marks and blistering on face
Date: 7/22/2007
I’ve been using Retin-A for about 3 weeks now. The dryness has become less frequent however I did develop weird marks and blistering on my face in one area. I noticed this after I used a hair removal cream in that area. Is this normal?


AskDocWeb: It’s not unusual to have problems when you use a chemical hair removal product on your face while on Retin-A. The combination may be too much for your skin.

Subj: Brown blotches
Date: 7/22/2007
I have started using Retin-A .1% for one week. I am also using eldoquin 4% for my brown blotches. Is it a good idea to use both at the same time or one or the other? Please help.

AskDocWeb: It is preferable to use one or the other. The eldoquin is too strong to be used with Retin-A.

Subj: Red marks
Date: 7/22/2007
Will may act as a carcinogen or cancer-causing agent, although its cancer-causing properties have yet to be proved in humans. Will hydroquinone fade the red marks left after acne (my red marks are 5 months old)?


AskDocWeb: It will make them appear lighter but there may be other unwanted side effects. We are taking a closer look at hydroquinone.

Subj: Getting married
Date: 7/23/2007
Hello, I was wondering if Retin A will help smooth my skin out. I am not sure but it seems to me that maybe I have open pores or something. I know you can see them pretty good and was just wanting to get it smoother if for nothing else, for my wedding. I am getting married in 26 days and need help trying to resolve the problem. Thanks!


AskDocWeb: Congratulations on your marriage. Retin-A won’t help fill in the large pores, but you can use a base before you put your makeup on that will make them less noticeable. Since you are getting married in 26 day we suggest you put off use of Retin-A until sometime after. Typically the skin condition gets worse before it gets better and that would seem to be a likely source of stress at a time that you wouldn’t want it.

Subj: Acne and oily skin
Date: 7/26/2007
I am a 35 year old female who has been suffering with mild to moderate acne and moderately oily skin since the age of 12. After 23 years of experimentation with nearly every acne and oil control product ever made (including prescription medication), my dermatologist prescribed Retin-A (for nightly use) and BenzaClin (for daily use). While my acne has improved greatly, the oiliness of my skin has become unbearable, the size of my pores seems to have enlarged, and I am sprouting lots of coarse, dark facial hair, especially on my chin. Oddly enough, even though my skin is oilier than ever, patches of dry, flaky skin persist through the oil. When I told my dermatologist about this, he recommended taking Accutane. Is there any other solution to the oil, facial hair and enlarged pores besides Accutane (or the elimination of Retin-A and BenzaClin)? Are these side effects normal?


AskDocWeb: You are not the only one looking for alternatives to Accutane. It has significant side effects.

Side Effects – Frequency:

  • Chapped lips – 90%
  • Dry skin and itching – 80%
  • Dryness of nose, mild nosebleed – 80%
  • Irritation of the eyelids and eyes – 40%
  • Joint and muscle pains – 15%
  • Temporary hair thinning – 10%
  • Rash – 7%
  • Intestinal symptoms – 5%
  • Urinary symptoms – 5%
  • Headache – 5%
  • Increased sensitivity to sunburn – 5%
  • Decreased night vision – less than 1%
  • Depression, thoughts of suicide – less than 1%

There are several new laser and light-based treatments that have demonstrated improvement with mild to moderate acne and they do that in just a few treatment sessions with no systemic side effects.

One new approach is to target the bacteria associated with acne. When the bacteria absorb certain wavelengths of light, free radical damage is produced which destroys the bacteria. In one study, two 15-minute exposures a week for a period of four weeks produced a 60 percent reduction in acne in 80 percent of patients. Reported remissions from acne lasted as long as three to eight months.

Another way to treat acne uses a laser to damage the sebaceous glands by a thermal or heat effect. In a recent study, a laser was used to perform four treatments one month apart. There was 100 percent clearing of acne in 16 of the 17 patients evaluated six months after the last treatment. Immediately after treatment skin biopsies showed that heat-induced alterations of the sebaceous glands reduced the amount of oil produced.

Laser and light treatments are still investigational and not all patients will have access to them. What is available everywhere is control over your diet. Although foods don’t directly affect oily skin, you can eat healthier for internal cleansing.

  • Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  • Add more whole grains, legumes, and nuts to your diet.
  • Eliminate sugar, soft drinks and sweets as much as you can.
  • Reduce your intake of fish.
  • Use regular salt as opposed to iodized salt.
  • Use saturated fats and oils very sparingly.
  • Remember to hydrate, water is good for any skin type.

Subj: Oil of Olay and Retin-A?
Date: 7/26/2007
I started using a peptide serum (Oil of Olay Regenerist) at night with Retin-A .05. I read in Allure that the combination was effective to fighting wrinkles. Do you think this could be effective? And should I put the serum on first, let it soak in, and then, use Retin-A or reverse the order? Thanks,


AskDocWeb: Yes, it could be effective but not used on top of one another. We would use the Retin-A at night and Oil of Olay during the day.

Subj: Skin is too sensitive
Date: 7/30/2007
My son has been using Retina A for acne for about 2 weeks. His skin began small areas of flaking. Then in the last 3 days became red and inflamed. We quit using the Retina A. According to the dermatologist it seems my sons skin is too sensitive for the Retina A. My son said his skin felt like it was on fire and it looked extremely red as though it were sun burned in areas. He woke up Sunday morning with a fat blistered upper lip. We are going back to Differin Cream.


Subj: Peels?
Date: 8/3/2007
My doctor has prescribed the use of Retin-A, along with a benzoyl-peroxide and erythromycin topical medicine to use twice a week. Is it safe to be using these products along with a cleanser or serum that has 2% Salicylic Acid in it? Also, Is okay to do a 10% Glycoloc Peel once a week?


AskDocWeb: According to the directions, no peels should be used with Retin-A.

Subj: How do they go away?
Date: 8/3/2007
Hey I haven’t broken out since now my 7th week with any new pimples, but I still have this ugly zits on one area in my forehead and I pop them n they come back. I know I’m not suppose to pop them but I had to they weren’t going away. Well this time I’m not going to but I want to know what did the initial breakout look like, because the zits I’ve got with retin a micro have like dry puss on the top so its just like a white on top. How do they go away? Do I just wait until they dry up and fall off?


AskDocWeb: Yes, that is pretty much it. The more you mess with them the longer it takes to get rid of them.

Subj: Skin is much darker than before
Date: 8/4/2007
I have been using retin-a .025%for two weeks. I don’t have much flaking, but I looking much darker than before, it seems like I got a bad sunburn or a harsh chemical peel. Is it not normal, will my skin improve if I continue the use of retin-a.


AskDocWeb: Typically the skin condition begins to improve after 2 to 3 weeks of treatment but more than 6 or 7 weeks of treatment are needed before you see consistent beneficial effects.

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