Feedback on Retin-A Side Effects and Usage, page 49

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: Skin looks brighter and healthy
Date: 3/12/2009
I started using Retin A at the end of Jan 2009…at first it made me look dry and wrinkled…then slowly my skin came alive. I have dark spots…hyper pigmantation and they have faded a ton! My skin looks brighter and healthy…my friends can see a difference…they ask me if I have had work done on my face LOL…


Subj: Severe acne has gotten worse
Date: 3/13/2009
I am 37 years old and never had problems with my skin until my 30s. I have recently developed severe acne on my jawline. I started using cetaphil cleanser and retin-a (generic form .25%). I have been using it for about 3 weeks and my acne has gotten worse…is this normal? Also, what are your recommendations or opinions on using 100% tea tree oil as a spot treatment in addition to retin-a? Please help.


AskDocWeb: As the directions state, your condition may get worse before it gets better and many have reported just that. You should begin to notice results from the 3rd week of treatment on but more than 6 or 7 weeks may be needed before consistent beneficial effects appear. The use of any other product with Retin-A must be approached cautiously because of the increased sensitivity of the skin caused by Retin-A. Currently we have no recommendations regarding tea tree oil.

Subj: Do I have to go to a doctor?
Date: 3/17/2009
I have used retin-a in the past. I break out about once a month with a little acne. When I was younger I USED TO TAN AND SUNBURN ALOT. It’s now showing up and my face. I also use to smoke and I have lines on my upper lip. Do I have to go to a doctor for retin-a? I need some but money is tight. Thanks.


AskDocWeb: Yes, you have to go to a doctor because Retin-A is only available by prescription.

Subj: Vaseline with Retin A?
Date: 3/17/2009
I’ve been using Retin A for almost 2 years now and have definately noticed the improvement on my skin. The size of my pores are unnoticable, old acne scars are fading. People have commented on how much my skin has improved. I was just wondering if it is alright to use vaseline 30 minutes after applying Retin A. Will it interfere the effectiveness of Retin A on the skin since Vaseline forms a barrier on you skin to prevent the loss of moisture?


AskDocWeb: Because Retin-A makes your skin more sensitive, you might test a small area first to find out how your skin responds to the Vaseline.

Subj: Sun screen is a necessity
Date: 3/24/2009
I have been using kojic acid and retin-A on several patients for acne and the results were remarkable. Sun screen is a necessity as hot climates need skin protection drying out of skin and peeling are normal. Use a good salve to prevent drying.


Subj: Sebaceous hyperplasia
Date: 3/24/2009
I would like to know if anyone has had success with using Retin-A to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. I am 60 years old and have had issues with oily/acne prone skin my entire adult life. Now, this. I have had laser treatment and am using a retinol product, but I wonder if there is something better that will keep this under control. Maybe accutane.


Subj: How long can I use this treatment?
Date: 3/29/2009
I am now on my seventh week of retin-a and I would like to know how long can I be on this treatment. I am 16 years old. I have seen improvement, but I would like to know if I can be on it longer than 12 weeks…


AskDocWeb: There is no upper limit on how long you can use Retin-A. Several people have reported using it for more than 12 years.

Subj: Cold sores
Date: 4/2/2009
Retin a gives me cold sores on my nose and mouth- try a 4 d rejuvination that would be photo facial, refirm, and the pearl peal, these are light treatments that do wonders for aging skin- tightning reducing pores, fine lines and giving you a baby smooth pearly glow.


Subj: Large pores
Date: 4/4/2009
0.025 Retin A, clindamycin, and benzyl peroxide. My pores have become very large and noticeable on my nose and cheeks will it go away? I have been using these products for three weeks now. My skin in other areas are smooth but not there.


AskDocWeb: The instructions do say that more than 6 or 7 weeks of treatment may be needed before consistent beneficial effects appear.

Subj: Over-exfoliated my skin
Date: 4/4/2009
For almost 3 weeks now I’ve been experiencing a burning, throbbing, irritating, hypersensitive feeling on the skin in my face. This all started when I aggressively over-exfoliated my skin in an attempt to help my acne. I am a 41-year old female with adult mild acne due and had excessive oil production. I heard that exfoliating is a great way to slough off dead cells which clog pores. I used a somewhat coarse scrubbing sponge, along with crushed apricot seed exfoliating scrub. Then, that night I used tretinoin gel on my face. The following day I woke up to open pores all over my face, my skin texture seemed to change as well – it was as if my skin texture was magnified when looking at it, rougher areas appeared. My face was slightly irritated at this point, plus I had a little dryness around my nose. I did not use the Tretinoin again, nor did I do anything else to my face to further aggravate it for the next several days.

I used some Cetaphil lotion to moisten the dry area around my nose and it didn’t bother me. About 4 days later I saw my dermatologist, and explained everything (she didn’t examine me all too well, I must say). She said some people cannot tolerate the Tretinoin, so she put me on Differin, which, by the way, she gave me samples for last summer and it never bothered me – this is actually the second time I’ve tried it. She said that the Differin would close up the pores. I was using Differin for about 4 days, on an already irritated face, when I experienced what appeared to be a rash on my face – on my cheeks, between my nose and lips, on my chin, where the laugh-lines are, and between my eyes. Overall, my skin still felt tougher/thicker, rougher and less smooth-looking in many areas. My face felt raw, like it was on fire – comparable to a bad sunburn and tight-feeling like one would be. I also developed some small, red sores on the side of my upper nose and underneath my nose. My face felt inflammed and was throbbing. I immediately stopped using it. Differin alone never bothered me, but using it with what had already happened to my face, probably just it put things over the edge and made a bad problem worse.

At that point, I could no longer use the Cetaphil, as it was now further irritating my skin. I called the dermatologist’s office many times, but could not get to see her. Her nurses just kept telling me to cleanse and moisturize with Cetaphil. I’ve tried using mild, gentle Aveeno, Cetaphil, and Neutrogena products. I’ve tried using triple antibiotic ointment with pain reliever to relieve the burning and throbbing. I’ve tried using Silvadene cream, thinking it was a burn. I’ve tried using hydrocortisone cream. Nothing has helped and a lot of it irritated my skin – most of those products ended up making my skin burn worse and caused redness/rash to be worse. Water hasn’t irritated my skin, however, once my face is dry, it becomes very taught and irritated.

I explained all of this to them. They said there’s nothing they can do or prescribe for me. During all of this, I’ve noticed that I’ve been running a slight fever every day 99.2 – 100.5. This is not normal for me – I’m usually right around 98.5 – 98.7. So, obviously the fact that I’m running slight fevers signals something is going on with my skin. I had gone to see another dermatologist within the group that the other dermatologist was in, and she didn’t see how what I did would cause this problem. She said she didn’t think that could cause any irritation and didn’t know what to tell me or what to do for me. I would think using a coarse scrub sponge, along with crushed apricot exfoliating scrub, followed by Tretinoin, then followed several days later by Differin on an already irritated, damaged face WOULD cause this. But what can be done now, after the fact? She said that because she’s a dermatologist, she only deals with the skin, not burning pain, fevers, etc. I told her how this all started with what I had done to my skin by aggressively exfoliating with harsh substances and then following with two powerful acne medications, therefore, I feel it is skin-related.

My skin is normally very pale, but at this point, almost three weeks later, my skin is pinkish-looking (mostly in the places where the red rashy areas appeared – cheeks, between eyes, between lips and nose, and chin). My skin has been overly-smooth and thicker between eyes, on cheeks, between nose and chin, laugh-line areas, and between lips and nose – feels like many layers had been stripped away. My skin constantly burns, throbs, and is irritated in those same areas. These are also the areas in which my pores opened up the most. If I rub my face in those areas, they turn bright red and are sore and irritated and it also burns if I blush. Also, in those same areas, my skin still feels overly-smooth, as if many layers have been worn away. It has also become hypersensitive to touch and sunlight – I get a burning sensation if my face is in the sun – even on a cloudy day. If I lightly go across those areas with my fingernail, it feels like I’m going across them with a very sharp object.

My face has been not been producing quite as much oil, so it’s not enough to well-hydrate my face. It feels as though I’ve lost the elasticity in my skin. My skin feels like it’s starved for moisture, but I cannot apply any moisturizer to it, as it will further irritate my skin. In the last two weeks I’ve noticed changes in my skin that have been for the worse, not the better – where I used to have blackheads that I extruded, now have turned into scarred holes. Pimples that were present when I aggressively exfoliated and applied the acne medications have not healed properly – they’re raised, red nodules that appear scarred on the surface. I have had several, small, round, light brown, flat pigmented areas appear – like light-colored beauty marks. I have developed little, small fissures and wrinkling in my skin. The skin around the outside flares of my nose looks purplish and transparent. My skin texture is still not the same, pores are still enlarged. My skin between my eyes pulls and tugs when I try to raise my eyebrows. My eyelids also feel like they’re pulling and tugging downward – that might have something to do with the way my skin is between my eyes. The skin beneath my eyes has since become dry and irritated. My lips have now become dry – if I put Chap Stick on them, it sucks up the moisture right away and then my lips stick together. If any Chap Stick gets on the skin outside the lips, it burns something terrible. I don’t understand why I am experiencing dryness in my lips and eyes because I never exfoliated or used acne medication on those areas.

I have explained everything to the first and second dermatologists and they don’t understand it, therefore they can’t do anything. But, as I said, this all began with what I did to my face almost 3 weeks ago. In trying to help one problem, I created a worse problem. I can’t stand dealing with the burning and throbbing anymore. Nothing has gotten better and it’s really upsetting me. I don’t expect things to get better overnight, but there has been no improvement – any changes I’ve seen have been for the worse (scarring, pitting, drying of lips and around eyes, etc.) I’m still running a slight fever 99.2 – 100.5.

I have tremendous difficulty sleeping at night because of the burning, throbbing, and irritation in my face – even functioning day-to-day is becoming increasingly difficult. I am so angry at myself for doing what I did, even though I thought it would help with my mild acne. I’d rather have the acne. I think I’ve done more harm than good because my face was not in this condition, nor did I have any rashes, inflammation, burning, or throbbing pain prior to doing this. I’m worried that I’ve damaged skin cells, caused some kind of cellular change in my skin that has caused my skin to react this way and that it will never recover or regenerate. I fear that I have ruined my skin and permanently damaged it – that it’s irreversible. I just want the burning and throbbing to go away and for my skin to recover and return to normal again. I’m hoping that this doesn’t seem as complicated to you as it does to me and that you can give me some ideas as to what is going on with my skin as a result of what I did and what I should do. Thank you for your understanding and help,


AskDocWeb: You may have damaged your skin but however upsetting this may be, the chances are good that it will recover. You may want to consult with your regular doctor to rule out the possibility of a blood infection (meningococcemia), especially since this is accompanied by a fever. Your doctor may recommend going to bed for a day or two to give the body time to recover.

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