Feedback on Retin-A Side Effects and Usage, page 77

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: Hyperpigmentation
Date: 3/31/2011
For two months now I have been using retin a. It is working but not as fast as I expected. I am African American with acne and hyperpigmentation. The retin a gel is working for the acne but tell me if it will also help with the hyperpigmentation.


AskDocWeb: Yes, the Retin-A topical treatment can help fade hyperpigmentation but it could take a several months to do that. There are a couple of things you can to do help this process along. The first is to use sunblock. People with darker skin tones may think they do not need sunblock but remember that the sun causes tanning, even in darker skin tones. Exposure to direct sunlight or tanning will make any dark spots even darker. In other words the hyperpigmentation will disappear more quickly if you stay out of the sun.

Subj: Face is slightly swollen and burning
Date: 4/4/2011
Hi, I just received the a-ret gel 0.1% a few days, so far I’ve used it two nights in a row and my face has gotten very red and is peeling. I know these are both common symptoms, but I think my face is getting so red because I have been using more than necessary. I’m wondering if I should continue use or wait til my face isn’t as irritable… right now it’s slightly swollen and burning a little bit. Thanks,


AskDocWeb: Using too much is easy to do with this cream. Some find that using Retin-A every other day works well to give the skin a chance to get used to it. If the irritation becomes too much, check with your doctor.

Subj: How long does it take to lose sun sensitivity?
Date: 4/8/2011
Hi there, I have a question to ask about Retin A, Benzaclin and 2% clindamycin with neostrata. I’m currently using Benzaclin in the morning and Retin A cream at night. I don’t have active acne but lots of scarring and red marks. To help expedite the process my doctor has suggested I get off the Benzaclin in the mornings and replace it with the 2% Clima… I just want to know what your take on this regime is? Will this help expedite the process of reducing my red scars? I’m also looking into Vbeam laser and may go for that to help improve this. I’m getting married in July so I need to see results quick.

My other concern was using these products and going in the sun. I’m going to a beach resort in July for my honeymoon and I’m afraid of permanently damaging my skin. If I wear a strong sunblock would that be sufficient? If I stop the creams a week before is that okay or will my skin still be sensitive as it takes a while for the skin to internally wear off the meds? Any suggestions would help!


AskDocWeb: The Benzaclin Topical Gel is a combination of an antibiotic (clindamycin phosphate) and benzoyl peroxide. When benzoyl peroxide is absorbed by the skin it is converted to benzoic acid, which may produce a drug interaction with Retin-A. And like Retin-A, Benzaclin also makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Using the two together may result in excessive photosensitivity. The increased sensitivity to sunlight caused by Retin-A may last from a few weeks to several months so talk to your doctor about that.

We aren’t sure what “Clima” might be. It’s obviously not the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture but maybe you could spell it out.

Subj: Horrified at results of using excessive amounts
Date: 4/11/2011
I have been using hydroquinone 4% for about a month to rid of hyper pigmentation under one of my eyes. I just started using retin-a .1% to speed up the process and I am horrified at what has happened. I used it two nights in a row in excessive amounts and I did not use a moisturizer. I began to peel, but because my lack of patience, I decided to exfoliate strongly and now burned a little bit of the skin under my eye. The problem I am concerned with is not the burning, but the fact that the skin under my eye is extremely wrinkly and very dry (like lizard skin). How can I heel this? When I smile I have so many wrinkles under that eye. Its embarrassing plus my skin looks very dry leathery. Should I continue the use of the retin-a to rid of the dry skin and create new skin or should I discontinue retin a and wait for the skin to “Un-dry” itself?


AskDocWeb: The safest course of action would be to have the doctor who prescribed the Retin-A evaluate your current condition and come up with a new treatment plan.

Subj: Collagen issues and scaring
Date: 4/18/2011
Hi There, I have some vertical light collasped collagen creases on both sides of my chin, which are healed up but still noticeable. I have some light very narrow collagen issues or scaring on one side of my face and some very tiny small indentations as well. My forehead is very deeply wrinkled. First of all, I may not need laser facial resurfacing, because I have heard that Retin A may reduce or fix some of these issues for good. What dose would I need, and will it permanently remove very light surface scaring for good? Lastly what moisturizer or other creams do I need along with the Retin A? Is it safe to buy this product online from a pharmacy store, and which one would you recommend? Thanks So Much For Your Help,


AskDocWeb: Retin-A is a prescription drug so online purchase is NOT recommended. Your skin condition needs to be evaluated by a doctor or dermatologist in order to decide what dosage would be appropriate for you. Retin-A may help smooth out some surface imperfections but the effect is not permanent if you discontinue use. That is why there are reports of women using it for 15 and 20 years or more. Users of Retin-A have recommended the following moisturizers.

  • Almay
  • Aquaphor
  • Cetaphil facial moisturizer
  • Elodoquin
  • Kiehls
  • Loreal moisturizer
  • Neutrogena Moisturizer for combination skin
  • Neutrogena oil free moisturizer with SPF15
  • Oil of Olay moisturizer
  • ROC moisturizer

Which moisturizer you choose seems to be a case of trial and error because of different skin types. What works well for one type of skin may cause burning or irritation on another skin type.

Subj: Making holes in the face?
Date: 4/19/2011
i want to know if retin a 500 mcg/g has side effects of making holes in the face? i was using it for 6 days and i suddenly noticed that my face has holes where i put the cream and it feels like burning and itchy i also apply it at bedtime every night..should i continue using it?


AskDocWeb: Retin-A is known to often cause the skin condition to become worse before it gets better but if you are getting holes you should check with your doctor.

Subj: Under eye bags
Date: 4/26/2011
This product works very good for acne, however I’ve noticed that I have more prominent under eye bags lately. I’ve been using this product for about a year and a half now and the first time I tried the product I had some swelling under my right eye that went away. Is it possible that this product is causing under eye bags? or is it that I’m just getting older? I am 28 years old. Thank you!


AskDocWeb: There are a number of factors that contribute to bags under the eyes but Retin-a is not one of them.

Subj: Chest is peeling and dry
Date: 4/28/2011
I used Retin A cream 0.05% for about a week now. i was prescribed this a year ago for my forehead. Now, im using this for my chest. I stopped using the cream to calm my skin, since its peeling and dry. should i apply lotion to it? i dont want to irritate it more, and how long will my skin turn back to normal, when i stop using it. i want to stop this treatment.


Subj: Did you ask the doctor who prescribed the Retin-A if using it on your chest might cause problems? Some skin types do not respond well to the use of retinoids. Peeling and dryness is to be expected and that is explained in the directions. Although many people report good results with using it on the chest others report horrible looking painful red rashes that take several days to heal.

Subj: Topical retinoids, vitamin A and hair loss?
Date: 4/30/2011
I’ve only been on Retin A Micro .04% now for three weeks. I’m just wondering if there is any connection to hair loss and vitamin A topical medications? I don’t think I have any hair loss but I was worried after seeing some comments with people suggesting that they had experienced hair loss. Are topical retinoids absorbed into the body increasing the danger for Vitamin A toxicity?


AskDocWeb: Under normal conditions when Retin-A is applied according to directions, hair loss is not a concern for most people. However, retinoids are absorbed through the skin and applying too much IS a cause for concern. There is an upper limit to how fast the body can process vitamin A and using too much produces an overdose which can lead to a number of problems. How much you can handle depends on your body and everyone is different. The side effects of an overdose with Retin-A are similar to those of a vitamin A overdose, which includes hair loss.

In small amounts Retin-a actually enhances the effect of topical minoxidil resulting in the growth of more hair for those with alopecia areata. When Retin A is combined with minoxidil for hair loss, the dosage strength of Retin-A is typically much weaker than that used to fight acne.

Subj: All I can say is wow!
Date: 5/6/2011
I have used retin-a many times over the last 12 years. It truely is an amazing product. After I had my first daughter at 26, I went out with my girlfriends and was called “maam” for the first time ever…ouch! I realized that my skin on my face was loose from losing my baby weight so fast. After enduring the 2 weeks of flaky, dry skin, my face started de-again. Within 6 months I was getting suspiciously carded and mistaked for 18 or 19 (no lie!) I used retin a on and off and sunscreen always. Now at 38 and two years after the birth of another daughter I am using retin-a again and all I can say is wow! It simply had never failed me. I am proud to say that the average age guessed for me is 25. ALWAYS wear sunscreen to help the benefits last longer.


Subj: Acne came back
Date: 5/9/2011
I have had acne since i was 13, went on RoAccutane at 20, and it ended my acne for about 8-9 yrs, and it came back now, at 32, plus all the side effects of accutane, on my liver and gastric system. It seems my adult acne is related to liver and digestive issues, as i have poor appetite and weight loss. Now, i have gone in for juicing beets, eating smaller meals, lesser fats and sleeping more. The acne has improved, but despite applying Retin-A 0.05% every night, im never 100% clear. Any help please?


AskDocWeb: It is possible that you have something special going on that might require the help of a dermatologist. Have you consulted with one?

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