The short answer, yes. However, to see results, it will take patience and consistency, and perhaps most important, time, and lots of it. This is no over night solution. I have read countless reviews about how it doesn't work, and I used to think the same. I was one of those yo-yo users. I'd spend days on a regimen of Retin-A, smoothing it all over my face without a real plan. Pretty soon, my skin would become red and inflamed. I was used to instant gratification, so when this would happen and I saw no real improvement right away, I'd quit.
So let me fill you in on some history which I guess would be way back in the late 90's, early 2000's when I had terrible acne. Well, it was terrible for me. But thinking about how my husband's skin was during his early 20's. Well, it was nothing like that, but it was bad enough. I was always complaining about my skin to friends and family. And, when I complained to my aunt, she introduced me to Retin-A. She used it for a different reason, to have younger skin. She was extremely worried all the time about growing older. In fact, her concern bordered on obsession. With societal pressures for women to stay young and line free, this wasn't hard to understand.
At this point in my life, I was only concerned with my breakouts, but this is what Retin-A was first intended for, right? So she encouraged me to use it. Plus, from her point of view, she was going to start me on the road to staying young, early. She told me all about how it helped to grow new skin at an accelerated rate. Old skin flaked off much faster, leaving new skin to take its place. Plus, she said it was the only real topical solution for replacing collagen. So, I started using it, but for me, of course, it was to reduce my acne.
Unfortunately, I would never stick with it long enough to see any real results. Once my skin started stinging with the redness and flakiness, I was like, nope, I'm out. So I would use it every single day and probably use too much of it, and once it started getting difficult, I'd just drop it. Finally, I just flat out refused to use it. My aunt would hound me about it, too. She'd ask my why I wasn't using it, and I would tell her I didn't like the way my face hurt. Plus, I'd also tell her I didn't need it. I was pretty young at the time, so I wasn't at the point of worrying about lines. Haha, her favorite saying was, "lines, my dear, are our enemies." Anyway, for my part, I just didn't think it was very important to spend that effort for such little reward.
Now, fast forward about ten to fifteen years. Now, I'm only going to mention this next part, not for any sort of attention, but because it is relevant to this story. My aunt, having battled with depression and other health issues for years, passed away. And she left a lot of stuff behind. She moved around a lot, so she didn't have much in the way of big things. What she did leave behind were a few big boxes stuffed with clothes, some of which still had their price tags attached. And in one of these, there was this one bag. And this bag was absolutely full of Retin-A tubes.
Yeh, it's a sad story, and one I won't dwell on too much, here. But I will say that I miss her very much. And it is kind of relevant to my Retin-A story. And maybe it also sounds a little unimportant in the event of a loved one's death, but it helped me to do this thing that she was always preaching about. It sounds silly, but I felt that she wouldn't want all those tubes to go to waist. And I also knew that she would probably want me to use them (took me 4 and a half years to go through it all). It also made me feel closer to her. And she was always telling me that she was going to help me stay young for as long as possible. And I think she has. Plus, my acne is gone:)
So, here's the answer to the original question. Yes. Retin-A does work. It works in the way that it absolutely does help generate newer and suppler skin. It helps even out the over all complexion. And, while it won't help with the big things like, sagging skin and the other muscular skeletal deterioration such as the "turkey neck," it most certainly will help fade lines for a smoother appearance. And, of course, it will also annihilate acne. That's what it was developed for in the first place before it was found to have this other added benefit of delaying the skin's aging process.
You just need to know how to use it. And, these days, I have lots of experience, almost 9 continuous years of experience. Here are some tips to help get you started and to also help you to continue with it.
- First, a skin test is always advisable. Those with sensitive skin should be especially diligent in this step. Use extreme caution if you have skin sensitivities such as rosacea, psoriasis or any chronic skin issue. Acne is included in this. And be prepared for your acne to get worse before it gets better. This is probably another reason I would quit, back in the day. It's difficult to push forward during this discomfort but, take it from me, it's worth it.
- Set a time during your day in which you will consistently use the product the same time, everyday. My advice would be to use just before bedtime. This way, you can incorporate this into your nightly skin care routine. Plus, it's better to use during the night, as opposed to day, when you will need to refrain from too much sun exposure. This is a mistake I used to make. Yeh, this stuff does have its drawbacks. From now on, sun screen will be more important than ever and, even then, the less sun, the better. Wearing a hat is also recommended. Inconvenient, yes, but these are precautions we all need to take even without Retin-A use.
- Start your new regimen with a lower percentage of Retin-A, such as the 0.05% we have in stock. You will know, intuitively, when you can switch as you will get used to how your skin behaves as time and usage goes on. For one thing, the redness and irritation will start to wain and won't occur quite as often, nor quite as acutely. When your skin is ready, graduate to 0.1%.
- When your skin starts giving you trouble like redness and irritation, take a break. In fact, it helps to start your regimen by consistently skipping a day in between. This is something I didn't understand all those years ago. I thought I had to use it every single day without fail. And I think I even used it more than once a day. Jeez, what was I thinking?!?
- Contrary to what you may have read about this, you can use Retin-A in conjunction with moisturizer. You do not have to wait 20 minutes after application of Retin-A for moisturizer. And this will help dilute it a little when you are first starting out. And I still mix in some moisturizer more often than not.
- Choose a reputable Vitamin C serum. Apply in the morning. Use immediately after your shower or simply after washing your face. Vitamin C will help nourish the skin after a night of Retin-A absorption. Again, sensitive skins should use caution. Vitamin C can sting the skin which intensifies the irritable effects of the Retin-A. Yeh, this is a regimen that takes some working up to. But no pain, no gain!
- And perhaps the most important tip I can give is to get ready for the long haul. As I've mentioned, you will need to be patient, persistent and consistent. And results will vary with everyone. Of course, the longer you stick with it, the better your skin will look. So don't give up.
Okay, I think that's all I have for now. Since I have written this at one sitting, I will probably be back to make revisions and correct any grammatical errors. Plus, I will hopefully think of a conclusion of some sort. At some point, I'd like to upload some pics and illustrations for a better reading experience. I'm sure I will get better at this the more I do it. Thoughts, questions or concerns are welcome. And feel free to share your experiences with Retin-A. Let's keep the conversation going.