Holy Grail Product No. 2 Review – Retin A

April 8, 2011

OK so nine times out of ten when I tell somebody about Retin A, I’m either met by a “Ehh what’s that?” or a “John I’ve heard it’s really bad for your skin and you’re far too young to be using that” response.  Now please don’t let that put you off this product as I have been using it now for around seven weeks and I am already planning to use it for life!  Yes it’s that good!  I’m slightly obsessed with telling people about this product so I wanted to share my thoughts with you folks!  This review will only really skim the surface in terms of the ins and outs of Retin A but I don’t want to bore you all too much with a wordy review!  Now you’re probably wondering…

What is Retin A?

Retin A (Tretinoin) is basically the acid form of Vitamin A.  It was originally developed in the 1970s for the treatment of acne.  People who were using it for Acne soon noticed though that their acne was not only going away but that fine lines and wrinkles were diminishing as well.  Sun Damage was also being reversed!  It has since become a major player in the anti-ageing market.  It comes in a gel or cream form and in three different strengths – 0.025 percent, 0.05 percent and 0.1.  The product works by exfoliating the top layers of skin which unclogs pores, keeping your skin really clean and smooth!

The Product

Now for the bad news…Retin A is strictly a prescription only product but you can still order it from a couple of online pharmacies…phew!  I ordered mine from All Day Chemist, who are based in India. It only cost $2 for one 20g tube which was awesome but the downside is that shipping is $25 so you’d be best to order a few tubes!  My tube was manufactured by Shalaks Pharmaceuticals but there are a large number of companies throughout the world who make it.

I ordered the gel formula instead of the cream version because I have combination skin and I didn’t want to run the risk of it clogging up my pores.  The gel formula actually looks and feels like a cream (see photo above) but its super absorbent and literally disappears when it touches your skin.  I mentioned earlier that it comes in three different strengths.  I started with the 0.05% strength as I was using a retinol product for a few weeks before I started using Retin A.  I would recommend that for new users who have never used a retinol product before, that they start with the 0.025% strength.  It is up to you though as you know your skin best!

How To Use

Retin A is an incredibly strong product and you really do have to be careful with it.  I cannot stress that enough!  I learnt the hard way when I first started using it as I used it for three nights in a row and pretty much burnt my face…ouch!  It should only ever be used before bed at night because it makes your skin incredibly sensitive to sunlight.  When you first start using it you should only use it every third or fourth night.  You should continue this for at least two weeks and then try it every other night for another two weeks, eventually leading up to applying it every night…if your skin can handle it!  I have followed these guidelines and it has worked for me so far!  You only need a pea sized amount for your entire face.  Any more than that and you run the risk of irritating your face. During the first few weeks, sometimes months (it just depends on the person) your face may turn slightly red and peel.  At the minute I’m on week seven and I’m still peeling every other day!  I will admit that it is a real pain waking up in the morning with dead skin hanging of your face but slowly the peeling is getting less and less.  It should stop completely eventually.  Here’s how I recommend you use Retin A:-

  1. Cleanse your face and wait about thirty minutes.  This ensures your face is completely dry and avoids irritation.
  2. Apply a pea sized amount to your entire face avoiding your eye area.
  3. If you feel that you need to you can apply a light moisturiser to buffer the Retin A, but only after waiting thirty minutes for the product to soak into your skin completely.
  4. YOU MUST wear sunscreen protection everyday when using Retin A as your skin will burn so easily!  The reason for this is because the skin on your face is brand new skin so sunlight will affect it much more easily than before.

I tend to skip the third step as I don’t want to dilute the Retin A in any way as I want the full effects from it!  You will need to moisturise daily to combat its drying effects.  A handy tip I learnt is to use a muslin cloth in the shower to remove the dead skin.  You do have to be really gentle though as you don’t want to irritate your skin too much!

Does it Work?

Even though I’ve only been using Retin A for about seven weeks now I am already seeing a difference in my skin.  I have quite large pores around the sides of my nose and already they appear slightly smaller than before I started using it.  The main difference I’m noticing though is that my skin is incredibly soft and smooth.  It feels like a baby’s skin!  I cannot wait to see the results further down the line.  I’ve also noticed that spots have pretty much ceased to exist and if I do get one it goes away really quickly.  Red marks from previous spots have also faded away too.  They say that you need to consistently use Retin A for at least a year to really see a difference in your skin so I’m looking forward to seeing how my skin progresses over the next ten months or so.

The Positives

  • It’s the best exfoliating product on the market.
  • Leaves skin feeling really soft and smooth.
  • The only scientifically proven product that can reverse the signs of ageing and sun damage.
  • Fades sun spots and red spot marks on skin.

The Negatives

  • It may cause irritation such as redness & peeling when you first start using it which may last a couple of months. 
  • It’s prescription only.
  • The dryness of skin might prove a problem for some people.

The Bottom Line

If you want a product that will slow down the ageing process and you are willing to get through the initial stages of irritation then I highly recommend using Retin A!  I’m already seeing a difference in my skin and I haven’t been using it that long.  I can honestly say that its one of the best decisions I’ve made for my skin.

I hope that this review has been of help and if anyone would like any more info about Retin A then just let me know.  I’m happy to help!



15 Responses to “Holy Grail Product No. 2 Review – Retin A”

  1. Thanks $author Great as always! Love your articles. Will be saving to come back for more information for sure!
    Thanks once again!

  2. Frankie said

    hi John,
    I have been using stieva A, which is an australian brand version of retin a. I have been using it for about 6months now and I have to also agree with what you said. My acne scars have faded and also the overall texture of my skin has improved significantly. My blackheads have gone through continuous exfoliation for the past seven months. Plus my face is a lot less oily. The first two months were tough with all the redness, sensitivity, peeling and what not, but it really works. The key word here is perserverance.

    • Hi Frankie thanks for your comment! It’s such an amazing product isn’t it! Let me know how you get on with it over the next few months. I also really rate professional dermaroller treatments. I had 3 treatments over the course of 4 months beginning in November 2011 and my skin is still improving, even now! My scars have really broken down and they are repigmenting to match the rest of my skin. The results are slow but amazing! Using Retin-A is speeding up this process! I must do another update on my blog about this soon! I’ve really neglected it this year but getting comments like yours is encouraging and I’m glad people are still reading it even though I’ve not been posting!

      Take care!

      John 🙂

  3. n said

    Is this better than microdermabrasion?

  4. femi said

    Hello! Its been six weeks and 2 days now that have been using Retin A but have not see much difference, my face even worse than before..should i stop using it?

  5. femi said

    Hello: Retin A make my face even worse than before after six weeks and 2 days, am even shy to go out now…should i stop using it?

    • Hi there 🙂 I am sorry to hear that your skin has gotten worse. Do you mean that it has broken out in spots? If you do then doctors and dermatologists say that some peoples skin will get worse before it gets better during the first few months of using Retin A. My skin did. If you are worried about your skin then I would recommend going to see a doctor or a dermatologist.

  6. Traile Meyer said

    I used to use Retin A, but the side effects were so bad – my dermatologist recommended the Lady Soma Serum and Lady Soma Somatique Face Wash. It has Retinol Vitamin A in it, WITHOUT the side effects of Retin A. For those of you actually using Retin A, here is my routine… Wash with Lady Soma Somatique Face Wash – then apply the Lady Soma Renewal Serum. In the morning I wash again with this Lady Soma Wash. The Lady Soma stuff also seems to be helping with the intial breakout I got from the Retin A (have not had acne in years! was put on the Retin A for sun damage & fine lines).

  7. Lena said

    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was once a
    leisure account it. Glance complex to more delivered agreeable from you!
    By the way, how could we keep up a correspondence?

  8. Lisa Bell said

    Thanks for sharing this very important information about Tretinoin gel. I am also using Retin- A cream for acne treatment since 3 months. I found it is very effective to cure acne.

  9. very nice information about retino-a cream. you can buy cheap retino-a online at nestpillmart pharmacy.

  10. Shawn said

    This is a great product if you can continue using it through the initial roughness. When I was using it I was pretty discouraged with the amount of peeling and acne actually became a little worse. But I am glad I didn’t stop as afterwards it made my face look great. Best acne product ever. I managed to find some online at a good price and it’s the actual brand. I found it on Amazon.


  11. Kevin said

    This is a great product if you can continue using it through the initial roughness. When I was using it I was pretty discouraged with the amount of peeling and acne actually became a little worse. But I am glad I didn’t stop as afterwards it made my face look great. It took about 4-5 months to see a real difference but it was worth it. Best acne product ever in my opinion. I managed to find some online at a good price and it’s the actual brand.


  12. Blaine said

    Hey! I have been using tretinoin for a little over a week. I definitely have experienced some peeling that has left me questioning whether or not it’s the right product for me– but based on this article, I think I should just keep at it. I got my tretinoin online from a website called YoDerm that hooks you up with a derm. My skin has been pretty clear since I started– haven’t noticed a difference on my fine lines just yet.

  13. Ted said

    so retin-a was seriously like 150$ at my pharmacy. There is noooo way i can afford that. My derm said that tretinoin was the exact same thing, but I have heard that the formula makes some people break out. I definitely don’t need any more breakouts

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