Hoping my experience will help you not to make any of the mistakes that I did I will tell you what happened to me with Retin-A.
I first saw physician's assistance in December of year 2010 and she prescribed me Soladine ( for acne) Retin-A 0.1% Micro, Duac ( Benzoyl Peroxide for acne) and had a follow-up with the doctor in January 2011. At this time my skin was disgusting ashy, brown, sagging, pin pricked holes, bumpiness all over my face from scars, not healing skin, fine lines around my face, acne ( which I had before laser)...... dry leathery skin.... I described my skin to the idiot that performed the laser on me that I felt like it was dead. I didn't know how else to explain it. It felt like I had this covering over my face that was just holding itself on but was lifeless.
I never heard of anti-aging benefit of retin-A, and i wish I did before becuase if I did I would have used it like crazy before I did this stupid laser, but whenever i was prescribed the medication I would stop after like a week due to stinging or irritation because i was scared i might get horribly aged trying to address acne which I never wanted to do. Anti-Age was always my top priority before acne. I always felt that when i get older acne would get resolved, but I heard from someone that retin-A had anti-aging affect so when my doctor prescribed me the Retin-A I religiously applied them just a pea sized amount.
Because my skin was such a mess, I immediately saw my skin change, my mother was visiting me at the time and she also commented on my skin. After a week I noticed my skin was firmer and also the color was improving and getting lighter. I was super excited. However I also noticed that my skin was super sensitive to the sun, however Soladine is notorious for sun sensitivity so I immediately stopped that medication, didn't really use Duac, but focused on Retin-A. Although my dermatologist asked me for a follow-up after a 3 months or so, I always scheduled after 1 month and went to him either after 1 month or 2 months.
Then I told my dermatologist that I wasn't handling the Soladine well so he switched me to sulfur medication.. Forgot the name all of a sudden.. AHH~ My memory~ and I also requested for more emollient retin-A since I was super dry from the medication so he gave me .025% Retin-A cream. I would use 0.1% Micro when my skin didn't feel irritated, and 0.025% cream when my skin felt irritated and dry. My doctor always said just play with it and that I was doing well. But at the same time he would ask me everytime I visited if I was using Sun Screen and I was using 2 sun screens.
I did get some damages around the eyes some ( but I was also putting some on the eyes... Reviews show that some woman handle it well) well some people are able to handle directly on the eyes, but since I am asian and since my skin has been shot down after laser, it was not a good idea and I got damages around the eyes from the sun during retin-A application. however that didn't stop me I kept putting on the Retin-A the strong stuff.
If I wasn't so pushy with retin-A I think I could have eliminated a lot of the damages, during this phase I stayed home always, I still do, but going outside was really hard. However my mother and aunt came for a visit so I would go out during the weekends and it was very difficult and I wish I didn't because I still have a lot of damages from the sun from those times that are not being resolved. At the time though I didn't worry about this too much and insisted on keep putting retin-A on because I was reading so many papers so many medical records stating that any damages that occured with retin-A were all resolvable with retin-A.
For me, Retin-A kind of stopped working for me after 6 months and I consistantly tried going back to it for another 4~5 months and that's when most of my damages around the eyes and such happened and i think it was mostly caused by me putting too much on and also I think the retin-A was a lot stronger than what I was able to handle.
I had a lot of pivoted scars around the side of my face that are almost gone, alot of bumpiness around the nose, cheeks, and chin area are also improved remarkably. Discoloration has also resolved quite a bit. But I have a lot of damages around the eyes that were not there before I had retin-A that are obviously still quite irritated rightnow and I still feel quite sore from it. My pigment issues were resolved, but I think after 6 months I got some pigment issues also, but overall I am still better than right after laser with my pigment so retin-A has really resolved my disscoloration. I have been off retin-A for I believe 3~ 4 weeks now? But when I went to this new dermatologist he told me that it can stay in your system upto 6 weeks. Well, since my skin probably have no circulation going with all the damages I am thinking I would be a 6 weeks candidate. My whole face used to feel like a cardboard with this thick skin under my skin.. dunno if you know what I am talking about, but that has really gotten a lot softer with Retin-A. Also, my pores has improved also.
When my skin was super irritated from Retin-A I had hard time sitting in my meeting room because there was a window behind me even during a non sunny day. It was bad. My skin has became very sensitive to weather since laser, but retin-A definetly elevated that.
When I consulted with Psoria Gold, Siana ( sales lady) told me that since you used Retin-A after 1 year, she said it was a good thing. Because at that time she said your skin is all scared there is nothing that psoria gold would have been able to do so because she said you have nothing to loose. I think once your skin has become scar it's impossible to treat your skin. I know Dr. Heng ( inventor of Psoria gold) also uses the Retin-A to help open the pores when she treats acne patients, but Siana said, they don't recommend using the product for more than 6 months and since my skin was super irritated she recommended using Psoria gold right now, she called it.. a missing link after retin-A.
I have been emailing Dr. Heng my pictures and just getting her input of my skin. Both her and also my new dermatologist had issues with my enlarged pores ( which I can't blame the laser for it was something caused by my acne) and she insists only using Psoria Gold rightnow. I did ask her this question since she seems to be VERY natural skin products kind of a doctor..... I said, I really had favorable results with Retin-A and I wanted to know after this irritation goes away if I can use it again maybe after 6 months? she said, after you are fully treated with Psoria Gold 6months to 1 year you can use retin-A.
I was kind of thinking of starting this retin-A phase next winter actually for maybe 4~ 6 months only and i was kind of debating between renova or Atralin because I heard Atralin is Tretinoin with Hylauronic Acid. Might do this every year or something.. The results are very slow changes but I think it's better than nothing.
2 BIGGEST MISTAKE I MADE WAS USING TOO MUCH RETIN-A, AND I ONCE SQUEEZED BLACKHEAD ON MY CHEEKS AND THAT AREA NEVER RETURNED BACK AND JUST BROKE COLLAGEN. I still blame this to Laser because I have used retin-A before and I was never this irritated and caused this much damage from the cream. The squeezing blackhead and my face not returning is crazy~ But when you are on retin-A you have to care for your skin as gentle as you possibly can. It makes your skin very susceptable to damage and our skin is so susceptable to damage anyways. SO PLEASE DON"T EVER TOUCH YOUR FACE when on RETIN-A and you have to be SUPER careful with the sun also. It's really hard to do any outdoor activities period. Again, I have used Retin-A in the past and I had no issues, sunscreen was just enough, but not after laser. SIGH~