I'm Not A Teenager, So Why Do I Still Have Acne? Can Retin-A Help?

BlogHer Original Post

I went to the dermatologist for the first time in my life last week...At the ripe old age of 42, I thought it was about time. I decided it was time to go for several reasons:

  • Living in Florida and understanding the seriousness of skin cancer, I thought it was important to have a full body check by a qualified dermatologist.
  • I have a mild case of rosacea, but I've been told that the condition often gets worse with age.
  • I never seemed to outgrow getting acne, and I figured there must be something better than over the counter stuff.
  • I also have what I thought were sun or age spots, but the dermatologist actually said they were probably related to hormones.
  • And of course, I was wondering if there was some way to help my skin age more gracefully.

Even though none of my skin problems were very serious, together they were beginning to bother me. Since I had insurance that covered most of the cost of going to a dermatologist, I decided to make the appointment. And I'm really glad I did.

It turns out that at this time I don't have any suspicious signs of skin cancer, and my other problems can apparently all be helped with a prescription for Retin-A Micro Gel 0.10%.

From Jolie Nadine - Beauty Tip: Using Retin-A Without Dryness...

Retin-A is beauty’s closest thing to a miracle product: it clears up breakouts, softens and smooths skin, and is one of the only things on the market (short of Botox, fillers or plastic surgery) that will truly, visibly remove lines and wrinkles and make you look younger.

But it wouldn't be as easy as just going to my local pharmacy and getting my prescription for Retin-A filled. Surprise, surprise...It wasn't covered by my prescription plan. I called around, and the three pharmacies I checked in my area all charged over $200 to get the Retin-A Micro Gel, and only slightly less for the generic (Tretinoin).

Since there was no way I could afford to pay that kind of money, I decided to Google Retin-A and see if I could find it for a better price. What I found were a bunch of Canadian pharmacies offering it for about $50...still expensive, but doable.

I wasn't sure about ordering from one of these Canadian pharmacies, but after I called NorthWestPharmacy and was assured that I would be getting the exact product offered at my local pharmacy, I decided to give it a try. A week later I received my Retin-A Micro Gel from Canada, and sure enough, it is exactly what I ordered.

Even though I just got the prescription today, I have been using samples from the doctor ever since my visit last Monday. And just in this short amount of time, I am noticing my acne beginning to clear up.

But it's not a perfect solution...Retin-A is very drying and there is a prodocal to follow if you want to minimize irritation.

Jen Hill from MythBuster Beauty explains how to use Retin A...

In the PM, after cleansing and allowing your skin to dry, dab a pea-sized amount around face (a little bit goes a long way and this is strong stuff)! You can then proceed with your moisturizer. You should only use this every other night until your skin adjusts to the retin-A (which will take a few weeks), then gradually build up to using it every night. If you notice peeling or irritation, stop using Retin-A for a few days.

If you are using any creams or lotions containing peptides, specifically copper peptides, you will not want to use a retinoid, AHA, or vitamin C cream within 2 hours of use, or rotate using one every other day. I am not a chemist either, but I have read that the copper peptides are not effective if combined with these acidic ingredients.

And most importantly you will need to take particular precautions to protect your skin during the day while using Retin-A. Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and avoiding going outside during the peak sun hours.

BlogHer contributing editor Susan Wagner has written many great posts on skin care and her use of Retin-A. Check out How to Talk to Your Dermatologist and How to be hott at 40...

Wear sunscreen every day, and visit the dermatologist; even if you're not interested in any of the extreme treatments for older skin, like Botox, there are topical treatments that will help your skin renew itself faster and keep the lines at bay. I'm using a Retin A cream, in combination with a topical antibiotic, and my skin looks better than it ever has.

Finally, don't be afraid to look your age -- there's nothing wrong with being 40 (or 50 or 60 or ...). When you try too hard to look younger, you only wind up looking -- and feeling -- older.

Susan also wrote Noncomedogenic Makeup...

Back to the dermatologist. Again. Guess what he told me? I needed to use only products clearly labeled noncomedogenic! Because anything else would clog my pores! and make me break out! And then both he and his nurse sang the praises of all things Neutrogena.

(I love Neutrogena, I really do -- and these days, I'm especially loving the part where I can buy it all at CVS and still have money left over for a latte.)

These days, I'm combining prescription treatments (a topical antibiotic to control bacteria and a topical Retin A gel to exfoliate) with drugstore and department store makeup counter finds. i use Neutrogena's Fresh Foaming Cleanser morning and night; for day, I wear either Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock (SPF 45 and helioplex, for extra protection) or the Oil Free Fresh Moisturizer (super light and great under makeup). My foundation is Prescriptives Flawless Skin, which offers light coverage without blocking my pores.

Did you know that sugar can cause wrinkles?

From SAHM - Answers - GASP! Sugar Causes Wrinkles...

How Do I Reverse AGE Damage?

1) Cut back on sugary and starchy foods. This will slow the glycation process. (Remember, everything in moderation.)

2) Incorporate antioxidants into your diet. Tomatoes, greens, pomegranates, red grapes and countless other fruits and veggies help fight free radicals caused by sun exposure.

3) Increase collagen production. Using prescription retinoids such as Tazorac, Retin-A or Differin can successfully boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Check out these other posts on skin care and Retin-A.

BlogHer SammiJo wrote...

It kills me when I hear “retinol products aren’t really necessary” from skin consultants (I won’t mention names). About 6 months ago, I was shopping with my sister, who is one year older than I and completely clueless to proper skin care. We went into a self-titled skin/beauty store to pick up an antioxidant for her. The skin consultants, both in their mid-twenties, had the gull to say that retinol products aren’t really necessary. Not really necessary….blasphemy! I am sorry, I couldn’t resist…I had to pick a fight. I spit more facts out of my mouth in less than 30 seconds to send these girls’ heads spinning. The moral here, your dermatologist knows best.

This is from another post at MythBuster Beauty...

I used Retinoids in my 40’s – they are great – but insurance companies are extremely hesitant to cover the prescription products (Retin A comes to mind), which from my experience, give the best results. Stupid insurance companies.

No kidding! A container of Retin-A can run almost $100 bucks! It will last a long time though. I am still working on the same tube I started 7 months ago, and I have noticed some great improvements while using it consistently. These benefits have been clearer, more even, and firmer skin.

Also See:

From Single Minded Women - Expert Skincare Advice For Beautiful Summer Skin

From Natural Moms - Natural Skincare Recipes

Becky from Suburban Matron - In Which I Am Vain and Reckless

Do you still have acne as an adult? Are you seeing unwanted signs of aging on your face? Do you see a dermatologist? What do you think about Retin-A? Have you used it? Did you like it? Hate it? Let me know in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

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