I’ve never had acne. And I mean it! When I was a teenager, I would get one pimple here and there, but nothing major like most people get during their teen years. However, things changed when I moved to the United States. I’m Brazilian, and whilst living in Brazil, my skin was beautiful.
But like I said, when I moved to the United States, this happened:
The quality of the photos are not the best because I just didn’t want to take photos while my skin was looking like that. It all started after my first 3 months in the US. Until this day, I truly don’t know what happened and why my skin reacts to this country the way it does. The acne was mostly on my cheeks and sometimes chin or jaw area. I thought it was because of the hard water, so I bought a filter for my faucet and even rinsed my face with spring bottled water. Nothing seemed to make it work. I took antibiotics, used benzoyl peroxide (which helped quite a bit, but the side effects like dryness and staining my clothes were unbearable), tried azelaic acid, and nothing. I thought I would have cystic acne for the rest of my life.
When I was having a crisis due to my skin being to way it was, I said ENOUGH and went to see a dermatologist. He recommended me tretinoin which saved my skin. If you don’t know what tretinoin is, it is a derivative of vitamin A, only available with prescription and it costs sometimes over $200 for a little tube. Luckly, I have a pharmacy near my house that sells tretinoin for $30 and I am a happy girl! Side note: I still don’t know why it costs that much in the United States, because in Brazil it costs $20. Anyway.I use the tretinoin gel since the cream formula clogged my pores. Yep, even though tretinoin is used to treat pimples, I knew something was wrong because I was getting clogged pores on my forehead, which doesn’t have any pimples whatsoever, so I switched to gel and it’s just lovely!
Tretinoin is used for many people to treat and prevent wrinkles, since it causes the cells of the skin to grow (divide) and die more rapidly, increasing the turnover of cells. The first few weeks are a disaster, you will get some more pimples, and your skin will pell like crazy! But after the wave of craziness happens, and your skin get accostumed to it, you will start seeing the results you wanted. Tretinoin was found to treat acne, which is also the reason why some dermatologists prescribe tretinoin to people with stubborn acne. Tretinoin also helps with the dark spots left by cystic acne, which is a big plus! You’re treating acne, preventing wrinkles and fading dark spots. It is a life saver!
Tretinoin can’t be used by pregnant women. So if you are pregnant, stay away from it, it can harm your baby. It also causes your skin to be very sensitive to the sun, so make sure to wear sunscreen everyday.
After a couple of months, I can proudly say that I only get some pimples here and there during hormonal days (hello PMS), and I am overall extremely happy with my skin. I’ve finally gotten rid of my cystic acne and I am rinsing my face with normal water, from the shower and faucet. I will continue to use tretinoin as a way to prevent wrinkles and also keep me acne free for the rest of my life!
*I only have a layer of tinted moisturizer on my skin but you can still see my skin underneath
Side note: you will start off using the tretinoin 0,025%, which is the weakest version. Once your skin is accostumed to this amount, you will switch to the 0,05% and then you may use the strongest one, which is 0,1%. I still to this day use the 0,5%.
UPDATE: I have started using the 0,1% Tretinoin in March 2018. It’s amazing and I am really happy with it. I am also still using the other Tretinoin products mentioned in this post, but I alternate them.