So this post is a little bit embarrassing since that is my face, zero makeup, zero filters, right after washing it; but I hope it will be VERY useful for you.
Ok so, it was around July 2015 when I realized (not for the first time but the “severity” of) the dark spots on my cheeks, specially the left cheek (the one you can see in the pics). I felt very depressed! I can’t even explain my feelings on that moment. I will turn 30 this year and it’s an important number, at least this is how I feel society feels about it.
I started to think of a lot of options… peelings, going to dermatologists, etc… etc… and all of them required more money that I could spend and me being afraid of how my face would look afterwards. I started to look for pins on the matter of wrinkles, spot, cell turnover, etc… and found that everybody praises retinoid-based treatments. I didn’t want to go for something full of chemicals but missing the MAIN chemical I need… so I made a little bit of research (essentially with my mom who used to own a pharmacy) and I thought of giving Retin-A a try. I looked for a lot of before/after photos, some of them looked like a miracle, some of them were a mess. A lot of very strong reactions, a lot of peeling or not peeling but irritated skin… I read probably 30 websites that talk about it before actually buying it.
Fortunately for me, in Mexico you can buy it without a prescription, so it’s totally fine; in the US you do need a prescription but I suppose you could get one from a dermatologist (which is going to be a bit pricey?) or you could stop by a pharmacy when you stop in Ensenada when taking your cruises :). The cost of the tube was around $20 USD so by all means DON’T pay more than that.
So, I bought mine on August 2nd, 2015 (and I still have a 1/3 of the tube) at Costco. When I start doing something, I always try to take a photo so I can have a nice “Before”… but I’ve done this a 1000 times with a LOT of stuff, and I never take good “Before” pictures because I doubt there will be a good “After” one. Like a week ago, I was going through my backed up photos looking for my avocado plant “Before” pic (another post to come! about me growing an avocado tree), and I looked at those “Before” photos of my face… I was shocked! I went ahead and quickly checked myself on the mirror but I was wearing a light foundation so I couldn’t see my skin and compare it… when I got home after washing my face I was staring at it, at my left cheek… wow! How come I didn’t realize this was working?
I want to point out that both photos were taken with the back camera of my Samsung S5, I took the first one with a shaky hand and it’s not 100% clear/sharp, which would have made it more impressive… I just didn’t take many, tried like 2 or 3 times, saw they were coming up a bit blurry and I gave up, so this is the best one. The “After” photo was taken yesterday, same procedure, different time of the day so the light has a different color, tried to keep my hand as steady as I could but didn’t correct light, didn’t correct color, didn’t correct contrast, I didn’t do anything to the photos, just put them right next to another with Layout. And I’m sorry that in both cases my eyebrows are LESS than groomed… I just… I took a shower and took them… like the less I could mess with my face in order to get the real difference out there and share my amazement.
I need to confess that when I was younger… from 18 to 23 maybe, I was very paranoid with my skincare but I was very ignorant as well -not that I’m too savvy now-, so I used to buy a lot of very expensive stuff and put them all at once and they had a lot of “useless” chemicals (I mean, Retin-A is no apple concentrate) but then I got lazy… I barely washed my face and that was that… I kept a moisturizing lotion near me but maybe something from a beauty catalog like Ebel or something someone gave me as a gift… I didn’t really pay attention. For the lapse of 6 years I practically neglected my face (same time I have been working for my current company… coincidence?), so the day came when I saw myself in the mirror, with my washed face and I didn’t like it.
So what have I been doing for these past 8 months?
I’ll start with night-time because this is when you need to use your Retin-A:
- I clean my face, I would lie if I say I go through the whole process of warm water, mild soap, paper towel, blah blah… most of the time I use a baby wipe to clean it (more like 2 good/sturdy baby wipes), that’s it.
- I wait for my face to dry and every other day (sometimes I use it just 2 times a week) I apply Retin-A, you don’t need a lot, just a pea-size portion is enough. I put it on my index finger and then I “mark” spots on my whole face, then I use my 2 middle fingers to spread it using a circular motion over my entire face (and sometimes is more than what I need so my neck gets a little bit as well). The days I apply Retin-A, that’s it… my routine ends there. A lot of people say you need to wait 20-30 minutes until it’s absorbed completely and then put a moisturizing lotion; I used to do that for the first couple of months then I got lazy.
- For the days I’m not using Retin-A, I clean my face as previously stated and then I apply organic coconut oil to all of my face, I let it absorb it, then I apply a night-time moisturizing lotion (paraben-free).
- While showering I wash my face with a VERY mild paraben-free / sulfate-free soap.
- I apply the coconut oil, wait for it to be absorbed.
- I apply a moisturizing lotion (right now I’m using the 40 Carrots Moisture Splurge Retinol-rich moisturizing as seen here). Supposedly, I shouldn’t be using a Retinol treatment on top of Retin-A… but meh… I haven’t seen any adverse reactions and I really don’t think there’d be a huge difference. Plus I’m not using Retin-A everyday either.
- I apply a 50+ SPF sunscreen.
For me, this is A LOT of stuff… but I figured that in the mornings for example, I apply my coconut oil right after I step out of the shower and then as I drink my detox and dry my hair and whatnot… it gets fully absorbed. Then the moisturizer absorbs faster and the sunscreen absorbs fast as well… sometimes I just mix them if I’m really in a hurry.
My face peels… yep it peels, not all of the time, it peels around the nose and around the lips mostly. It’s annoying, but there’s nothing you can do about it really, just accept it. I googled about exfoliating while doing this but the treatment itself exfoliates you so I don’t want to even go there. What Retin-A does is that increases cell turnover rate on your face… so peeling it’s just a side effect, and some people never see it happen; still if your face doesn’t peel it doesn’t mean it’s not working. This treatment is also meant for nighttime, not daytime so be careful about it. I’m not going to fully explain how the cream works because there’s a lot of info already on Google, there’s a lot of different opinions as well and I believe you have to do whatever is working on your skin.
I’ve read it “erases” severe marks on your face, acne marks, wrinkles, etc… this is what this magic stuff has done for me. I never imagined this kind of progress until I went and check the “Before” photos… I’m really happy! I feel motivated, I feel this is now something I HAVE to do, not an optional thing. I’m expecting by August this year the little-still-visible spots will be gone forever… I will definitely keep you posted!
Have you used Retin-A? has it worked for you before?
As always, thanks for reading me and thanks for subscribing!