Skin Care

Starting Tretinoin

And I am absolutely terrified! Reason being is that my skin looks pretty flawless right now, or as close to it that it has been since having moved to a metro area which really freaked it out. I don’t eat dairy, meat or processed sugar and I drink my body weight in water so please, no helpful tips 🙂 Moving to a city where the air and water are chalk full of toxins, destroyed my skin and it has taken me years to get it back to a point where I feel good about not wearing foundation constantly. I am starting tretinoin as the first step in getting rid of the lines around my mouth that make me look like I have been smoking for the entirety of my existence (I have smoked 2 cigarettes in 31 years and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even do it right) and am desperate to get rid of. Since I do get occasional breakouts, my skincare professional recommended adding tretinoin since it has acne fighting abilities but is also a powerhouse anti-aging ingredient. It’s no bullshit and I honestly haven’t had the best of luck using any retinoid that I have tried. This time, I feel like my skin is ready and I have read every single article, scoured every discussion board, watched countless progress stories plus annoyed my dermatologist with any question that’s popped into my head to the point that she’s probably ignoring me now but it doesn’t feel like enough! I actually filled my prescription on Thursday and still haven’t put it on my face because I am a chicken but I have some good reasons.

Architects Daughter Regular

The last time that I used a product like this was from the Ordinary and it was their Advanced Retinoid 2% that people were raving about. I started slow with the M/W/F rotation, I thought that I would ease myself into it but it still burnt the shit out of my skin. A week in, I thought that I was having a full-blown allergic reaction, my skin was hot to the touch, it was red, I had purple troughs under my eyes that looked like bruises and some serious swelling. Needless to say, I stopped using it and while I might be in the minority or on the extreme side of the adverse reaction spectrum, cannot believe that this stuff is available over the counter. Oh, then my entire face mulched including my eyelids. I have to say my skin looked baby smooth and amazing after all of that but so not worth it and unfortunately, this is a very common side effect of tretinoin as well.

Architects Daughter Regular

Apparently, even though my skin looks really great on the surface, this product speeds up the process of cell turnover and I could see some major breakouts as blockage that I don’t even know was there is pushed to the surface – say it ain’t so. I am so beyond done with zits and pimples, I don’t want to deal with a major breakout.

Architects Daughter Regular

It feels great and really well-moisturized right now but I could see flaking, scaliness and dry patches once I start using this prescription and I don’t want to have to start changing the routine that has been working so well for me. Wah, wah.

Architects Daughter Regular

I am a chemical exfoliant junkie and will have to knock this off when I start my new routine, I can reintroduce them when I am used to the new addition but I will miss peeling my face. No Glow Tonic, No Peel Polish, no BHA’s, no…you get the idea. I mean, maybe the great news is that I won’t need these anymore…?

Architects Daughter Regular

I have read a lot of testimonials, including from dermatologists who refuse to prescribe retinoids at all and many of them mentioned that this isn’t something that you should use for the rest of your life. My concern though is that once I get to a point where the wrinkles are diminished and I stop using it, they will just become apparent again. I wish that there was a more permanent fix but even laser treatment and fillers require maintenance and may not be totally effective. I am trusting that my dermatologist knows what she is doing though, I am no skincare expert and I guess I am excited to see what happens. Update: still haven’t put it on my face.

Honestly, after all my research and follow-up discussions, I get why retinoids are so popular for treating a myriad of skin conditions but I don’t know if the side effects are worth it and I hope I don’t end up regretting this. If you never hear from me again, you know it went poorly and I am just over here reading Harry Potter.

Thanks for stopping by <3


  • Photobaugh

    I have been using retinol for a few years now and I use the same The Ordinary serum you mentioned. The serum says not to use with a retinol, so I alternate nights. Honestly, I haven’t had a bad reaction to either ones, but then there are other products that do a number on me. It’s weird how that happens. (Oh, and I have noticed lately those same lines around my upper lip that I have never had before, and am wondering if there’s any chance it’s the metal straw I started drinking out of all day??!?) Best of luck!

    • quitesimplystella

      So many people rave about it – I wanted to love but it just wasn’t for me. Agreed, you just never know sometimes how you’re going to react! Interesting! I stopped drinking out of a CamelBak because I realized I was pursing my lips using it. You could be right, pesky lines!

  • stashy

    Good luck with the tretinoin!
    I had a bad reaction to a retinoid from Paula’s Choice but I think I went too quickly into it.
    Now I’m using a French pharmacy topical treatment called A313 Pommade (previously it was Avibon) and it’s working really well to prevent or quickly heal blemishes in my trouble area (my chin). I only had mild irritation and that was from my applying too thick of a layer.
    I hope the tretinoin gives you the results you want and none of the bad side effects!

    • quitesimplystella

      They’re such tricky products! Glad that you found something that works for you 😊 That’s always a nice feeling. Keeping my fingers crossed, I’ll be sure to report back!!

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