My Results : 3 Months of Tretinoin for Acne

acne pimple comic

So I promised I would do a follow-up post to my original: My Firsth Month On Tretinoin for Acne. In that post, I gave you a week by week picture to track my progress– now I’ll let you know what 3 months was like! I have to admit I did not get photos for each week, I got busy some weekends, and even more embarrassing to admit was that my skin turned pretty bad during the second month and I just skipped the photos entirely. 🙁 However, I did manage to get enough for you to see real progress and I am very happy with my results.

** Keep in mind all photographs shown here are taken by myself using my iPhone. I used the HDR setting so you could see my skin under different light settings.**

For the past three months I have stuck to a fairly straight forward skincare routine. I don’t test out as much products on my face now since I don’t want to mess up what has been fixed so far, but just as a reminder here is what I am doing and how I am using it.

Step 1 :Cleanser

cerave hydrating cleanser

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser (using daily AM/PM)


Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash ( using 1-2 per week ONLY, CANNOT use 2x in a single day too drying and aggrevates exisiting acne)

Step 2: Treat with Benzoyl Peroxide

DDF 5 percent BP gel acne treatment gel that works

DDF 5% BP Gel with Tea Tree Oil (was using all over lower half of face but too drying, now only applied as spot-treatment and 2-3/week on cheeks only)

Step 3: Treat with Tretinoin


Atralin (Tretinoin) 0.05% (used 5 out of 7 days of week, entire face treated)

Step 4: Moisturize Skin

cerave moisturizing lotion

Cerave moisturizing Lotion (used AM/PM daily, or after anytime I wash my face)

avene hydrance optimale light

Avene Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream (used around more sensitive areas of the face AM/PM daily like corners of mouth and nose)


I do use Ole Henriksen’s Blue/Blackberry Enzyme Mask for added moisturization and exfoliation of peeling skin, but my use varies from 1-3 times a week depending on how my skin is doing.

Ok, ok…you’ve done enough reading, here are my results

Week 6

6 weeks using tretinoin for acne6 weeks using tretinoin for acne side view

Week 8

8 weeks using tretinoin for acne

8 weeks using tretinoin for acne

ok…this is when it started to get horrific in my eyes. The pimples all came out during month two. It was terrible and for a while I thought it was just getting worse. I managed to continue with treatment but was honestly crossing my fingers at the same time!

Week 9

9 weeks using tretinoin for acne9 weeks using tretinoin for acne
As you can see during week 8 my skin was inflamed and red– that isn’t just the photos. In week 9 photos I am healing but have some terribly noticeable marks. My effort to stop touching my face went into full effect around this time. I seriously cannot stress enough how important it is for us acne sufferers to keep our hands off our face. Give yourself a test over the weekend or some 3 day period where you can commit to not touching your face. And by touching your face I mean stop popping “the little ones”, stop messing with the big ones “to make them go away faster”, just stop touching them all together. In my case 3 days of no touching made me realize I was making the acne worse and now I do whatever I can to promise myself no touching! The pimples will heal faster, promise!

Curious how my skin looks at week 12? Here is goes, let me know what you think. Do you see improvement? I think so! Right at this moment I don’t have a single pimple to complain about. My

skin is clear and I am enjoying it!

12 weeks using tretinoin for acne12 weeks using tretinoin for acne12 weeks using tretinoin for acneThe marks you see now are mostly leftover scarring. I will have to ask the doctor how well tretinoin will work to fade those, or if I will need to add something to my regime. I know hydroquinone is something used to lighten dark spots, but it’s also had so much negative light shined on it I wouldn’t want to pick one out myself. My next appointment is early December so we will see.





18 thoughts on “My Results : 3 Months of Tretinoin for Acne

  1. Wow! Very nice progress. I definitely see a improvement (although you were lovely to begin with). I cannot agree more about your comments regarding not touching the face. By not touching the face, the skin will not only heal faster, it also keeps the introduction of bacteria at bay. Good job!

    • sometimes what i do is squeeze half a lemon and mix it with 2 teoospans of honey until its just a golden liquid’ then using my fingers i spread that all around my face after washing it then let it sit for 10-15 minutes while just laying down as not to move your face a lot then wash it off and pat dry obviously with a towel and it sort of gives you a natural glow and also makes your skin really soft

  2. Okay I have to tell you how amazing of a perosn you are. The courage it takes to share your story and your progess is unbelievable and I think you look absolutley beautiful! I am so happy for you and feel extremely priveleged that you allowed your readers to experience your progress with you. I agree with Judith as well – not touching the face is so hard, but it pays off in the end!


  3. I definitely see an improvement. Wow. You still look gorgeous as ever anyways! 🙂 I may go look for the cleanser and moisturizer you are using to see if it helps me any…it seems like it doesn’t irritate your skin at all. Keep up the good work!

  4. WOW! You are completely acne-free! Amazing 🙂 i’m currently using Atralin as well! It’s been a month and I’m currently going through my initial breakout period so far so good not a lot of drying up and evey day I notice my skin improving even though and all the junk is rising to the surface but I find that gooood! Ah I’m so happy for you and your minor marks will fade soon no worries :)!

    • Yay another atralin user! Keep up with your routine and you will be so happy. At this point I dont even need to use the Benzoyl peroxide AT ALL. Just the cleanser and the atralin… so glad i stuck it out because i felt so ugly for that second month. Ive NEVER had clear skin like this before. thank you so much for your comment!

  5. I am impressed, I have to say. Really rarely do I discovered a blog that is both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. Your article is outstanding; the issue is something that not many people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  6. I have been using Tretinoin (generic) for about 6 months now and LOVE the results… But have struggled with the balance of my skin being TOO dry and with winter upon us, it’s gotten out of control. 🙁 I’m so happy I came across your blog! This is info I couldn’t even get out of my dermatologist!! I’m ordering the enzyme mask ASAP and picking up some of the Cerave lotion to try out. Currently using Cetaphil daily moisturizer and it is not doing the trick. THANKS for the info!!! 🙂

    • Yay Mary! Another tretinoin user! It is tough to balance the skin, especially during the winter! This will be the first winter I am using the stuff and can already feel the dryness of my skin moreso. I have laid off the acne wash ENTIRELY at this point and only dab on the benzoyl peroxide if anything pops up. Its all about moisturizing the skin from here on out! I’m so so soooo happy I was able to help! When I first started on the treatment i searched everywhere and honestly thought that id end up looking worse after reading everyone’s horror stories. Glad to hear you are on your six months….i think i must be at 4 or 5 now? Use the cerave– it helps– and you don’t have to worry about going overboard and greasififying your face. Have you seen my post about avene? I used that in the REALLY dry areas and it helps: Hope this helps ♥ Claudia

  7. Hey girl! Just got around to reading this. I think I’ll pick some of the Avene up first. Sounds like EXACTLY what I need. Last week I actually did a homemade sugar scrub (olive oil + sugar) and the next day, my face looked significantly better. I was getting frustrated because I was having a lot of extra breakouts around my chin, the kind that I had worked so hard to get rid of using the tretinoin. Now, I believe it was only happening because my skin was so painfully dry. Perhaps my skin was making extra oil,etc to compensate? Who knows. This keeping skin clear thing is a lot of work! 😛

  8. Pingback: [Review] Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50

  9. I have been using tretinoin for about two months I would say now and I did notice that my pores got smaller, but i still have black heads EVERYWHERE and pimples that pop up everyday all over my face. mostly i have really clogged and bumpy pores on my forehead and then I have painful acne on my cheeks and jaw line and temples. They come up as white heads after a day, and i ALWAYS pick at my face. but I am just worried that it isn’t working. what should i do?

    • it IS working. Remember…its really bringing all the yucky stuff up to the surface so your going to get some ugly, bad pimples in those first three months. I know its hard. It feels like it gets worse…and it kinda does. But if you keep up with it you will not regret it. Keep using it…it just takes time. Have you seen how much my skin cleared at the 6 month mark?

  10. I used Cerave for years, but stopped using it because I found better results with Citrus Clear products. Typically whatever the dermatologist gives me works for a while, but then stops. Now that my acne has become a lot more mild. I’ve been using Citrus Clear every day and it really helps a lot. I felt like Cerave was only moisturizing and not really cleaning, but I really feel clean and refreshed after using the Citrus Clear Face Wash. I’d recommend it to any teenager who just wants their freaking acne to go away for good.

  11. I just hit the 5 month mark and still experience some breakouts although they go away rather quickly. Did you experience this at all? I have my fingers crossed that I will be clear at the 6 month mark.

    • hmm. I would speak to your Derm. By the 5 month mark my skin was clear as can be. Did you incorporate anything new into your skincare regimine? Go through something extremely stressful? Maybe your case of acne started off worse than mine so it took longer? As far as I know it usually took anyone around 3 months to see good results and then maintenance beyond that point.

  12. Your skin looks so great! Thank you so much for this post. I have been doing so much research on tretinoin recently to see if it will actually work… I have been on tretinoin 0.025% cream for about a week and have only experienced really annoying peeling. I haven’t really noticed a change in the amount of breakouts that I’ve been getting. Plus my pores still seemed to be really clogged. Just crossing my fingers that this will finally be the thing that works for me!

C'mon....lemme know what you're thinking...