Aug 16, 2011

Skin Care Journey Part 1 Retin A & Tazorac

When I initially decided to take it upon myself to take better care of my skin I first introduced  Retin A and this by far is probably the most important long term product anyone can use.
I can remember vividly just how confusing the whole process became when I first began my 'serious' skincare routine but hopefully the information below will help you eradicate some of the unnecessary 'mistakes' I made along the way!
Pro's of Retin A & Tazorac
Reduces existing wrinkles (Yay)!
Holds off aging of the skin (wrinkles) with continuous use
Easy to apply
Very cost effective if purchased from ADC
Takes at least 5 months before you notice a significant difference in existing wrinkles
Makes your skin extremely sun sensitive therefore it is imperative that you use a good sunscreen
When you first start using Retin A or Tazorac it can take a little time to get through the initial 'peelie's' but this can be helped by manual exfoliation such as a moist wash clothe in the shower, but the best thing I have found is the use of a Clarisonic. Unfortunately they are quite expensive but got mine through a swap on the MUA board and I am so glad I did as this alone makes my skin look flawless when I apply my foundation.
If you have normal skin i.e no acne, not excessively dry or oily the 'cream' is by far the best way to go as the gel is more for acne sufferers and can be very drying.
Start with the lowest strength (0.025%) then if you can tolerate this increase to the 0.05%.
It is not necessary to increase up to the 0.1% (the highest) as it has been proven that using the 0.05% is as efficient but less irritating.
Retin A and Tazorac must always be applied in the evening due to the sun sensitivity issue.
When you remove your makeup and cleansed your skin try to always leave at least 30 minutes before applying the Retin A...this is something that originally I did not do and at one point I was going to quit completely as I could not stand the irritation... but once I followed this simple '30 minute'rule everything just fell into place.
When you first start with the Retin A you can weaken the formula more by 'buffering'...all this means is mixing equal parts of moisturizer to Retin A before applying.
Start by applying twice a week then slowly increase to every other day.
I have been using Retin A 0.05% for over 4 years now and have recently changed to Tazorac 0.05%...
When I first started on the Retin A I originally jumped straight in with the 0.1% and boy was that a mistake! My face peeled continuously and was red raw. I decided (on advice from a friend) to use the 0.05% and only apply it every third day and everything calmed down and I finally started seeing results:-)
Gel Vs Cream
The cream causes less dryness....remembering that there is a difference between the 'flakies' (peeling) and dryness.
The Gel is more drying and appears to be mostly used by those who suffer with acne.
Percentage Controversy!
There is the 'big' controversy as to what percentage we should use. Professionals advice that if you have never used Retin A before you should start off with the lowest which I believe is 0.01% then jump to the 0.025% then the 0.05% then the 0.1%. After much research and trial and error I have found that it is not necessary to start off with the very lowest because you can create a gentle introduction to Retin A by doing the following:
Below is how I have worked the Retin A over the years to what I feel enables me to get the best results:

I Started with 0.05% (gel or cream which ever will work best for your skin)
Apply the 0.05% first wait 5 minutes then apply your regular moisturizer (this is called buffering)
Do this every third day for one month.
If you are not having any irritation other than what is meant to happen when using Retin A bump it up to very other night.
Do this for a couple of weeks.
If you think you are again tolerating it well start using the Retin A one evening without the moisturizer then alternate with.
Do this for a couple of weeks until you think you can tolerate the Retin A without buffering.
After much research, it has been proven that jumping up to the full strength of 0.1%  is not necessary as the 0.05% has the exact overall long term effect but with less irritation, hence why I decided to stay on the 0.05%.
After approximately four years on the Retin A 0.05% I started to look into Tazorac which is a retinoid but a different formula and started to notice that many were raving about it so I started asking some questions. One lady on the board said that sometimes after a few years on the Retin A you can start to notice that the initial repair starts to slow down (keeping in mind that the long term use of Retin A truly does stave off the signs of aging) so long term use is the key here. I decided to give Tazorac a try and I am so pleased I did as it has given me a much needed boost to my skin care routine and has taken me into the next level I had been looking for.
Tazorac comes in either 0.05% Gel or 0.1% cream but considering Taz is stronger than the Retin A I decided to try the gel as it was of a lower strength (Tazorac gel does not have the same drying effect as the gel Retin A)

Here is my routine when I first started introducing Tazorac:
Wash and remove makeup
Wait at least 30 minutes (this is very important because if you do not you will become very irritated) then apply Tazorac.Wait 30 minutes then I applied a moisturizer
I started off doing this twice per week only and slowly increased it to every other night over the next month.
So far I have not had any irritation nor excessive peeling but this may be due to my skin already be accustomed to the Retin A use.
Of course this is what worked for me and I was (am) continuing to work on sun damage, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture...all the usual aging things with the intention staving off the ageing process as long as I possibly can!


  1. Useful info. I learned new things, esp. about Taz. Thank you for this blog and stay beautiful!