Skin Care

How Long do the Retin-a Uglies Last?

Using Retin-A For The First Time?

It seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? It’s supposed to make you look younger, but at the start it has the opposite effect. The peeling issues and dry skin issues with tretinoin are well documented. Still, we all think it won’t be so bad for us don’t we?

I’ve probably had more questions about this than any other post ever! I guess we are all trying to hold back the years. So I’ve tried to sum everything up for you in one post. Of course, you can still email me if you have more questions and I will do my best to get back to you in good time.

Many people give up after the first few weeks because it is not a great experience. I almost did myself, but then I thought, I’ve come this far, I at least need to give it six months.

You will Come Out The Other Side, I promise 🙂

I know it probably seems like you’ll be peeling forever, or that your skin will always be dry and feel like sandpaper. But you won’t and it won’t. I found after the first three months my skin started to settle down.

It took my skin around 5 months to settle and actually start to look better rather than worse. I am not a giver upperer it should be mentioned. I will battle on through most adversity in order to get to where I want to be!

 How Old Am I?

I’m 46 (update – 47) and I really wish I’d started to use Retin-A in my thirties. When I’m not smiling you can barely see any lines, but as you can see on the last image, they do appear when I smile. I quite like these lines though!

how to use retin atretinoin ugly phase - retina A before and aftersskin care over 40 retin a

Where Can I Buy It?

If you don’t have a prescription (you probably won’t be able to get one unless you have severe acne if you live in the UK) you’ll have to order it online, and it’s very doubtful you’ll be able to buy Retin A anywhere in the UK. I used to get it from a company called SkinCareFX but I have found they have become a little unreliable. The payment system is now GoogleWallet rather than a credit card payment gateway, so I bought my last lot from Ebay. I was lucky enough to find a UK seller. when you see them there, buy it right away because they will probably be made to take the listing down, particularly if it’s 0.1% tretinoin.

How Much Is A Good Price?

I pay around £20 per tube. If you buy online, you’ll be looking at around £8 postage.

Is It Dangerous?

I don’t think so. I did a lot of research and couldn’t find anything that said it was. I would suggest you do your own research though.

Can You Use It Around Your Eyes?

I do. Some will say no, but it works well for me. I don’t find it dries them out at all. I really don’t want to use botox around my eyes, and retin a works really well for me in this area. I don’t use much and I don’t rub it in, I just press it into my skin.

How Often Should You Use It?

It’s up to you. I use 0.1% on my face and neck just twice a week, and 0.05% around my eyes every night. I use glycolic acid on the nights I don’t use retin a.

Should You Moisturise?

Definitely. And you must use SPF every day. That is a must. Your skin will be more sensitive. Just stick to your usual skin care routine when it comes to other creams. You don’t have to stop using them, although I don’t mix glycolic creams with Retin A.

How Long Does It Take To See Results

At least three months, because in the first few months, you will only notice how horrible your skin feels. Even if there are improvements, you probably won’t appreciate them. At six months, you will notice a significant change in your skin. I’ve also noticed some of my sun damage is less visible.

Build Up Slowly

Don’t go at it 7 days a week right away. Start using it maybe two or three days a week to start with. Your skin may be a bit red and may tingle and itch at first, but that stops after a couple of weeks. Well it did for me.

What If I have Sensitive Skin?

You may or may not be able to hack Retin A if you have particularly sensitive skin. Don’t cause yourself issues by persisting if it seems like your skin doesn’t like it.

Can Retin A Get Rid Of Lines And Wrinkles?

I’m not sure it will ever get rid of my lines completely, and to be honest I’m not looking for that to happen. I don’t mind the few lines around my eyes. It definitely has reduced them, they are not as deep and the skin is definitely tighter, as collagen is significantly boosted when you use Retin A.


Retin A is not for the faint hearted. It will make your skin dry for a few months, and you may have to adjust your skin care routine into the future. Your skin will flake and peel for at least six weeks. Some people always peel, but I don’t. It does improve the texture of your skin and it does improve fine lines pretty significantly. It’s best to start in your thirties, but it works well on more mature skin too.

Retin A - getting through the ugly phase

tretinoin before and after - tretinoin uglies
By far the most noticeable improvement is the texture of my skin.

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