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The Retin-A Diaries

Posted Oct 17 2008 6:10pm

Two weeks ago, I started using Retin-A, in the hopes of both keeping my acne-prone skin clear and ridding myself of ever-deepening fine lines.  Now, I’m only 27 and am hardly in the market for a face-lift, but since I was in my early teens I’ve been firmly in the “ounce of prevention, pound of cure” camp and figure this is simply the next stage in my  fight against friendly engagement with aging.  The two years I spent living in Palm Beach wrecked havoc on my skin and aged me several years (Why did I not wear stronger sunscreen?  Why??), so now I’m frantically trying to reverse a little of the sun damage.  Retin-A users are advised to start slow, so I’ve been using it three times a week, and am trying to let my skin acclimate before upping my usage.  As it is, my complexion is already molting, to the point that friends have started to comment.  (”What’s with all this?” they asked confusedly, pointing to my flaking chin.  Sexy.)  I spent a week applying moisturizing masks at night, trying to balance out the dryness, until Dr. Solieman explained that this sort of resistance was not only futile, but actually counterproductive—he advised me to just bite the bullet and get over the initial “Oh my god, my face is falling off!” hump.  (My words, not his.)  Since Retin-A makes your skin especially sensitive to the sun, I’m using the kick-ass Obagi Nu Derm Healthy Skin SPF 35 sunscreen, which I heartily recommend for all skin-types.  It sinks in quickly, works well under makeup, and provides excellent broad-spectrum protection.  (My new hobby is checking out product listings on the Skin Deep website to evaluate toxicity; I still haven’t quite figured out how to use the database, but here’s the Obagi sunscreen listing, with great scores.)  As far as my Retin-A journey, I’ll keep you updated!

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