Whatever you’ve experienced during Adapalene’s treatment: DON’T QUIT & NEVER STOP.
Scrolling through my posts in this blog, I realized I missed to update my Adapalene Journey. So I thought, I just compile them plus giving you an update on my skin condition these days. If you haven’t read about my first encounter with Adapalene, read here.
My last update in this blog was on week 8, which looked pretty good already. But I did update on my Instagram Stories, so you might want to check the highlights here.
So they said that Retinol Uglies aka purging due to Retinol will last for approximately 6 weeks, but I saw improvement on week 8. I guess my skin had a lot of closed comedones aka clogged pores, that’s why I presumed it took longer for my skin. Sharing you weeks after week 8, so you might have a greater glimpse of the purging situation.
Then one day, on June 2021 I stopped using Adapalene, because I had botox treatment (click here). Yes, after Botox you have to stop any exfoliation for 14 days. That was the beginning of another acne hell.
Obviously, I didn’t last for 14 days exfo fasting, on day 10 I decided to start using Adapalene again. After some research, I found out that we shouldn’t stop using Adapalene even though our skin got clearer. IT IS A FOREVER THING! Thankfully, it’s safe to use for a long run.
Lessons learned: DON’T STOP using Adapalene even though you already satisfied on the result. And please note that I also have other products in my skincare routine to help achieve my latest skin condition.
Got a few DM on my Instagram about Retinol, so I guess I’ll answer them here while also giving you update on my skin condition.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist, so these are totally based on my own personal experience.
Q: If I successfully cleared up acne after using Retinol, shall I continue using it or stop? A: Based on my own experience, I tried to reduce the usage to once every night. So on non-Retinol night, I’ll use other actives serums like AHA or BHA (depends on my skin’s condition).
Q: Will the acne be back even after you manage to clear them out using Retinol? A: As long as I’m alive, I guess I’d still have acne hanging around. My mom used to tell me that after I passed my teenage years, my acne would clear up by themselves. Well, they didn’t. Hormonal acne on chin area are the worst for me, so they’d pop out uninvited, no matter how clean I cleansed or how diligent I am with my routine.
Q: What’s the correct order to apply Retinol on one’s skincare routine? A: First thing first, use it at your night time skincare routine. Mine would be: double cleanse, hydrating toner, Niacinamide serum (just because it works well with Retinol), moisturiser then Retinol. If you’ve been following me, you’d probably know that I use two types of Retinol, Adapalene as base and Retinoic Acid as spot treatment. Please don’t apply them on their own, at least you can do is to mix with your moisturiser after cleansing.
Q: How about the skincare routine for morning, after using Retinol? A: Best that you can do is to treat your skin gently in the morning. Cleanse with gentle cleanser, use hydrating toner, moisturiser and never forget your sunscreen (even if you are not out and about like me).
Q: What type of Retinol are you using now? A: Evalen Adapalene Cream 0.1% and Vitacid 0.05% Retinoic Acid Cream. Adapalene went first for the whole face, then Retinoic Acid as spot treatment (on acne and acne marks). Both are local products, so they’re affordable.
Yeay, it has been 12 weeks since my Adapalene journey. And I guess pictures will speak a thousand words, so here’s my before-after pics.
Please note that I do use Retinoic Acid on top of Adapalene for 12 weeks.
I just want to say that I’m glad that these prescription strength creams really worked on my hormonal acnes and closed comedones. Yes, the first 5 weeks was a nightmare and I almost gave up. But this pandemic really helped me, because all of the bad purging were hidden underneath mask. And FYI, based on everything that I read or watch in YT, Adapalene needs max 12 weeks to show its’ result. Mine already got better on week 8, fortunately. No more bumps and no more big zits. Big improvement shows on the chin area, while these creams won’t work on milia and sebaceous filaments that I have on my left cheek (might need another Cauter session after the pandemic is over-God knows when).
Am I still going to use both creams? Yes, to maintain my skin condition, but I’ll make sure I minimized their doses or use both every other day. Should you try it? Please check to your dermatologist first, because both are prescription-strength products and not everybody will have the same reactions and results. GOOD LUCK!
It’s almost a month (if you want to see my weekly update, please go to my IG stories highlight) and to think of it, I’m not even halfway there yet (sigh).
So, I can definitely tell you that Adapalene really helped my problem with oil plugs a lot. I had severe bumps on my left cheek and chin only, so I only apply the cream there instead of the whole face. First, it really help to push the existing oil plugs out, either they became blackheads or pustules. Then, it helps to stop the new oil plugs from forming. Of course when there are no more new oil plugs, my skin felt smoother. If I rubbed it now, I can feel lesser bumps.
On week 2, I decided to add Retinoic Acid as spot treatment. Under the name Vitacid (another local brand), it’s another prescription-strength topical skin treatment. From my point of view, it speeds up the progress (gunks up to surface, I mean). But I warn you, this is really potent, so please consult with your derm if you want to try.
I can’t wait until month 3! Anyway, here are my current skin condition.
What are their differences and which one to choose according to your skin problems?
My first introduction to this Vitamin A game, was Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.
Contains 1.0% Retinol, I was worried when I first applied it. Purging is like a nightmare, and I don’t think I can deal with it (at that time before pandemic). Turned out, I didn’t purge at all using this cream. I applied twice a week and it did bring slight changes to my skin. It made my skin smoother with less oil plugs and it did deflate acne. I kept going using this for almost a year, until I realized that my hormonal acne and whiteheads on chin area kept on appearing when I used this oil-based cream.
That’s when I decide to step up my game to Adapalene right on this pandemic moment. As I’m also in a saving mode, I was glad to find Evalen Krim, a local brand from Indonesia. It’s super affordable compared to an imported brand, and yes, I was surprised by the great result (so far). Currently I’m still on my Adapalene journey (read here for the early stages), but I can already see drastic change on my skin. Adapalene seems to push every closed comedones I have out to the surface. Scary at first, it was like getting a bad facial. But I learned throughout the process, they showed up fast but they will be gone fast too. And eventually, they all will get better in 12 weeks (max). So, cross my fingers and I’ll update on separate blog post.
Then, I found a YouTuber applied Retinoic Acid on top of her Adapalene in her night time routine. I was like, what? Double the A’s, really? But turned out, it worked for her and I certainly wouldn’t mind to jump into the same wagon while #stayathome all the time. So, now I also apply Vitacid 0,05% Retinoic Acid Cream as a spot treatment on top of Adapalene.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED:
It’s true when they said that Retinol tends to have fewer side effects than Retinoic Acid. It’s gentler, so if you just started in this Retinol game, start with Retinol first then you can upgrade if your skin can tolerate.
Both of Retinol and Retinoic Acid are vitamin A (under the same RETINOID umbrella), but Retinol contains a lower concentration of the active Retinoic Acid ingredient. Compared to Retinoic Acid, Retinol is about 20 times less potent. So if you feel (like me) Retinol worked too slow, maybe it’s time to fasten up. But don’t just take it from me, speak with your dermatologist first.
I believe Retinol is more ‘cosmetic’, while Retinoic Acid is more prescription strength that goes deeply into the skin to stimulate collagen production & increase cell turnover.
Adapalene is a synthetic Retinoid and it’s supposedly better tolerated than Retinoic Acid. From my experience so far, it normalized both of my skin struggles: keratinization and microcomedone formation.Everyone might experience different side effects, especially during the first few days of treatment. Just be patient, they are not magic in a tube.Always sandwich with a gentle cleanser and three step moisture method (water, humectant, emollient). I guess I survived not having super bad ‘retinization’ (redness, dryness, and flaking caused by Retinoid), because of this method.
Since July 29 2020, I’ve introduced Adapalene into my routine.
After a lot of careful thoughts and hundreds of YT reviews that I’ve watched while #stayathome, I finally decided to just go for it. Should’ve started earlier since the beginning of this pandemic though, so it might resolve my skin problems earlier. But, better late than never, right?
If you’ve been following me on my IG and reading my blog, you’ll know my never ending fight with acne, from fungal acne back in 2018 until adult and hormonal acne (especially on chin area) in 2020. I think I have tried mostly everything, AHA, BHA, LHA, PHA … you name it! I’ve used Retinol (Drunk Elephant) and of course they are all different in what they do. Over The Counter Retinol might has fewer side effects, but it takes several months to a year for visible results. Meanwhile, Adapalene, which is a Retinoid, is way stronger, making it an ideal treatment for acne.
I’ve had the urge to try Adapalene before, but never had the courage. The risk of purging heavily for 12 weeks, really put me off by that time (that was before this pandemic #stayathome situation).
But now, who knows when this pandemic is going to end? While staying at home all the time, I guess this is the right time for me to start Adapalene, with all its’ risks. If I have to go out, I’d wear mask anyway and cover the bad purging situation.
Since I’m on a saving mode, I decided to use a local Adapalene instead of imported ones. I’m using EVALEN KRIM ADAPALENE 0,1%, it’s very affordable (IDR52K for 10gr tube). They also have this in gel format, but after I saw some reviews, I decided to use the cream version. I believe cream forms are gentler with lesser side effects.
Now, I’m going to share with you guys my skin progress on week one (I will update again on month one, so stay tune).
DAY 1: Was the hardest, seriously. I was paranoid all night that I’d wake up with angry zits all over my face. But, turned out, NOT! Only two zits felt really itchy, red, swollen and ready to be pop. So I use acne patches on those two.
DAY 2: Apparently but those two zits with puss just didn’t budge with acne patch, so (don’t follow me) I decided to pop them. Of course, I left myself with two huge PIE aka red acne marks on my chin.
DAY 7: I decided to show my weekly (not daily) progress on my IG stories highlight. BTW, on day 5 I decided to apply Evalen every night for more speedy progress, since (thank God) I didn’t experience any bad irritation. Turned out, those oil plugs on my chin will either became blackheads or pustules. Which I think was great, because blackheads and pustules are easier to pop (either intentionally or unintentionally).
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
Start with every other night application for two weeks, than use it every night after that.
Don’t do it on daylight. Always apply at night time before bedtime only.
Better to apply and sleep with it in an Air-Con room.
I strongly suggest to do 3 step moisture method beforehand. Read here on how to do it.
Mix Adapalene with your moisturizer with 1:2. So one drop of Adapalene mix with two drop of moisturizer. This is a way to buffer Adapalene in order to lessen the effects of irritation and such.
Wait for your other skincare to dry before applying.
Avoid areas such as eyes, around the nose and lips.
Make sure you generously moisturize and apply sunscreen the morning after.
Stay away from physical or chemical exfoliants which can lead to over-exfoliation.
Be patient, just like pandemic, everything takes time to heal.
PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA
(UPDATE) Next Progress, here and how to survive the retinol uglies, here