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Tretinoin - A Personal Account

tube of tretinonin cream
June 23, 2010 Reviewed by admin 39 Comments

Four weeks ago I was sitting in front of the ophthalmologist in tears, telling him I thought I had a neurological problem that was making me go blind. He, skimming though four pages of a questionnaire that I had filled out upon coming in to his office said “stop using the Tretinoin, it’s toxic”. There was not only disapproval in his voice as he told me what Retinoids do, but disgust in his face too. He explained that Tretinoin changes the molecular structure and normal functioning of skin cells and oil glands. Eyes and tear ducts are a part of the network of cells and glands in the face. His diagnosis was that I was having a toxic allergic reaction to the Tretinoin (Retinoic Acid or Tretinoin is the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A) cream I’d been using for the past four weeks.

The faces of my mid 50s doctor and mid 60s dermatologist, less lined than what you’d imagine for their years, both said Retin-A was the reason for their youthful looking complexions. It was the faces of these two doctors that had convinced me that I could be winkle free for the next 25 years too! Certainly my reaction to Tretinoin isn’t typical, as I haven’t been able to find any information similar to this posted on the web. I haven’t used Tretinoin in 4 weeks now, but my eyes still aren’t back to the way they used to be. Maybe it’s because although I’d stopped using Tretinoin, I was still using products that contained Vitamin A and it’s derivatives? Now I’m reading every label and have stopped using all products which contain vitamin A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate, wheat germ oil, rosehip seed oil, carrots and spinach. If TIA readers have any others to add to my list, please post a comment as it just might help my recovery.

Also in kindness to my eyes, there are a few other things I’ve stopped doing to try and help them heal. I’ve stopped putting products with Argireline onto my eyelids. If Argireline inhibits the movements of muscles, then I shouldn’t be putting this on my lids, as eyelids need to move in order to blink. Common sense I know, but I just hadn’t given this any thought up until now. I’m no longer putting Osmotics FNS Follicle Nutrient Serum on my lash’s either. Although the ingredients for both the Serum and FNS Lash are identical, Osmotics has intelligently omitted bergamot oil, an eye irritant from their lash product making it a much safer product for the eyes. After four weeks of putting the Serum on my lashes though, they were starting to look really quite good! It would be a safe bet to say then, that the FNS Nutrilash Eyelash Growth & Thickener would do the same.

As you can see, I’m making quiet a few adjustments to my facial routines…again! Sadly, I used the last precious drops of my Eshee’s Vitamin C Serum last week and will be mixing up some DIY C’s to compare to the luxury of Eshees’ Revitalizing C. If you have a DIY Vitamin C recipe that you love, please share that love and comment with your recipe! I’m continuing with Eshee’s Revitalizing C Serum and I’ll be submitting a review to Marta on this lovely little ampoule in just a few weeks.

I’ve been using New Chapter Organic’s Tamanu oil and unlike Marta, not willing to give up as quickly on the touted abilities of this tropical oil. The study done on scar reduction was a 9-week trial, so I’m willing to give it at least that and maybe even more! New Chapter’s oil is very thick and as expected made me break out when I slathered it all over my face. Now I’m just spot treating a couple of small scars and putting it all over my neck, décolleté and hands at night. I had found some KaplanMD samples a while ago that I had squirreled away, and really liked the Cell Renewing Microfoliant, Perfecting Serum and Eye Cream. Being impressed with the samples made it easy to take advantage of the 25% savings bundle Marta offered last week on the Perfecting Serum and Eye Cream. I am really excited to add both these products into my new routines!

Again this month Truth In Aging readers, I ask you to share the love, post your comments and submit your reviews to Truth in Aging. Your contributions make Truth In Aging the best site on the web for information on personal care products & reviews!

Marta adds: I followed up on this post from Junko and here is a link to a roundup of some of the research on tretinoin and safety.

  • May 29, 2018

    by Iman

    I m using ratin from from 6 weeks now and suddenly there are small bumps all over my face m i allergic to it should i stop using ratin a?

  • December 10, 2017

    by Ashley

    I have had a toxic reaction to tretinoin and I have developed headaches and head pressure along with dizziness and vision issues. I am extremely worried and scared that this will never go away. I am a mother. I am In school and working and this is debilitating. Not sure what I’m going to do. I am undergoing every kind of test. No doctor believes that this cream caused this issue for me.

  • November 9, 2017

    by cristina

    Hello, question, did you put Retin A around the eyes at all or did you really try to keep away from them? Thank you C

  • October 22, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Gloria, ultrasound will not erase scaring. It will plump and firm the skin and this may diminish the appearance of scars. Red LED light will be most helpful. The ideal regimen would be exfoliate, red LED light, a repairing serum (with epidermal growth factor, for example).

  • October 21, 2015

    by Gloria

    Hello, Marta. I got the renew vitality ultrasound,and laser light, my question is will it improve the area of the skin that has scar tissue when you use the ultrasound? Thank you

  • April 5, 2015

    by FKA

    If this is the issue WHY are we hell bent on using this poison? Why aren't we doing something about this?

    People are losing their vision and mind and it is still in use? I stupidly used it, after asking for reassurance, if it was ok to use on my skull - temple or face. I was told YES! by a bunch of racists ( that's all I can equate that level of hatred to) my skull started to hurt and deform, I am in pain, ,y head does not feel right, the actual head or skull is deforming! I t hurts, I feel it in my temple and now head area, the tissue feels soft too - it's nuts. STOP USING IT - it is poison and DANGEROUS. What are the ingredients exactly. I listened to the lunatic that sold me the product now I am in pain and confused why this is, what if this doesn't go away - what if t becomes worse, what then. Flipping lunatic!

  • November 30, 2012

    by Lisette

    This piece is very troubling. It's very important to let people know...
    - Which brand you were using. e.g. Retin-A contains a really bad irritant/allergen in its base cream, which you may have reacted to. It might not have been the Tretinoin that was agravating your eyes or your eye skin.
    - Which strength you were using. Your 'my eyes after Tretinion piece' makes it sound as if you were using far too much product, unsupervised, and without proper research into how to use it.
    - Which other products you were using in your eye area at the same time. It sounds like several, including eyelash-growth products, which could also be key.
    Also, no prescription skin product should be used so close to the eye rim that it could seep into the eye itself. That's just not wise at all.
    I hope you are doing much better now.

  • January 24, 2012

    by Junko

    Feel awful for you. Have you stopped using the Retin A? I HOPE SO....Having any problem what-so-ever with your eyes and vision is so scary. Once I stopped using the Tretinoin, it took longer than what I thought it would for the pain and vision to return. If I recall correctly, maybe 12-16 weeks. You'd think it would all go away right away, but it didn't. I think my eyes are more sensitive now than they used to be to light and strain. Please keep us updated on how your doing. Have

  • January 24, 2012

    by Rachel

    Hi Junko,

    I'm experiencing blurry vision in one of my eye. I haven't lost complete vision however, its difficult to see through my left eye when my right eye is closed. I have been to 4 doctors, and they all have no idea whats going on. They say my retina is intact. I started using the Retin A 0.025% gel for hyper-pigmentation, and I'm starting to think maybe this is the cause. I have an appointment with a neurologist because they think its optic neuritis. But I don't have all the symptoms just the blurriness in the left eye. How long did it take you to regain your vision? PS: I don't wear glasses or contacts. My vision was perfect before. Please Help

  • March 2, 2011

    by Junko

    Thank you Natalija! I'm going in to see the doctor for my annual check-up. I'll talk to her about the entire Tretinoin ordeal and your heavy metal toxicity thoughts as I have not seen her since last year, prior to all this happening. Hope you enjoy the Double Dose! Please post back and let us all know what YOU think of the eye cream!

  • March 2, 2011

    by Natalija

    Thank you, Junko, for sharing this with the TIA community so we may all continue to learn from each other. I wish you complete recovery and good health from here on out! On a side note, I just purchased your tested-and-approved "SenZen Double Dose Eye Cream" and am very much looking forward to trying it out myself!
    From a general health standpoint, I wanted to point out that it is a good idea to run a (simple urine) test for heavy-metal-toxicity. I can tell you from personal experience that I was surprised at what I found lurking around in my system. I just want to raise awareness about something that can go unchecked and often ignored by doctors, yet can wreak havoc on your entire body (and the way it responds to its surroundings). Live healthy!

  • February 10, 2011

    by Eva

    I have used a product called Tretinoin Cream, which among other things has .05% tretinoin or retin-A in it. It is burning my skin as I write this. I am on my way to the hospital in a few minutes. Any ideas on how to nutralize this stuff would be appreciated.

  • August 2, 2010

    by deborah rodell

    I have half a tube left and after reading Junko's valuable report, well I am blown away. I have used this stuff for over 5 years and once again am amazed with what products the experts allow us to buy without consideration to our health. Thank you J. for the informative and eye opening report. After reading this I am going now to my cabinet and checking all the ingredients. Sorry you had to find out the hard way but thank goodness there was a reason behind your problems. Keep us updated please, and good luck. Have you tried Camellia oil? This is very popular in Japan and I use it straight to clean my skin especially at night. Also will use it to refresh especially in winter. I have found it also brightens my skin. I am 58 and use no makeup just sunscreen and am also hesitant like you to just use what is ever the "new" wonder product out at the moment. Will be thinking of you in your search for healthy skin.

  • July 8, 2010

    by Sandy

    I just saw your post. You are welcome and I hope that your skin condition clears up and something works for you. I'm going to go now, I have got emu oil in my eyes (trying to grow my eyelashes) and everything is blurry:/

  • July 1, 2010

    by Junko

    I'm just amazed at the wealth of information and well wishes here. Lecithin helps to bind fats and cholesterol to water so that they can pass through the body rather than cause a potentially harmful buildup in the heart or liver. It might also help the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins as vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin D. This might be a good one try. Progress Report to come after I see the Derm again mid-July. Thanks so much everyone!

  • June 27, 2010

    by Sandy

    I was reading about lecithin today and came across something that indicates that taking lecithin granules (perhaps 1-3 tablespoons per day) could help get Vitamin A out of the liver if too much was taken. I also read about how a certain physician used lecithin to get dark spots off of the face and fat deposits around the eyes. The book said the lecithin was able to get into that fat around the eyes and remove stuff. It just reminded me of you and I thought you may want to know. I have taken Lecithin before but not on a regular basis because it's disgusting tasting to me. Other people like it. I read where a lady said to take and juice a fresh apple or pineapple and add a heaping tablespoon to the juice and allow it to dissolve and then you won't have any problems. I also read it should be taken before each meal. I read it wold help keep cholestrol from building up in our arteries if taken before each meal. I'm not sure how true that is but there are books and testimonials of people claiming to reverse heart disease with this stuff in 12 days by taking 3 tablespoons a day of this stuff for 12 days. Who knows? Anyhow I thought at least it may help.

  • June 25, 2010

    by SusanG

    Junko, 'hope you're feeling/doing better. I've read through all posts above & one thing seems abundantly clear. We're all (well, I think the majority of us that post here) looking for safe, affordable, reliable ways to look & feel as good as we possibly can for as long as we can.

    There is SO much out there these days... it's mind boggling. But your experience illuminates the need to proceed cautiously with some of this stuff. This is why I adore the TIA site/community & recommend it to all women I know & care about.

    Personally, I've used Retin-A with no complications off & on for 30 years now (used it for stubborn acne starting at 25; I'm 55 now, and still have the need for it from time to time).

    I do agree with what Sandy has to say above about Vit. C. I am very, very much into supplements. 'Don't care what some may say about Vit. C or supplements not "really" having any effect on our bodies/systems. That's pure hogwash. I've watched my body behaving and/or responding (in good ways) after taking certain supplements to think that it was purely coincidental.

    I take Vit. C in its purest form (ascorbic acid - sprinkle it on almost everything I eat). And I can't tell you the last time I got sick. My hair & nails grow like wildfire. If I get cuts or abrasions ('work out in the yard/garden a lot), they're healed in a matter of days. I could go on & on, but.. you get the gist of what I'm saying.

    I have figured out in the last 10 years or so that it is VITALLY important to have our insides working as well as they can. A healthy functioning liver & kidneys (especially) can do wonders in helping our bodies "fix" themselves when something is amiss.

    Oh well... 'just some thoughts. Please keep us posted as to how you're healing/progressing.

  • June 25, 2010

    by Julie Kay

    Jaysie- (using the caps from the link I posted above) I take one cap a day as a baseline. If my eyes are going through a "burning phase," I up it to 2-3. The dose is three a day, I believe, on the bottle. The cost is reasonable. We, here at our house, buy these by the 1,000s. =) I love TIA, as well. I want to make a PSA and let the world know we're here! Thank you, Jaysie! ~jk

  • June 25, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Junko - Thank you for posting what must be a very scary experience for you. I used Retin A micro a number of years ago for age spots on my cheeks - didn't do much after 6 mos of use. I didn't have any reactions other than the usual dry skin and, at the time, I did a lot of reading about Retin A and never saw anything about vision problems even though it's been around for at least 20 years. A very large segment of women getting Retin A via Rx were using it for crow's feet, so that's closer to the eye than what you were doing. I would certainly not contradict a physician, but since you didn't use the tretinoin around your eye area, I'm wondering if your vision may have been affected by some other product? I don't know what your vision problem was specifically, or how often you used the tretinoin (many use it only 2x or 3x a week), but I know from your various posts that you have used a variety of lash builders. Now that you have deleted many products from your regimen, it might be difficult to zero in on the culprit. BTW, if you are eliminating all forms of retinol, be sure to check all your hair products. I find it weird that many shampoos, conditioners (not as risky as you don't rub into the scalp and it's also rinsed out pretty quickly), and styling products contain retinyl palmitate. I do hope you will keep us informed on how your eyes recover. Sorry I don't have a Vit C DIY recipe for you - Vit C as a topical has never performed that great for me.

    Sandy - Thank you for all the Vit C info. I'm going to be doing some major reading on Vit C as a result of your recs. I have a skin condition that is largely ignored in dermatology research and I suspect it is viral in origin. That's just my armchair opinion after seeing numerous derms over the years. I might try Vit C therapy on my own as an antiviral.

    Julie Kay - Please post the dose you take of EFA Gold Flaxseed caps. I have dry eyes from time to time - too much computer & TV viewing...hours of glare! - so I'd like to start on the flaxseed. Fish omegas have made a little difference but not huge. Thanks!

    Love this TIA...wish I could have all of you over for tea and crumpets or some bubbly and cheese!

  • June 25, 2010

    by Sandy

    I do not believe Vitamin C to be a cure for all things. But I do believe it can help many things people do not realize. Here is an article I found:

    Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable, by Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D.

    [Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris Corporation. 2002. 1-888-795-4274. 451 pages. ISBN: 1-4010-6964-9 (Hardcover); 1-4010-6963-0 (Softcover)]

    The effectiveness and safety of megadose vitamin C therapy should, by now, be yesterday’s news. Yet I never cease to be amazed at the number of persons who remain unaware that vitamin C is the best broad-spectrum antibiotic, antihistamine, antitoxic and antiviral substance there is. Equally surprising is the ease with which some people, most of the medical profession, and virtually all of the media have been convinced that, somehow, vitamin C is not only ineffective but is also downright dangerous.

    Therefore I am always glad to find yet another impeccably qualified physician who publishes to set things straight. Thomas E. Levy, a practicing physician for 25 years, is a board-certified internist and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is also an attorney. What’s more, he’s a really fine writer. Dr. Levy’s new book, Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable has immediately made my most select list of absolutely required reading.

    That list is rather short, and here’s why. When you pick up a health or nutrition book and need to know really fast if it is any good or not, just look for these three key words: Klenner, Stone, and Pauling. If a book has negative things to say about Linus Pauling, you are not likely to find a fair hearing for vitamins. Irwin Stone, the biochemist who first put Dr. Pauling onto vitamin C, is the author of The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease (1972). Pauling cites Stone thirteen times in his landmark How to Live Longer and Feel Better (1986), a recommendation if there ever was one. But the key figure, chest specialist and ascorbic acid megadose pioneer Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. is usually omitted entirely from most orthodox nutrition, health or medical texts. To me, that is tantamount to deleting all the Shakespeare from an English Lit course. The importance of Klenner’s clinical observations showing vitamin C’s power against infectious and chronic disease is extraordinary. Dr. Levy intends that you become familiar with Klenner’s work, and Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins accomplishes this purpose with distinction.

    Without hedging, Dr. Levy explains why, even in his subtitle, he uses the word "cure" as boldly as Dr. Klenner ever did:

    "It is completely appropriate to use the term "cure" when, in fact, the evidence demonstrates that a given medical condition has clearly and repeatedly been cured by a specific therapy. . . Avoiding the use of a term such as "cure" when it is absolutely appropriate does as much harm as using it inappropriately. Not realizing the incredible ability of vitamin C to cure a given infectious disease just perpetuates the usage of so many other needlessly applied toxic drugs and clinical protocols. If the shoe fits, wear it, and if the treatment works, proclaim it." (p 15)

    And this is precisely what Dr. Levy does.

    "Properly dosed vitamin C will reliably and quickly cure nearly all cases of acute polio and acute hepatitis. Polio babies are completely well in less than a week and hepatitis patients are sick for only a few days, not several months." (p 19)

    Knowing full well how the medical profession will react to such statements, Dr. Levy writes:

    "Unquestioning faith in the "established" medical knowledge is so deeply ingrained that many doctors simply will not even consider reading something that comes from sources that they do not consider worthy of producing new medical concepts. And if they do…they quickly dismiss it as just being ridiculous if it conflicts with too many of the concepts that most of their colleagues and textbooks embrace." (p 22)

    Aside from personally conducing their own mostly pre-Medline journal search, the primary way patients (and through them, their physicians) have been exposed to Dr. Klenner’s work has been through Lendon Smith’s 68-page Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C: The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D.. (1988)

    My college students’ avoidance response when I trot out "old" megavitamin studies is nothing compared to the sheer hostility I have received from academic colleagues. Once one of my undergraduates submitted a paper in another class discussing some 20 fairly old medical references she had found on vitamin C as a cure for polio. That course’s instructor told me privately that the student’s work was absurd, and he literally described her a "dial tone." I recall a nutritional presentation I made to a hospital staff. All was going well until I mentioned using vitamin C as an antibiotic, as Dr. Klenner did. The mood changed quickly. And how many of us have heard this old saw: "If vitamin C was so good, every doctor would be prescribing it!"

    Acceptance is not helped by the fact that most of Dr. Klenner’s papers were published between 25 and 55 years ago. Says Dr. Levy:

    "Many physicians have outright disdain for any medical literature that is more than a few years old. It almost seems that even the best scientific data is considered to have a "shelf life," and . . . will never be appreciated unless a "modern" researcher decides to repeat the study and "rediscover" the information." (p 27)

    And when such modern "reproductions" are done, they commonly use far too little vitamin C:

    "I could find no mainstream medical researcher who has performed ANY clinical studies on ANY infectious disease with vitamin C does that approached those used by Klenner. Using a small enough dose of any therapeutic agent will demonstrate little or no effect on an infection or disease process. Klenner would often use daily doses of vitamin C on a patient that would be as much as 10,000 times more than the daily doses used in some of the many clinical studies in the literature." (p 28-29)

    Because there are few families that will not be affected by serious infectious illness, the individual topics Dr. Levy addresses (in Chapter 2, constituting 130 pages) are especially important. These include measles, mumps, viral encephalitis, herpes, mononucleosis, viral pneumonia, chickenpox, Ebola, and of course influenza. He has included a fairly lengthy section on AIDS. Rabies is an intriguing entry, even to those already willing to concede that vitamin C is an effective antiviral.

    Non-viral diseases discussed include diphtheria, tuberculosis (in considerable detail), strep, brucellosis, typhoid, dysentery, malaria, trichinosis, and the always-controversial subjects of tetanus and pertussis. Not unexpectedly, Dr. Levy seems to incline towards the non-traditional viewpoint on vaccination, although since the book lacks an index, his statements on this specific subject take a moment to locate. As vitamin C is such a good antibiotic and antiviral, a deemphasis on vaccination can be seen to make sense.

    Ascorbic acid, that Swiss Army knife among nutrients, has been unjustly dismissed in part because of the implausibility of such very great utility. A human body of tens of trillions of cells operates thousands of biochemical reactions on less than a dozen vitamins. Is it so very surprising that one nutrient would have so many benefits?

    "The Ultimate Antidote" (Chapter 3, 103 pages) considers vitamin C as an antitoxin. This chapter will, as Mark Twain put it, gratify some and astonish the rest. The effects of alcohol, the barbiturates, carbon monoxide, cyanide, aflatoxin, a variety of environmental poisons including pesticides, even acetaminophen poisoning in cats, mushroom poisoning, and snake venoms are all shown to respond to vitamin C megadose therapy. Mercury, lead, and the effects of radiation receive special and really eye-opening attention.

    If there is a greater calling than healing the sick, it is teaching people how to do it themselves. Abram Hoffer and Lendon H. Smith are perhaps the two foremost examples of physician-authors who have focused on directly instructing their readers how to use megavitamins correctly and directly. I think Dr. Levy is another of these natural born teachers, and this may be most apparent in the book’s section of "Practical Suggestions" (Chapter 5). General readers, having just learned that high oral doses of ascorbate are effective for self-medication, will appreciate receiving the benefits of Dr. Levy’s professional experience. Physician readers will especially welcome his injection instructions. I would like to see this important chapter greatly expanded.

    A book this good deserves a more eye-catching, upscale cover to attract bookshelf attention and get to those who most need it. I hope the next edition will also add some visual aids. Opponents to medical use of vitamin C will almost certainly demand expansion of Chapter 4 ("The Safety of High Doses of Vitamin C") to include more negative studies and more commentary on possible negative effects of massive doses of ascorbate. Dr. Levy does in fact devote considerable attention to hemochromatosis, immune system concerns, G6PD deficiency, allegations of DNA damage and kidney stone formation, the rebound effect, and vitamin C’s prooxidant characteristics. I doubt if any chapter of any length would satisfy vitamin therapy’s harshest critics. Furthermore, they can always find abundant (if mostly unfounded) ammunition in practically any medical or nutrition textbook in print. In Levy’s book, there is a welcome emphasis on the positive side of vitamin C megadoses, and that is their power to cure the sick.

    Cure is by far the best word there is in medicine. It would seem that you cannot spell "cure" without "C." I do not think Dr. Klenner would dispute that. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Dr. Klenner would wholeheartedly approve of Dr. Levy stating this (p 36):

    "The three most important considerations in effective vitamin C therapy are "dose, dose, and dose. If you don’t take enough, you won’t get the desired effects. Period!"

    Dr. Levy’s book presents clear evidence that vitamin C cures disease. It contains over 1,200 scientific references, presented chapter by chapter. It does not mince words. It is disease specific. It is dose specific. It is practical. It is readable. It is excellent.

    (This review was originally was published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2003, p 117-118. It is reprinted here with permission.)

    Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

  • June 25, 2010

    by Sandy

    I take them for different reasons. One of the main reasons is because I seem to be sensitive or allergic to everything. Once I was driving and apparently someone was using chemicals past where I was driving. I breathed it in before I could roll up my window and when I got home I was very dizzy, my body felt heavy, and I started vomiting (sorry) all over the ground. I knew it was from the chemicals I had breathed in. Vitamin C got me up and strong again. Another time I was exposed to a particular mold that caused my vision to be very weird and I felt very strange in my head (foggy) I could not think straight. Someone was so worried they called the ambulance but I had started drinking large amounts of vitamin C and had already felt a little more alert and stronger when they got there. I ended up refusing the transport to the hospital and recovered using copious amounts of vitamin C and fresh air. I used it another time with quick relief when I had what seemed to be food poisoning. I could go on and on about how it's helped me in emergencies but I'll spare you.

  • June 24, 2010

    by Junko

    Julie, I wasn't that picky last night when I stopped at the drugstore to pick them up. Started popping them last night with a couple of vitamin c tabs too :) Next purchase I'll go with your hubby's brand of choice, he must be able to judge quality cause he also chose you! Can't believe that no-one has posted a loved DIY C Serum. Everyone's so caught up with Tretinoin that they forgot about my request for a C recipe ! Come on, someone has got to have a really wonderful DIY C that they LOVE!

  • June 24, 2010

    by Julie Kay

    I use EFA Gold Flaxseed gelcaps. Here's the link to the Vitacost page: . My husband takes them for his blood pressure and switched to flax from fish (understand, he's a stubborn man and this took some doing) and he likes this brand best. Golden flaxseed is better than common flaxseed, although I don't know if it's just a title thing with this product. It does help my eyes- as I've said about many things: If I stop taking it (get lazy) my eyes notice. I hope it helps! ~jk

  • June 24, 2010

    by Mark

    Junko - I am so sorry to read of your experience and glad that you have shared it with us. I have used both Retin-A Micro and Tazorac off and on over the years without any problems and with good results. It is good that you remind all that you should do your homework and that no one product works for everyone in the same way.

  • June 24, 2010

    by Junko

    Thank you Amy :) and yes Diana I'll be making sure they're not in the products I'm using here forward. I've been using my YBF Boost & Defend this past week, seems a lot of us use this line when we need to get our skin back to a good baseline. Ivanlibaba, I would agree with you that for some Tretinoin works miracles and that moderation is key. I want to point out to anyone that hasn't used this cream that it does have a fail-safe so that you cannot apply too much. If you apply too much, the cream actually balls up and rolls off the skin and not absorb.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Ivanlibaba

    Never use tretinoin at the maximum strength, even when it is prescribed by a dermatologist. Other forms of Vitamin A exists in many products. All these could add up to more that 0.1% that many people could not take it.

    In addition to that, you could have unknown cumulative or first-use allergic reaction/s when using tretinoin. This reaction could take up to 2 years to have its full-blown effects. At that time, it could be too late a situation to rectify.

    However, tretinoin is still considered one of the most effective anti-aging Actives. The key is moderation.

    At this moment, just adopt simple skincare regime will be good enough. Wash, Exfoliate & Moist procedure will be sufficient.


  • June 23, 2010

    by Amy Henderson

    Hey Junko - how scary! It sounds, though, that you caught this in time and that you are well on your way to a full healing. The healing powers of the body are just amazing. So, with this new knowledge of how your body reacts to certain substances, you have just that much more information with which to make informed decisions about new products. And, this information will be extremely valuable to other people. Good luck and thanks for sharing the information!!!

  • June 23, 2010

    by Diana Welsch

    I started using Biologique Recharche six months ago; they don't believe in retinoids...great product line--no problems.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Junko

    Sandy * These are idea's for all that could possibly help a wide range of ailments. Your Vitamin C suggestion is quite interesting, I'm going to have to read up on that. I'm curious as to what you took the mega doses of C for?

  • June 23, 2010

    by Junko

    Great Suggestion Julie, what dosage are you taking? My optometrist who I saw before going to the ophthalmologist said he thought I had dry eye told me to take Omegas, which I've been doing, but wouldn't attest that they help any. I'd be willing to try the flaxseed, because yes sometimes there is burning. Sounds like the therapy worked and that the flaxseed helps to maintain comfort for you.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Sandy

    Just off the top of my head, I would say to take loads of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid form only). You can not overdose. The most you will get is harmless diarrhea. If you do get diarrhea then cut back on the dosage a little. Vitamin C is very healing and can actually heal a damaged heart. Also vitamin C is an awesome means of detoxing a harmful substances out of the body. I honestly don't know if it would help get the excessive vitamin A out of your system though. I'm very chemically sensitive and vitamin C has been a literal life saver for me on several occasions. But you have to take enough of it (mega doses).
    Read up on it at
    Also, thanks so much for posting this. It reminds me to be more careful on what I'm using:)
    Cheer up there is hope:)
    One more thing, I have been reading up on something called the emotional freedom technique that is suppose to help the body heal. I found out about it from Dr. Mercola's website and recently ordered a book from Amazon that explains how one woman completely healed herself from CFIDS by using this technique. Apparently it has healed numerous people of a large variety of illnesses. Not sure how effective it is because I just started trying it, but it has definitely helped me deal with anxiety thus far. They have free instructions on the internet on how to do the techniques or at least how to start out. Maybe it will help.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Kerence

    This is so scary! Marta I’d love so more information on this.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Julie Kay

    In the meantime, if you're not already taking it (and it's safe), try some flaxseed gelcaps. They help keeps my eyes from burning, although that's not the primary reason I take flaxseed. I suffered Dry Eye a couple years ago, went through the whole Restasis therapy protocol, and found that flaxseed helped lubricate the eyes better than fish sourced omegas. I'm making a jump to think your eyes might burn... ~jk

  • June 23, 2010

    by Junko

    Jeda, thank you sharing your thoughts and opinions with all of us. Please note that I did say that my reaction was NOT typical. Also, I did not pronounce anything to be toxic, my ophthalmologist made that statement. You sound very angry and I'm sorry if my story made you so. My intent in writing this article was not to terrorize or anger anyone but to share what happened to 'me' in using Tretinoin. I'm sharing my story so that others know this is a possibility and nothing more.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Jeda

    Terrible ordeal, Junko! Hope you heal quickly!

    However, I'd like to note some things, in the interest of calming terror/paranoia responses in those who use Retin-A as prescriptions for acne (which, particularly in adults-- as opposed to adolescent/short-term acne --can last all one's life, can result in scars, can lead to other complications/lesions on the face).

    From what I can glean, it is not that Retin-A (tretinoin) itself is "toxic." At least, it is only toxic in the same way that Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and any number of other substances which are VITAL to the human body's health can be toxic if taken in too-large a quantity OR if taken into a body that is impaired in any of its abilities to flush out residues in the normal ways that the human body functions on a daily basis. Too much WATER can be toxic-- did you know that? Yep. It was used as a torture device in the 14th and 15th centuries--forcing water down a person at a rapid rate--and, if desired, as a method of execution: just keep doing it until the subject died, which would happen pretty quickly when the kidneys gave up.

    So, although in a sense it is true that Retin-a is toxic, in the usual sense that we use the word (for poisons, substances we need to avoid at all costs, substances that do damage no matter how small an amount we take), it is not "toxic."

    Of course, I don't know how much of the cream you were putting on your face, Junko, but 0.1% is a very, very STRONG concentration of the stuff. The highest that a prescription goes is 0.05% cream, I think, although the strongest EFFECT comes from the Retin-A 0.025% gel (apparently a gel is absorbed more quickly and more concentratedly than a cream). So, I think it would be a reasonable response to say that you were (1) taking way too much of it, and (2) possibly AUGMENTING the systemic build-up of retinol through other creams and your eyelash products, if they, too, contained Vitamin a/retinol, not to mention if you take an oral daily vitamin, etc. You didn't mention what your daily regimen of prescriptions, supplements, foods is: ALL this has to be taken into account when you are totalling the effect of a substance that the body doesn't excrete automatically (as, say, it does with Vitamin C-- what it doesn't absorb, it washes out, UNLESS your liver or kidneys aren't functioning well). Which brings up another question: have you had your liver and kidney function tested? It might be prudent to do so, Junko; simple blood tests will do the trick.

    The article link posted by Arandjel (above) refers not to a study (which would involve many subjects, along with a control group, and scientific conclusions based on standardized methods of testing) but to one patient's experience, and this person already had liver problems before she began to use Retin-A. The conclusion of this article is that physicians ought to take care prescribing Retin-A for patients with known liver impairment (because if the liver can't process the drug, then it builds up in the system and then damages larger systems, like the central nervous system). In this person's case, she developed severe psychological and motor impairment within 2 months of starting Retin-A. So, the moral of this story is: with Retin-A, AS WITH ANY DRUG, watch for side effects, allergic reactions, and evidence of toxicity WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN NEWLY PRESCRIBED the drug, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE ANY KIND OF LIVER WEAKNESS. How to know if you have liver impairment, beyond being diagnosed by a doctor? Use your head: do you drink heavily? do you do any recreational drugs heavily? are you a long-term user of any narcotic? That, at least, is a start.

    Finally, we could acknowledge simply that YOU, personally, are allergic to that compound in THAT particular cream you were using, which can happen to anybody with any product. The fact that a facial cream affected your EYES is the salient point of your post-- not that tretinoin is toxic for everyone in any amount.

    Which brings me to what is, to me, the most important VALUE of your post: BE VERY VERY CAREFUL and WATCHFUL of what you put on your skin!!! It really doesn't matter how close to the eyes something gets, in the long run. The skin is an organ, and whatever is on the skin goes INTO the body. Too many people assume that you have to ingest something, or inhale it, for a substance or chemical to get into the body, but the fact is that there are a substantial number of deaths every year from chemical poisoning (usually pesticides) through the skin. Too many people are cavalier about the "warnings" on labels-- they are there for a good reason, even beyond protecting the mfr from a lawsuit; they are there because damage and even death can occur from ANYthing put on the skin that the body does not agree with.

    To that extent, why on earth are we putting ANYTHING on our eyelashes to grow them longer? Why are we putting things on our faces simply to look younger?

    IMHO, if you have debilitating adult acne, as I have (at age 55, past menopause and the whole bit!!!), then there may be very good reasons to use products/prescriptions to avoid scarring and infections and so forth-- reasons to take the risk, in other words. But if you have healthy skin and eyes already, then WHY tempt fate by throwing all these products on your face, just to look one way or another?

    If you are going to do that, then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Find out how much of the substances that are not easily excreted (like Vitamin A, D, etc) are in the products; analyze what you eat, what supplements you take, etc.

    But don't just pronounce a substance "toxic." Unless it is truly toxic.

    Does this make sense? I hope so. Not trying to flame or upset any carts, but just trying to keep a level of logic going in ALL areas of what we do-- whether it be what we put into our bodies, ON our bodies, or on the internet.

    Health to all!

  • June 23, 2010

    by Junko

    Arandjel! Haven't see you comment in a while so I'm happy to see you again and want to thank you so very much for posting that link. I've already read that article and it's a good read that goes beyond most of the information on the web regarding possible side-effects. I put the cream up to my cheek bones but not on the fatty under-eye areas, but the eye doc says that it will travel. Strength was .1% the highest. To answer you M, yes I'm being super safe because my eyes seem to improve but then were taking some steps backwards at times. I'm thinking it was due to me using some products that were adding Retinols which is what I'm trying to get out of my system. For our readers I'm seeing a typo in my article: I'm be sending Marta a review for Eshee's Brightening Serum as the review for the C Serum has already been posted.
    PS: I admire your work Arandjel ~

  • June 23, 2010

    by Joanna

    Hi, Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us that we need to be careful with the products we use on our faces. Especially around the eyes.

  • June 23, 2010

    by marta

    Junko, what happened to you is just horrible. Why are you banning all vitamin A, including in botanicals? Are you being super safe or was it the advice of your doctor? Do you know if all forms of vitamin A can cause problems or only the retinol formulations? Arandjel, thanks for the link. I'll be doing more research on retinols etc.

  • June 23, 2010

    by Arandjel

    Here is a study on how neurotoxicity is related to the use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A):

    Junko, what strength of tretinoin did you use? How close to your eyes did you apply it? Sorry to hear it didn't work out for you.

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