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Trying Tretinoin for Acne: Week 3 - Let "The Purge" Begin

Trying Tretinoin: a tretinoin field guide. And the tretinoin purge begins! Keep scrolling for purge photos.

Read on


I’m trying tretinoin and reporting back so you know what to expect when you dive into the world of retinoids. This is week 3 of acclimation for me. This week I did experience some tell-tale signs of tretinoin acclimation. 

Keep scrolling to learn what to expect during the 3rd week of tretinoin use. (Plus some tretinoin purge pictures! Eek!)


Tretinoin so far: week 3 acclimation 

In this series, I am sharing my experience of trying Strut Health’s Anti-Aging 0.05% tretinoin formula for acne treatment. 

I’ve been slowly increasing my tretinoin use to acclimate my skin to this powerful retinoid. 


Week 3 use frequency:

This week I used tretinoin 3 times, with two days in between each application. I really noticed a difference with this increase in use frequency.

Sun: Tretinoin day!

Mon: Hydrating skincare

Tues: Hydrating skincare

Wed: Tretinoin day!

Thur: Hydrating skincare

Fri: Hydrating skincare

Sat: Tretinoin day!

Learn all tretinoin skincare routines: Complete Step-by-Step Skin Routine For Starting Tretinoin

Week 3 irritation level:

3.5/10 (This is slowly increasing but I expect it will bottom out and reduce soon.)

This week I noticed a little more itching than I had before. 

While going about my day, my chin area was definitely feeling a little itchy. This was not uncomfortable for me but it was a new development. 

My skin was not peeling, but it was certainly drier than normal. The minor itching feeling continued, but only on my chin.


Tretinoin Tip:

Since I was drier than normal, I tried to make sure to reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) while cleansing.  

To do this, I didn’t dry my face after cleansing. Instead, I applied hyaluronic acid to a very wet face and allowed it to dry on its own. 

This helps to trap as much H2O in your skin as possible. 

I also slathered on jojoba oil after my creams to nourish my skin as much as possible. It needed it. 


Week 3 acne report: 

Some purge pimples have landed. This week has been the most plentiful in new blemishes.

I often get blemishes on my chin and my cheeks. But, this week I had some pop up on my chin, around my lips (which is new for me), and on my right cheek.

Again these weren’t major honkin’ pimples but they did demand a little more attention since they are quite dry and patchy.

I’m not used to having multiple pimples on my chin at once, so having a handful did sort of feel dramatic. But, they’re clearing up rather quickly.

Try your best to not pick these dry, scabby pimples (I know it’s tempting). It only makes things worse.  


Non-acne report:

My upper cheeks, nose, and forehead are fresh, exfoliated, and happy as a clam! I’m starting to see a difference in the overall appearance of my skin health. 


Tretinoin FAQ 

Each week our Strut Health team will answer a tretinoin FAQ.

Q: Is it true skin gets worse before it gets better with Tretinoin?

A: It’s common during the first 2-6 weeks of Tretinoin acclimation that you’ll see an increase in skin issues. This includes acne occurrences and skin irritation.

This occurs because old layers of skin are being replaced by new layers through a skin renewal process. The purge of the old can cause some temporary side effects. But keep with it, it’s a sign the product is working.

After this initial acclimation phase, your skin should begin to improve and show the real benefits of tretinoin. 


Try tretinoin for yourself

Complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation to see if Strut Health’s tretinoin-containing formulas are right for you. 

If our doctors find these are a good fit for your skin issues, we’ll ship your prescription to your doorstep.


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