After 1 Month on Tret + Skin Care Routine. Here are My Results.
It’s official. It’s time to wrap up my first month of tret. If you missed out on my last post on tret, this is the place to go. 👈🏻 click! This month has been a whirlwind. Trying to figure out how tret fits into my skin care routine without doing too much. And doing too much can lead to undesirable effects and results, such as dry skin, redness, irritation, scabs, burns, making fine lines and wrinkles look more prominent, and creating more acne issues that didn’t exist! Whew! Since I have acne-prone skin, I’m going through the initial breakout or what people call purging. Knowing my skin, purging is bound to happen no matter what. And acne is the reason why I’m on tret in the first place. Also, it’s been challenging trying to find skin care products that play nice with my skin throughout the process. It hasn’t been an amazing experience, but I think I’m getting somewhere. Here are the skin care products I used on my tret journey (the first month) to clear up my annoying acne-prone skin. And of course, my 1 month experience and results with tret! ⭐ Let’s begin with the moisturizers I used!
What I Used to Moisturize
Here are the moisturizers that I used to keep my skin hydrated during the first month on tret. I used a combination of essences, serums, and gel moisturizers. They are Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, Yeouth Vitamin C & E Serum, Timeless Coenzyme Q10 Serum (I haven’t talked about this yet, just waiting to see if it’s doing anything for my skin first, look forward to a review soon!), Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, and my daily sunscreen (not pictured, follow the link). My daily sunscreen is Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. It’s a moisturizer and sunscreen in one. It has helped to keep my skin moisturized during the day along with the other skin care products I’m using. Keep in mind that I have really oily skin. What I’m using may not be enough moisture for someone with dry skin. For me, it works. I can’t use anything that’s too rich, heavy, or occlusive. My skin ends up being clogged, and I get a bunch of breakouts everywhere. It just doesn’t work. I’m better off using a limited number of moisturizers (some of them aren’t even true moisturizers) that I don’t think people would consider to be moisturizing enough. But that’s just my skin, and I’m just doing what my skin prefers. Also, I don’t rely on moisturizers to keep my skin hydrated, I make sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep my skin hydrated, which is much better than a facial moisturizer, in my opinion. Drinking water has done wonders for my skin. ✨
My Facial Cleansers
I started cleansing my face with PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash (10%). I stopped using PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash (4%) because it wasn’t doing much for my skin. Once again, I have very oily skin. That layer of sebum I have on my skin needs to be removed, or it’ll cause issues like blemishes or even itchy skin. Yes! Itchy skin. My skin gets really itchy in hot, humid environments. Sometimes I end up breaking out too. PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash (4%) wasn’t getting the job done. I would have to do a double wash to remove all of the sebum and debris out of my pores. That’s just extra product wasted when I could just use something much stronger. So PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash became the better choice among the two, since it did a better job removing excess sebum from my skin. My skin just feels cleaner when I use it. With that in mind, I am using PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash (10%) and another facial cleanser, which is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser.
So I use PanOxyl at night to treat my skin with benzoyl peroxide. I would just rub the cleanser into my skin for less than a minute then rinse. I chose to keep PanOxyl in my skin care routine because I still wanted a benzoyl peroxide acne treatment without having to leave it on my skin overnight or during the day. Honestly, I don’t think it has that big of an effect on my acne anymore. lol. I’ve been using it for about 4 months now. A leave-on benzoyl peroxide acne treatment produces better results compared to a face wash with benzoyl peroxide, from my experience. But, using a face wash with benzoyl peroxide is a good option if you still want to incorporate benzoyl peroxide in your routine without using it as an all-over leave-on treatment. That’s the decision I made. It’s not as effective compared to a leave-on, but it’s better than nothing. I hope in the months to come that it’s doing at least something good for my acne, haha.
Since that’s how I’m using PanOxyl, my main cleanser at the moment is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser. I was trying out a bunch of products from the Hydro Boost line by Neutrogena and stumbled upon this face wash. I thought I would give it a try, and it seems to be working for me. I haven’t had any issues with it. This cleanser helps to remove sebum, dirt, and debris along with exfoliating my skin with glycolic acid, lactic acid, papaya fruit extract. This may be a no-no for many people that’s on tret and have sensitive skin (plus tret makes the skin more sensitive), but it hasn’t been a problem for me. I tested it, and my skin isn’t on fire. I’ll take it as a sign that I can use it. But then, I don’t have sensitive skin to begin with. My skin is getting used to tret too. Also, even though it contains chemical exfoliants, it feels pretty hydrating on the skin. Hyaluronic acid is awesome!
My Favorite Sunscreens ☀
With tret, and I can say without tret too, it’s important to protect the skin from harmful UV rays to prevent premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and so on. But also skin cancer! The sunscreen I used most often during the first month (and most of my life) is Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 is my HG sunscreen. I’ve used it for so many years and have gone through so many bottles of this stuff. It’s the only sunscreen that has worked on my skin without causing breakouts. It not only protects my skin, but it also keeps my skin moisturized and evens out my skin tone. It’s a three-in-one product. I’m glad it exists, haha. I can’t seem to find anything else that matches it. Before this sunscreen, I was using a bunch of greasy, pore-clogging sunscreens. During that time, I didn’t have any acne issues, so it wasn’t too bad of an experience. I eventually developed acne and had to find something that was more suitable for my skin type. I didn’t develop acne because of the sunscreens. I grew up, lol.
So I know I have a sunscreen, but I wanted something with a higher SPF. SPF 30 wasn’t doing it for me. I’m still using Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (as a moisturizer, SPF is awesome too). I didn’t give up on it. I just can’t. It’s been with me for too long, and it does what it’s supposed to do. And that is protecting my skin, moisturizing my skin, and evening out my skin tone. Along with my Neutrogena sunscreen, I was able to fit another sunscreen with a SPF of 50+ PA++++ into my skin care routine. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve guessed it! It’s Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++! I’ve read so many good reviews on this sunscreen and decided to give it a shot. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced breakouts from this sunscreen yet (hopefully not ever!). I started off using it only as a makeup primer, since it has a silicone, silky feel to it, but I eventually decided to use it to reapply while I’m on tret. Maybe I’ll get to use it as my main sunscreen in the foreseeable future. I’ve already finished one tube of this sunscreen, and everything is going pretty darn well. It’s a tad drying compared to Neutrogena but using a combo of these two helps to balance out my skin. It’s working for me.
This is what I used while my skin heals
It’s time to talk about makeup! I love makeup. I didn’t want to give up makeup when treating my acne with tret. But I did go most days of the week without makeup. I tried to. Sometimes I get the urge to apply makeup because I enjoy it so much! I miss painting my face. I had issues with a few of my HG bb creams (no longer HG). The most recent one that I reviewed was Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm Orange. I loved that bb cream. It worked so well in the past. I don’t know what exactly happened, but it was one of the causes of my clogged pores, new breakouts. I didn’t know until I removed it from my makeup routine. All of the breakouts decreased all of a sudden. I haven’t touched this bb cream since. Did they change the ingredients? Did I receive a fake product? So many questions, I will never know, but I stopped using it. I decided to try another bb cream. Something I’ve used before. It’s Purito Cica Clearing BB Cream. This is a nice bb cream. It glides on the skin easily, smooths out the skin, and makes it look flawless and dewy. It provides good coverage for a product that is super affordable. It also contains SPF 38 PA+++.
I usually use a powder makeup with SPF to reapply some of the SPF throughout the day, but I haven’t found one that didn’t cause any skin problems. Take note that makeup with SPF isn’t good at providing good UV protection. It’s not something you should rely on for sun protection. The only reason I do use it and prefer makeup with UV protection is because it gives me some protection even though it’s not the greatest sun protection. Some protection is better than none. When I’m wearing makeup, it’s also really hard to reapply sunscreen. I tried it. It’s terrible. It messes up my makeup. It gets really oily, greasy, and looks really nasty. Layering sunscreen on unclean skin, especially on acne-prone skin is not the best idea. It can lead to breakouts. I thought about using a spray sunscreen, but I haven’t found one with ingredients I liked either. The ones I’ve encountered contain alcohol or comes out greasy. I know exactly what’s going to happen when I use something like that on my face…breakouts! I’m trying my best to avoid that as much as I can. haha. So what I do is just use this bb cream, lol. Works and it’s cheap.
Some things I wished I didn’t do
During the first month, I ended up trying out products to maintain the moisture in my skin. Also, I was searching for a better sunscreen that provides better sun protection. Something with a higher SPF than 30. Yeah, I shouldn’t have tested out so many products while on tret, but I just couldn’t help myself. I’m always on the search for something better and more suitable for my skin. I did end up slowing down the acne healing process. That’s something I didn’t like and am disappointed in. All I can do now is move on to the future and hope for the better. Out of this mess, I actually did walk out with a sunscreen with a higher SPF. I guess it wasn’t too bad after all. Read about the sunscreens I’m using during this journey if you’ve only skimmed this post or have forgotten. haha!
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence: Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence did an amazing job at smoothing out my skin, making my skin look softer and more refined, and brightening my overall skin tone. The brightening effect was noticeable within the first few days of using the essence. I was shocked, surprised, and very ecstatic all at the same time. Sadly, this essence ended up giving me cystic acne and other breakouts. It’s a highly raved product, and I just wanted to see if it’ll live up to the hype. I must say, it’s overhyped. Cystic acne? More breakouts? No way. I stopped using it, and the breakouts I developed from this product went away.
- Benton Fermentation Essence: Benton Fermentation Essence did wonders for my skin. It made my skin look soft, smooth, poreless, dewy, and more youthful. I loved it. Out of all of the essences I’ve used, this one really transformed my skin. The texture of my skin looked amazing. I didn’t think it was possible to get results like this. Unfortunately, I had to stop using it. My skin broke out in blackheads and closed comedones, especially on my forehead and nose. I hardly ever get blackheads, so I knew something was wrong. I immediately stopped using it (with some second guessing because of the positive results, lol), but this essence did a lot of damage. It wrecked my skin. I would never try this essence ever again. Not on my facial skin, at least.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum is something I had to try out when I was going nuts over the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line. It looked like something that would work on my skin. It’s lightweight compared to the other Hydro Boost skin care products. I tried it, and it didn’t work out. It gave me blackheads and closed comedones. These two types of acne always seem to go hand-on-hand with my skin, lol. It didn’t take me that long to discontinue use. The fragrance was aggravating my sinuses and eyes. If I didn’t like it, I just didn’t like it. I wasn’t a huge fan of this even though it left my skin feeling hydrated. More hydrated than Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Powder Essence.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 was a very exciting product. It comes in a 3 fl. oz. bottle, contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, contains SPF 30, and is a water gel lotion. It was great at first. It healed up dry patches and scaly skin. I had flaky skin, which peeled off my skin effortlessly and naturally because of this sunscreen. I loved it for that. But, it didn’t work out in the end because it was too hydrating and occlusive. I ended up with whiteheads because of this sunscreen. It was nice while it lasted, but I’m not going to use it on my facial skin. No thanks. I don’t want any more breakouts.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50 is a very similar sunscreen compared to the SPF 30 version. The only differences I’ve noticed is the SPF (obviously), the smell of alcohol is more prominent, and it’s more runny, liquidy. The results were pretty much the same despite the differences. This sunscreen felt too hydrating and occlusive on my oily, acne-prone skin. I ended up with breakouts as well using this sunscreen. It’s definitely not the right sunscreen for my facial skin. Looks like it’ll work better for dry skin. Not dry skin from tret with oily skin underneath. lol.
- Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen SPF 70+: This was the last sunscreen I tried before I went back to the tried and true (Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30). It’s Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen SPF 70+. I was attracted to this sunscreen because of the high SPF. It contains SPF 70+ and the fact that it’s a sport sunscreen. Sport sunscreens tend to be water-resistant and stick on the skin much better. Just like the other sunscreens I tried on my tret journey, I ended up with breakouts. I caught this one on the first day and stopped using it immediately. It’s another sunscreen that’s too occlusive on my skin.
There were times my skin became red, irritated, and rash-like in the beginning of my journey. To help calm down and heal irritated skin, I tried slugging. Slugging is when you seal your skin with an occlusive product. Alright, I’m going to take a moment of silence after writing that. OK! Let me repeat that again. Slugging is when you seal your skin with an occlusive product. You know when you just try things out just to see if it works or not. This was one of those things I tried (and I’ve tried it before in the past). I just had to try it again because you never know what may happen. The products I used was petroleum jelly and Aquaphor. It felt really great at first slathering these products on my face at that moment when my skin was red and itchy. My skin felt slippery, less dry, and it was fun smoothing petroleum jelly and Aquaphor all over my face. Like, I have oily, acne-prone skin, and I’m doing this?? Yep, just applying it all over the face without a care! Well, this was a terrible choice I made. My skin became more itchy with petroleum jelly and Aquaphor on my skin. I woke up with clogged pores along my jawline, cheeks, and forehead. It messed up my skin! Also, sleeping with a sticky substance on my face made me lose a ton of sleep. I couldn’t sleep at all. I was tossing and turning. I would roll around and the products would stick to everything from my pillow case, bed sheets, my hair!! I woke up with greasy hair! It didn’t matter how much I used. It got everywhere. I gave up on slugging so fast on my facial skin. I only use it on dry patches now. Just small sections of my face. That seems to work better. Using it on the whole face was a complete nightmare! Instead of using petroleum jelly or Aquaphor, I really like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream Fragrance-Free. 👈🏻 Check it out!
I eventually stopped using…
By the end of the first month, I dropped some skin care products from my routine. They were Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, and Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, so that leaves me with Timeless Coenzyme Q10 Serum and Yeouth Vitamin C & E Serum. I’m thinking about replacing this product with something else. It hasn’t done much for my skin in terms of brightness or fading acne marks. I’m just using it because I have it. *sigh* I hope something better comes along, but I haven’t found that something yet.
- Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence: I decided to stop using Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. It feels really sticky on my skin. I know, I knew it was a sticky product because it is snail mucin. That’s what it is. But I feel that it’s too hydrating on my skin. My skin just didn’t like that sticky feeling in the long run. I’m afraid that it may contributing to some clogged pores too. I started noticing tiny little bumps on my forehead that wouldn’t go away. I wonder if this is the cause. I’ll remove this essence for now and see what happens. It may even make its way back if it’s not the cause.
- Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence: I had to stop using Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence. This essence hasn’t done much for my skin. It didn’t hydrate or leave my skin looking, feeling softer or smoother. It did absolutely nothing. The texture of the product is sort of sticky. It’s not something I can see myself using in the future. It’s a decent size product for the price. Those are the only positives I can think of when referring to this essence. So, this isn’t a good choice for me. My skin hasn’t changed or improved while using it. I just stopped using it because of this. There’s no reason for me to continue.
- Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel: Last but not least, I had to remove Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel. Another product that feels sticky on the skin. The stickiness is just too much for my skin, lol. But also, this isn’t a good moisturizing product when using tret. It actually left a burning sensation on my skin every time I used it. It didn’t calm or soothe my skin. I would like a product that reduces redness and doesn’t burn my skin barrier when I’m trying to repair it. haha. In saying that, it makes a horrible moisturizer. If you have dry skin, don’t expect much hydration from this soothing gel. Honestly, I was just using it because I had it already. Maybe this would work better for someone that’s not on tret.
My thoughts & results after 1 month on tret
For the most part, I used tret every other day besides one week when I decided to use it every day. Well, using it every day was a really bad idea (on a 0.05% gel). It may work for others, but it didn’t work for me. My skin became really dry, developed some scabs, skin wasn’t sloughing off naturally, skin looked raw and red. It was just bad. My skin didn’t improve much during that week. It was too much for my skin to handle. I should’ve stuck with using it every other day as planned because I’ve noticed improvements in my skin while taking it slow. Even though the results weren’t spectacular, it was something. It was slowly moving in the right direction. Plus, my skin wasn’t red, raw, and irritated. I didn’t have to worry too much about moisturizing my skin either, since my skin healed up after a rest day from tret. Like brand new skin with a natural, dewy glow to it. The process just felt more at ease and more natural using it every other day vs every single day.
Also, dropping Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, and Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel was a good idea. I’m peeling a lot more without these products. My skin was literally sloughing off without any pain. I noticed that my skin is able to heal itself much quicker too. I haven’t seen any new acne bumps after quitting these products. My skin just looks better. Maybe these products were too sticky or too moisturizing on my skin. I just know that I like the way my skin looks without them. I’ll be on the search for a moisturizer for my skin type. But, I’m not going to hold my breath, since it’s been a 10+ year search. So, that’s my 1 month results on tret. I’m still going through the purge. I think it’s going to take at least 2 more months (I hope!) to reach that flawless, acne-free skin stage, but I’ll eventually get there. Stay tuned for my 2 MONTH update soon. See you all there! 🙂
Don’t forget to check out my first tret post!