Is the product I bought overseas really what it says?

I hope this question helps many others too. I am 39 female, dry dull skin, live in the Mediterranean. I have been using Tretinoin (0.05%) for three and a half months now, I use it every night, maybe I get one free night and use just moisturizer. The strange thing is that, whilst others all have that shiny glowy mirror-like skin, mine still looks dull... I maybe just get some flakes around my chin, but that's just about it. Is it working? Shall I change the brand?? (its called Retirides and I bought it from Spain, but still tretinoin 0.05) . Do I need to exfoliate my skin? Help. I put so much dedication, and I long for that rosy glow.. Stella

Thank you for asking this.  This question is coming up more and more as we all travel and it’s tempting to pick up things in other countries to try to save money or… try a cheaper brand in countries where things like tretinoin may not require a prescription.

In my opinion, you should absolutely try changing to a well known brand first.   There is very little regulation of pharma companies, particularly in China and India, producing generics.

 Also, even if it says, made in Canada for example, all the raw ingredients may have come from overseas and just been “compounded” (mixed together) in Canada.   Again, an attempt to mislead consumers, in my opinion. I would like to see all sourcing required on the packaging.

So try a well known brand first.  Cleanse, put a thin layer of your moisturizer on, wait 5-10 minutes and then apply about a pea sized  amount of the tretinoin all over very evenly. 

More on retinoids like tretinoin, Retin A, Renova etc.  and  problems readers have had and their successes.  Several good non prescription retinols here. 

Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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