It’s the weeeeekennnnd, what’re you doing? I’m going to be trying to leave my face alone. Why? This is why :

Yep, I started Retin-A Micro abouuuut … I guess last night was my 12th application? And I am firmly ensconced in FLAKETOWN right now. This was my chin when I woke up this morning :

I mean, it’s still my chin — I did not get a new chin this afternoon — but I did wash my face. And actually before I washed my face, I wanted to clearly demonstrate just how much flakage is happening here, so I pulled my black long-sleeved tee down over my hand and quite lightly rubbed at it, and …

“GROSS WTF.” I know, right? :O  It is a lotttttttt of flakes, and JUST from my chin area. Yes, you will wake up each morning with Dire Face Shag. It seems my cheeks have slightly less loose stuff than my chin, but that could just be from pillow friction during the night, where presumably my cheeks have more direct contact and more frequent movement?

Anyway, for those of you who haven’t tried it or don’t know much about it, Retin-A Micro is a form of Tretinoin (same thing in regular/original Retin-A), which is an acid derived from vitamin A. The difference between the two is that the Micro formulation is encased in tiiiiiny (microscopic!) spongy constructs, which release small amounts of Retin-A into your skin gradually over the course of hours, instead of WHAM all at once like the OG. That means it A) gets more time to work and B) is less likely to freak your face out and cause irritation / stinging / burning.

I got mine from the same place I get my Lash ‘Roids, and I went with the .04% rather than the stronger .1% because I was unsure of how my skin would handle it. (I’m normally not like “insanely sensitive,” but I have had unpleasant reactions to stuff in the past, so.) Both formulas work by increasing the speed by which your skin makes new cells, thus decreasing the overall “skin turnover” time. (“Skin turnover” meaning skin renewal, not some kind of hideous skin pastry. Tho the flakiness … hmm.) Also it appears to have a mechanism which prevents some types of epithelial cells from sticking to each other, which makes it easier for the old cells to slough away, and less likely to stick around in pores — so it can decrease the formation of acne-inflamed pores. It can also apparently boost collagen production, which, combined with the accelerated flaky pastry turnover rate, means it can diminish fine lines and other texture issues. (For severe acne scars and deep wrinkles, you’ll probably need a more robust treatment, tho.) That means yeah, I’m putting it on my undereyes too, but not all the way up to the lashline (and you should not use it on your mobile lids).

OTHER RELEVANT INFO : 1) Yes, it makes your skin feel drier overall. LOAD UP on hydrating serums and oils. I’ve been using The Ordinary’s hyaluronic serum followed by evening primrose oil. Even adding a moisturizer on top of those two, if I do my usual foundation and powder and such? Yeah, I’ve definitely still got dry flaky-looking areas. Supposedly, the “holy crap all the flakes” phenomenon will diminish after a few weeks of use — and your skin’s whole flaky pastry turnover cycle is about four weeks anyway, so you really need to use it consistently for at least that long to start seeing results. 2) Can you scrub off the flakes? You’re already using a hard-core active here, so be nice! Be gentle! Don’t do any vigorous rubbing or scrubbing! I’ve tried using gommage peeling gels, and they do help a good bit. Someone in the comments on another website raved about glycolic (cream in a jar, or the Radiance Pads from Nip + Fab) working wonders and … since I already have some of those pads, I tried that for a couple of days, to little effect. :( If I find anything that’s super effective and non-damage-incurring, I’ll report back! 3) SUNSCREEN IS 10000% NECESSARY. Retinoids can dramatically increase your skin’s sun sensitivity — meaning you can not only undo the improvements you’re gaining, but possibly even make wrinkles and discoloration worse. Broad-spectrum protection if you’re going to get any sun exposure at all is a must!

I’ve taken a few bare-faced pics to show the starting texture/appearance of my skin — some breakout action, yoooooge pores, discoloration, and a load of fine lines — so I can track progress over the next few weeks. WOO, SCIENCE.

So that’s gonna be my weekend — Flake Management. Okay, and also probably booze. ET VOUS?