Skin Care Retin A, Retinol, Vitamin A. YOUTHFUL SKIN

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Namaste Beautiful Huemans,

finally a non-yoga-related post. I always have SO MUCH to share outside of the yoga world and no time at all. From beauty to spirituality, health, herbs, remedies, to skincare, recipes, sourdough, raw recipes, garden, etc but all in all I mostly share the yoga videos and posts because that’s what my time permits for right now. A skin post ends up taking me hours and hours to finish so I will try to pack it all in and be back with another one in 6 -12 months. Hopefully, in the coming years, my schedule will permit more time for writing and sharing outside of yoga.

If you have any questions about things I forgot to mention please feel free to ask- I am more than happy to answer. My skin is far from perfect. As you can tell from the nonfiltered photo I am including. I do my best to take care of it.

Since I don’t post often I will try to be descriptive and thorough in this post so please bear with me.

A few months ago I made a video that updated you all on my new skincare routine.

The article below may sound like an ad; it is not. None of the products mentioned have been sent to me. The companies have no clue who I am. I am extremely excited about the efficacy of the products and I do not wanna sound less than how blown away I am by the results. I will share my friend’s referral code because I strongly recommend the products- it gives you a free consultation and a free first month and it’s given me better skin than what i have had in the last 5 years. 

A bit of a foreword.

I became very unhappy with my skin in the last few years. We moved to a house on a well and it took me a while to realize that well water is almost always hard water and it can build a film on the skin that weighs it heavy and makes it look less than lustrous.

Once it dawned on me that my water is the culprit I installed a shower filter and started washing my face with filtered water which helped tremendously.

I also decided to jump in on the Retin A bandwagon.

Jonny’s (my partner) dad had tried to “sell” me on Retin A 15 years ago. He gave me bags full of it and all the info I needed about its skin youthifying properties. At the time I tried it in an uncommitted way and my face peeled; I was also not sure about the health effects so I never touched it again. My skin was also still good enough to where I didn’t really feel I needed it.

Anyways fast-forward 15 years later and being in my 40s in addition to moving to a blazing hot, sunny place with hard well water and I had to take more direct measures to address my somewhat dull-looking, larger than usual pore size, somewhat lax skin.  Overall hard water does age the skin and the hair because it weighs it heavy, and it can make it more reactive to the sun.

Anyways on to the Retin A.

I felt I needed the intervention.

I did research the options online and I chose Dermatica. I did a free consultation and a free first month with them. (my friend’s referral will say Albena – my full name. )

In my video, I forgot to mention the cost which is important.  It is about $24.99/ month after the first trial month but they have different payment plans. I just switched to their 6-month plan as it is more cost-effective- around $22 a month. I do find that I buy much less additional skincare as this one is extremely potent and the effects are visible. You can adjust how often they send you a tube – I have it every 25 days. The compounding pharmacy is in Florida. I still buy my Vitamin C and exfoliation skin products that I will list at the end of the article. I also must mention that I am not a fan of the formulation of the tretinoin/ Retin A tube that you get from the dermatologist. The ingredients are less than optimal and it tends to irritate my eyes even if I take measures to avoid the eye area.

Dermatica does a skin evaluation. Basically, you have to fill out a questionnaire and submit face photos and they make a custom formula for you.

Mine has Retin A in increasing concentrations and Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B that makes the skin soft and moisturized).

They sent me a very weak concentration for the first month; a little stronger the following month and after that a typical 0,05%. I never experienced any peeling and my skin started improving dramatically and incrementally over time.

Dermatica    does offer different prescription skincare for all kinds of issues. I am pleased with their formulation.

Now onto RETIN A.

before I list the benefits I have to tell you that the natural alternative Retinol  is not nearly as potent and effective so it might be only suitable for skin that is young and low maintenance. ” it was observed that retinol is 20 times less potent than tretinoin and it requires further conversion to retinoic acid (in vivo) to demonstrate its action ”

I personally do not see visible effects from Retinol so I don’t really recommend wasting your money on it. I do combine retinol products with my retin A but I may stop purchasing them after I run out because I really don’t see much of an effect. That’s not to say that is completely ineffective – it’s just too mild for my needs. Retinal is more effective and I do list it in the products at the end of the article.

Retin A on the other hand is POWERFUL.

It has very penetrating properties so it renews the skin from the deeper layers out.

It is anti-inflammatory, great for acne, sun damage, fine lines, collagen production, and thickening the deeper layer of the skin.

I was under the impression that because it has such powerful exfoliating properties it doesn’t thicken the skin – but rather sluffs it off and leaves it vulnerable to the elements. That is NOT true. It does help the skin turn over so if done in a rush manner it will cause visible and even nasty peeling (it didn’t happen to me this time) and thus make the skin look raw and irritated.  When it is introduced and used correctly it makes the skin actually more resilient.

I have heard people’s cancer spots go away from it.

For me, it brought my pores back to regular size and it has firmed my skin. My whole face has more tone now. (I do face exercises and I will do a video or a post on that soon. I do think skincare and face exercise have to go hand in hand. It’s like diet and exercise for the body. You cannot just do one and expect the full effect).

Quick Retin A benefits:

  • It improves cell turnover and thus collagen production. This means it addresses natural chronological aging.
  • It reverses photoaging- the second form of skin aging. “The efficacy of tretinoin in the treatment of photoaging was first demonstrated by  using an animal model of photoaging. The authors observed that treatment of photoaged mouse skin with tretinoin for 10 weeks resulted in a significant repair zone of new collagen in the papillary dermis, which also correlated with wrinkle effacement.”

The full PubMed article is here

From the same article:

“Following the ex-vivo observations,  conducted a vehicle-controlled open study to evaluate the clinical efficacy of 0.05% tretinoin. The study involved application of 0.05% tretinoin on the photoaged facial and forearm skin for the duration of 3–12 months. Interestingly, tretinoin resulted in clinical improvement of the photoaged skin. Moreover, histological examination showed deposition of reticulin fibers and new dermal collagen formation (type I and III) accompanied by angiogenesis in the papillary dermis. Encouraging results obtained from this study stimulated researchers to conduct a vast number of clinical trials to confirm the clinical efficacy of tretinoin in the treatment of photoaging.”

I am not going to post the whole scientific article here but long term benefits were observed from the 0.05% Retin A treatment in continuous “Improvement in fine wrinkling, coarse wrinkling, sallowness and hyperpigmentation”

Interestingly enough for “Dose escalating study tretinoin cream 0.01% in the 1st month, 0.025% in the 2nd month, 0.05% for next 4 months” which is my treatment plan the 6-month results were: “Improvement in fine and coarse wrinkling, mottled hyperpigmentation, skin texture and laxity”

According to this same article long-term (1 year at least) treatment does lead to the formation of new collagen fibers. “after 12 months, formation of new collagen fibers as well as reduction in nodularly degenerated microfibrillar material was observed in the tretinoin-treated group.”

Since I started using it I have come to realize that it has numerous skin benefits. I do plan on continuing long-term. My partner’s dad was a long-term user and he had the skin to show for it well into his late 70s. 


The list of general benefits:

  • reducing the appearance of fine lines and  dark spots.
  • improving skin texture, pore size, and skin thickness. It improves thin aged skin. Improved collagen production.
  • reducing the frequency and severity of acne outbreaks in inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne
  • clearing up acne, reducing pore size, and pore congestion.

In conclusion, I did not experience any of the negative side effects such as skin peeling and skin irritation due to the slow increase of potency and the additional ingredients such as Niacinamide which help with keeping the skin moisturized and supple.

I am starting month 5 so I still haven’t experienced the long-term benefits beyond 6 and 12 months. Nonetheless, my skin has improved 110%. Even in 4 1/2 or so months I cannot believe the effects and I am kicking myself on the butt for not starting it sooner. Anyways, better late than never!

Onto other products. I will keep it brief-ish so that this post doesn’t become overwhelming.

  1. Always vitamin C serum. I have been ordering different ones. This company  EVA Naturals has fresh-made serums with the addition of MSM, Retinol, Salicylic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and niacinamide.
  2. If you do over-the-counter Vitamin A products go for Retinal. Mychelle is one of the few companies that has that form of Vitamin A. It is more effective than Retinol and also a natural form.
  3. As I am writing this article someone asked me how I keep my forehead smooth. I had to ask Jonny if it is in fact smooth. His response was a weak Yes 🙂 . I consciously try not to grimace too much. I remember when I first met him in my 20s he always told me not to wrinkle it so much. I guess over the years I have stopped. I used to be one of those people who lifted their eyebrows too much. I have never used Botox so I try to include my eyebrow awareness during my face and yoga exercises. (more on that in the future). You can also do face taping in order to train yourself to not move your eyebrows unconsciously. Face kinesio taping is something that I have reconsidered lately. I used to think only some kinesio taping is useful. Now I think it’s a valuable modality in certain circumstances – not just for the face but also for injuries, pregnancy DR, etc. This subject can have a dedicated website on it because it deals with muscle imbalances, overactive expression lines, cosmetic improvement by smoothing lines, etc. This is the tape I have. For forehead use, it is pretty easy to use. I originally got it to relax my jaw muscles, TMJ, and only had to use it a few times because it worked. I tend to clench my jaw unconsciously so this can be used to lengthen certain muscles such as the Mentalis (chin). I have a class on that one. Also, Frownies are quite popular – they are reusable and have some moisturizing ingredients in the patches. I recently bought them to see what the hype is all about and have only tried them once at the time of writing this.  I somewhat like the kinesio tape a bit more. It’s softer. both are effective in training yourself to not fall in habitual patterns.
  4. My favorite Mychelle Retinal EYE CREAM 
  5. EXFOLIATION – I have been using MOON JUICE EXFOLIATOR. This bottle will last you for years. I find that I cannot use glycolic acid too often but once a weak is very beneficial at this point for me. That is another thing I learned from Jonny’s dad. He basically told me: for young skin use RETIN A and Glycolic Acid. Period. (in his doctor’s words. He was an MD)
  6. Raspberry Seed Oil as a natural SPF. I use it daily on my face, nech, chest, and hands.
  7. COOLA SPF. I tend to go back to this brand because it feels like silk and it is nonshiny. It looks and feels like bare skin.
  8. JASON VITAMIN E OIL  – it’s great for hands, chest, face, you name it. A must-have.
  9. Glycolic Serum – this brand has done wonders for my hands. It sluffs off the rough aged-looking skin in one night. I do need to be more consistent with it. The glycolic cream they have is just ass effective. The brand is ALPHA SKIN.  Denver, Colorado based.
  10. FEET – this KERASAL CREAM is miraculous. It’s best to use it overnight with your socks on and you won’t recognize your feet. I personally do not believe petroleum jelly aka vaseline is toxic or harmful. “made by the waxy petroleum material that formed on oil rigs and distilling it.”  It is an earth product and it has gained negative popularity for a reason – the industry has been misused and overused in the pharmaceutical industry. That aside I think 100% pure petroleum jelly is great for certain skin sealing uses. it does not penetrate the skin so in my research poises no toxicity. It is not good to use on large portions of the skin as it will prevent the pores from “breathing”. Harmful if ingested internally. Aside from that I am not opposed to it for certain uses. That is just my opinion. Something I dove into about a decade ago and I realized why petroleum products had gained bad popularity and why as a natural product they still have their applications. They are non-toxic in the form of petroleum jelly. Other earth mined products I use weekly are basing soda and borax.
  11. One gadget. NIRA LASER  for softening wrinkles and eye wrinkles as well as firming the skin above the eye. I find it effective for the lip line – in keeping it plump. I barely have time for it but I try to use it for a minute 3 x a week.  that’s the only thing I do have an affiliate link for and a coupon code  ALI10
  12. Enzyme Fruit Cleaner by Mychelle with Plant Stem Cells. I also cleanse with oil.
  13.  Finally a hearing oil from Jonny’s cousin’s herbal line. 24K Gold Oil 

Her name is Hedieh and this is her herbal IG . 

We use her entire herbal line. It is all California grown and made remedies. 

She grows her herbs and channels the formulations.

I do experiment with skincare and products so I do have a lot more to share e but these are the highlights. This article turned out FAR TOO LONG so I apologize for that. I did my best to be descriptive.

Pfew, if you made it to the end you are a hero. I am wiped out and about to jump in my sauna.







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