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Denver, CO

Retin-A CAUSED my pores to enlarge
Derma RollerAcneBlackheads & Whiteheads

Hi, there. I'm at my wits end, so I'm hoping you can help steer me in the right direction. Can Retin-A CAUSE sudden dilation of pores?? I realize that sounds contrary to what Retin-A is purported to do, but here's my story...

My entire life I've had mostly dryish skin, with nearly invisible pores. In recent years I've begun developing cystic pimples on my cheeks (approx 4-5 pimples per month), but still continued to be dry and pore-less in appearance. Finally, seven weeks ago I got tired of being the 30-year-old with painful monthly cysts on her face, so I was prescribed Retin-A cream (0.05%) by a dermatologist. As of today, I really like what it's done for my pimples and fine lines I was beginning to notice. However, despite positive results in one area, something terrible has happened in another. On about the third day of Retin-A, my pores suddenly opened wide and haven't closed since. They are HUGE, and they're EVERYWHERE! Every time I look in the mirror I am shocked to see this hideous transformation. I truly did not even realize I had pores any place except my nose, until now. The wide open pores are solid across my cheek bones, in the hollows of my cheeks, on the "apples" of my cheeks and all across my forehead. And it also appears that any spot where I ever had a pimple in my life is now an even bigger pore. What has happened?? Have you ever heard of this happening with a new regimen of Retin-A? Could this sudden dilation be permanent?

When I initially saw the pores, I immediately thought my already dryish skin was shocked by the Retin-A and overcompensating for its drying effect, so I responded by adding a boatload of moisturizers. From approximately days 4 through days 8 of being on the Retin-A, I would layer on two different moisturizers in the AM, reapply 1-2 times during the day, then reapply about an hour after applying the Retin-A a night. Turns out that routine was a bit moisture-aggressive because for the first time in my life I became super-oily (and it didn?t help the pore size either). So, around day 9 or 10, I stopped the aggressive moisturizing approach, and now apply a good moisturizer in the AM and PM; I'll touch up very lightly mid-day ONLY if absolutely necessary (but for the most part I've learned to live with just an AM and PM moisturizer, and also learned to tolerate mild tightness/dryness throughout the day). That immediately got rid of the temporary oiliness I experienced, but did nothing for my pore size. I've also introduced a daily vitamin-C serum in the AM, as well as an alcohol-free witch hazel toner in the PM (both of these were suggested to me to re-close my pores to their old size). I use Retin-A 4-5 nights a week. I'm cleansing with either Cetaphil or Boots No. 7 Soft & Soothed for normal/dry skin. I'm moisturizing w/ CeraVe facial lotion and/or a pure oil (so far I've tried jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, and rice bran). But nothing is helping return my pores to their original size!!

So, to be clear, I do not have oily skin that usually accompanies enlarged pores. I have dry skin, and always had very small, invisible pores...that is, until I started Retin-A, when my pores suddenly opened up all across my face.

Anyway, any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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Doctor/Professional Answers (2)   


Plastic surgeon
Miami, FL
United States
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November 3, 2010 4:35 AM

Try a derma roller maybe it will decrease the pore size. (more)
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Claremont, CA
United States
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April 27, 2010 11:01 AM

Try a very simple, yet very effective treatment of steam and mud masque. The steam will clear out whatever is in the large pore....there is something there, keeping it enlarged. Once (more)
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Member Comments (10)
Page: «Newest | 1 2 | Oldest » | Read all 10 Answers

June 29, 2017 7:33 PM

How long after u stopped retin a ur pores went back to normal ?

  Acretin Results
June 29, 2017 1:00 PM

I had hyperpigmentation and large opened pores; I was using acretin alone and it made my skin worse but then a doctor prescribed a mixture of three creams to be used at night time hydrocorisone 17-butyrate, hydroquinone USP (Skin bleaching ), Tretinoin 0.05(Acretin) and dexpanthenol as a mosturiser in the day time. I have undergone three chemical peels and dermarolling together. The size of shrunk pores is drastically improved and the pigmentation is cleared. I have seen improvement when I started using the mixture of creams. I use the body shop tea tree oil cleanser and toner;I keep the use of the toner to the minimum. In my opinion Acretin is the key to improve the skin, You will notice darker and pores looking enlarged in the beginning but after 6months You will get the proper results.

June 19, 2017 9:53 AM

To Vani09- No my pores have not shrunk. They are still just as opened as they were 11 months ago. I don't know what to do anymore

June 18, 2017 7:37 PM

Hi has ur pores shrink ?

  Please help me!! Please! Tretinon caused enlarged pores
June 2, 2017 10:21 PM

Everything all of you have went through, with tretinon causing extremely enlarged pores, has happened to me also. In addition to that, it has also caused eye problems (pain, blurriness). I used tretinon (generic version: adaplene) for not even two weeks. It has been 11 months since I've used it, I've been gentle with my skin ever since (all natural products), yet there is no change. Words can't express the pain I feel every single day. Depression is an understatement. I know this post is old, but please, if any of you or anyone has healed from these enlarged pores symptoms please let me know your routine. Thank you

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