The internet is freaking out over the results.

By Faith Brar
August 15, 2018
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Dealing with constant acne and breakouts can be incredibly frustrating-especially when you've tried every treatment, cream, or pill out there to help rid you of this super-common problem. Reddit user, Trulystellar, is no stranger to that feeling. She spent the past year trying to self-treat her breakouts, failing miserably. (Related: 10 Healthy Skin Habits to Establish In Your 20s)

Recently, however, she shared a before-and-after photo showing off her blemish-free, glowing, poreless skin in comparison to what it looked like when she was desperately hunting for remedies. Naturally, the internet began freaking out at the drastic change and was dying to know what finally helped her get the results she wanted. The answer? Retinol. (Did you know that more breakouts mean younger-looking skin?)

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Photo: Reddit

The Reddit user shared that after running out of options, she sought out a dermatologist who prescribed her with tretinoin, which is basically retinol but slightly stronger. "Three months using tretinoin and my skin has come such a long way," she wrote alongside the post. "I tried acids and different [over-the-counter medications] on my adult acne for nearly a year with no success, so if you feel you're out of options, see a dermatologist!" (Related: How Often Should You Really Have a Skin Exam?)

The before-and-after photos clearly show how much of a difference tretinoin made on her skin in such a short time. But what makes it so effective? As we've previously reported, retinol and different variations of it help stimulate collagen production and speed up cell turnover, both important parts of any anti-aging routine, while also keeping pores clear, a must for clearing acne. The level of efficacy, however, depends on the product you're using. Tretinoin, for example, is only available via prescription. If that bums you out, it's worth noting that it's not in everyone's best interest to jump right to a prescription-strength version of retinol. (Related: Can At-Home Blue Light Devices Really Clear Acne?)

A product that contains less-intense retinol, like RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Crème, available at your local CVS, might be a good place to start. Differin is also another great option, which uses an ingredient called adapalene that is similar to retinol. If OTC options don't work, then it might be a good idea to talk to your derm about getting a prescription. But when it comes to your skin, taking it one step at a time is always a good idea.