As forecasted, I ran out of tretinoin.

Holding true to my promise of trying out local brand alternatives, I purchased Derm A instead of Retacnyl.

The 15g tube cost me Php 199 at Watsons. I thought it was cheap considering how big the tube was.

The photo below, believe it or not, was taken right after squeezing out the first pea-sized amount that I needed. From the looks of it, half of the tube is just AIR.

On the bright side, now I know how poor I am at estimating gram-age against container-size.

Derm A 0.025 Tretinoin Cream
Derm A 0.025 Tretinoin Cream

After comparing the tube to my old and empty Retacnyl, I realized that it did contain 15 grams. It seems like they were trying to trick people into thinking that it contains more product than it really has.

But it wasn’t their attempt of tricking people that pissed me off.

It’s that they made a huuuge mistake of putting air in the container of a product that oxidizes upon contact with — you guessed it — air!

Tretinoin is in a tube for a reason — and that is to keep the product as airtight as possible. I’m still pissed at Derm Pharma. I really hope they consider packing their tretinoin in a smaller air-free tube as soon as possible.

On to the road test part.

It’s unfortunate that they had to succumb to optical illusion, because of all the tretinoin creams I’ve used, I love the texture of this the most. Retin A and Retacnyl have a film-ish feel to them when applied on the skin. The film sits on top the skin until you wake up in the morning to rinse it off. On the other hand, Derm A, feels like it’s absorbed into the skin like a good basic moisturizer.

I’m a week into using it and I haven’t experienced any unfavorable reaction yet. However, I don’t know if it actually does something.

The thing with tretinoin is that you’d have to use it for months before you reap the benefits. I’ve been using tretinoin for almost 3 years now and the only way I would know if this one isn’t working is if the effects of my 3-year usage fades away.

I will still finish the tube but I probably won’t buy it again unless they change their MO. I know, harsh. But I’m not gonna throw away 3 years down the drain.

See that other tube in the photo? That’s the moisturizer that came with it which is also half-empty.


Hi, I’m Rae and I am a scatterbrain. I am in my 30s and I write in this blog from the Philippines. I spend a tiny portion of my time de-stressing with makeup and skin care. Email: | Instagram: @scatterbraintures


  1. I use Stieva but I haven't been using it as regularly as I know I should. Whenever I use it though, I love the pore-tightening effect it has on my skin.

  2. So far everything I've read about tretinoin is you can't get it exposed to oxygen loosely referred to as air, and UV rays (light) because it breaks down.

    I think it's effortful for them to go out of their way to fill it in with any other type if airy chemical. Literally all other tretinoin tubes are airtight. Even the pump type retin a micro.

    I don't know why sa philippines uso ang tretinoin na nasa tub.

  3. I'm thinking of trying tretinoin. But I think it takes a certain amount of commitment to make it work with other skincare products. In other words, I have to be more careful experimenting. I'm not sure if that's really the case or I'm just over-analyzing it.

    About the packaging. I think there's a good reason for the manufacturer to package their products like so. In the case of potato chips, although it seems like they're tricking you into making it look like there's more chips than there really is, the excess air inside the pack serves as a shock protector and protects the chips from breaking.

    In the case of Derm A, I don't know why there's so much air. But I wonder if tretinoin oxidizes to anything in gas form or does it oxidize when it comes in contact with oxygen alone (although I think one can only use the word “oxidize” when there's oxygen involved), or if there's a chance that the air inside the tube is completely oxygen-free and is made out of another compound in gas form instead, one that that doesn't cause tretinoin to oxidize. Ok, I'm having trouble articulating this, but I think you get what I mean.

  4. Gah! I know how you feel. Though my experience pertains mostly to potato chips, it makes me want to strangle people all the same. :p

  5. Retacnyl is ok, I like it better than Retin-A and Stieva-A only because it's the least greasy. I hope it's available there.

  6. A lot of product packaging can be misleading talaga. I used tretinoin before but stopped because it wasn't available in Singapore. You just reminded me to look for it here in Jakarta. I hope they have Retacnyl here. How is it?

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: