I wanted to respond because I have used all 3 retinoids you speak of. I am a female, age 44, cystic acne, for at least 30 years. Retin a and Retin a micro both worked well for me for a LONG time and because I do suffer from acne cystic in nature, I will be using retinoids always ( They will also help in the anti winkling that you speak of). Retin a micro has stopped being as effective for me so now I am using Tazorac, just for a change and to jump start my skin a bit and it is helping very much. I will mention that I am taking an oral antibiotic as well as applying Duac topical in the morning.Tazorac is stronger than Retin a micro as a course of therapy. I used Differin for about 12 weeks and saw only brief improvement.
You mentioned that you are flakey above the lip. Keep your medication away from this area entirely. Like you, I like the sun, just remember to sunscreen when using these medications.
I know you must be frustrated, because adult onset acne is hard to deal with, but all hormonal, and stress related in my opinion. Hang in there and if I can answer any other questions, I will try to.