Many have found that when it comes to treating acne, pigmentation, rosacea and even lines and wrinkles – nothing beats prescription skincare. But since getting an NHS dermatology appointment is near impossible, going private is the fastest route to better skin.
However, consultation costs, private prescriptions and varying pharmacy prices have meant that a whole host of us haven’t ever tried the likes of tretinoin, hydroquinone and clindamycin – until now.
Cue the rise of ‘affordable’ dermatologist backed online prescription skincare services where you simply fill out a detailed questionnaire and are sent a bespoke mix of prescription and non-prescription high dose actives to revitalise your skin. What makes these online offerings different is that they don’t simply offer the standard percentages offered by pharmacies, 0.025%, 0.5%, 0.1% for tretinoin for example.
Instead, the derms and prescribers at these brands choose percentages that are tailored to you, which helps avoid unpleasant side effects like irritation, peeling, and dry skin. They are also able to offer tretinoin with a blend of other actives, in the right kind of base that would suit your skin type and target your concerns. Each month they build up the potency and charge between £24.99 - £49 per month, which is generally less than half of what tretinoin would cost you at the pharmacy.
The three making the most noise at the moment are Skin + Me, Dermatica, and Klira. Read on to discover how they work and what makes them different from one another…
Klira’s detailed online diagnostic test, based on your genetic characteristics and environmental exposure, takes the guesswork out of skincare. 51 dermatologist devised questions that cover collagen, melanin, sebum and skin barrier reveal your ‘SkinSize’ – one of 12 skin categories defined by Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Emma Craythorne. Each SkinSize has its own custom-blend of acne, pigmentation and wrinkle busting tretinoin and azelaic acid, housed in a cream base that’s right for your skin. And it doesn’t stop there, because Klira only offers one product to be used at night (more will launch in the near future), they happily recommend an edit of skincare products from a range of brands to optimise your skincare regime and ultimately give you the complexion you’ve always wanted.
From £49 per month
A 5-minute consultation to begin allows dermatologists to create a personalised combination of ingredients to treat anything from acne to ageing. Skin+Me also offer a tretinoin-based night cream, but yours could be laced with anything from exfoliating azelaic acid and sebum balancing niacinamide, to soothing anti-inflammatory clindamycin. They also offer cleansers and moisturisers that are designed to work alongside the active packed Daily Doser, to nourish and protect the skin barrier counteracting common side effects like dryness, and irritation that occur when first using tretinoin. One feature that’s really impressive is the click dispenser of the Daily Doser – twist till it clicks to get the exact amount you need, also ensuring that you don’t cause unwanted irritation by using too much.
From £24.99 per month
DermaticaWith treatments for acne, anti-ageing, hyperpigmentation, melasma, skin glow and rosacea, everyone is covered at Dermatica. The process starts with a questionnaire, which, along with your photos are assessed by the Dermatica team that includes consultant dermatologists, pharmacists, GPs, clinical researchers, and formulation scientists. They formulate your bespoke skincare prescription using the widest range of ingredients when compared to Klira and Skin+Me. Think hydroquinone, used to decrease the amount of pigment in the skin’s cells; ivermectin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic medicine that tackles the demodex mite thought to be involved in rosacea; metronidazole, the antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties that helps control the redness along with any spots and bumps of rosacea, and fluocinolone acetonide, a mild corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, along with niacinamide, tretinoin, clindamycin, azelaic acid, adaptolene and benzoyle peroxide. They also have a universal cleanser and moisturiser to complement their custom made creams that are sent monthly to your home.
From £19.99 per month