Venturing into the world of retinoids can be confusing. Can you pick some up at Target? Should you get it through your dermatologist instead? What do the different strengths mean? How are you supposed to apply it?
It can take a lot of time reading up on retinoids to get a handle on the dos and don’ts. But, before you get to that point, the first choice is, are you going to use an OTC retinoid or a prescription one?
There is not a blanket answer for everyone. The best retinoid for you will depend on your current skin, your ultimate skin goals, your general sensitivity level, and your patience level.
Jumping right into a prescription retinoid over the non-RX stuff is not the best answer for everyone, but it may be a good start for some people. Below, we will highlight 6 reasons why you (or your skin) may prefer and possibly get a better response from going for a prescription option.
For some people, it can be wise to start out with the over-the-counter options to stick your toes into the retinoid pool. You may be able to gauge any potential irritation, get into the habit of extra moisturizing, or, you may even achieve all the skin benefits you need with these less intense products.
But, that is not always the case for everyone. If you have already given some over-the-counter options a fighting chance, but they just aren’t giving you the results you want or expect -- it might be time for a prescription option.
If you think that a prescription retinoid option route is the way you want to go, you may want to consider your skin type first. If your skin is chronically dry and flaky even with regular moisturizer, or your skin tends to be very sensitive and react to seemingly everything, jumping right into the retinoid deep end with RX options may not be your best bet.
However, if your skin handles anything you throw at it like a champ, and dryness has never really been an issue (or oiliness has), your skin may be a better fit to try out the stronger prescription retinoids right off the bat.
There are certain skin situations that simply may be too difficult to be taken care of by an OTC retinoid alone, since they are considerably less strong than the RX options.
If your issue is severe inflammatory acne, or deep acne scarring that you want to help level out, it may be smart to get into the stronger stuff right away and not waste your time (or money) on OTC retinoids that probably won’t be able to handle these more intense skin situations.
Prescription retinoids can give you results sooner as far as acne and anti-aging benefits go, but they can also cause a more intense adjustment (read: purging/breakout) period before you get there.
If a more intense adjustment period sounds worth it to you if the results may be better or happen sooner, you may want to go with prescription options.
One of the big benefits of getting a prescription retinoid is the medical professional that writes the prescription for you. They are likely experts in skincare and are well trained on prescription retinoids to help them select the correct strength, and application regimen, and evaluate your skin to make sure you are a good fit for treatment. You won’t get a medical professional’s opinion and expertise by just selecting a random retinol from your local drugstore.
Retinoids are not known to be easy. In fact, they can be downright temperamental if you do not have a solid skincare and sunscreen routine to help smooth out the issues that come along with retinoid use.
Prescription retinoids almost demand that you moisturize twice daily, go gentle on other actives, and use sunscreen daily to get a good outcome and avoid upsetting your moisture barrier. So, if you struggle with regular moisturizing and daily sunscreen is a “maybe” for you, starting a strong retinoid may not be the best option.
However, if moisturizing is second nature to you, and heading out for your day without sunscreen just feels wrong -- you might be able to handle the addition of a prescription retinoid way easier, without having to switch up too much in your current routine.
Here at Strut, we offer customized prescription retinoid treatments containing Tretinoin, one of the most popular and well-studied prescription retinoids.
Depending on your skin concerns, our formulations can utilize additional complementary active ingredients to target specific issues including acne, acne scars, melasma, or general anti-aging.
If you want to see if a prescription Tretinoin formula is a good fit for you, simply select the skincare medication for your skin concern, and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation. Our doctors will review your information and determine if a medication is a good option for you.
If you are a good candidate, your prescription will be made in a compounding pharmacy and shipped to your front door with our free shipping.