If you have acne or slight signs of aging on your skin, you might start with over-the-counter products with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide or with anti-aging ingredients like retinol. Then, if those don’t give you clearer, more youthful-looking skin, you may want to try tretinoin.
This is a prescription treatment that can help with acne, fine lines and wrinkles, and dark spots. In this article, we’ll cover more on what it is, how you can get prescription tretinoin cream online, and which online dermatologist might be your best choice to get it from.
But before we get into the various places you can get this medicine online, let’s cut to the chase in case you already know you want it.
What are our favorite Rx tretinoin creams online?
Best online prescription experience
Strongest formulation available
Best tretinoin for wrinkles
In addition to the tretinoin, Wisp has active ingredients that encourage cell turnover, offers immunity, minimizes fine lines & wrinkles, and protects against sun damage (helping with the wrinkles, too!), among many other things. This is in addition to offering the value of a 3-month subscription.
Taking a step back: What is tretinoin?
Tretinoin is a synthetic vitamin A treatment—you might also hear it called retinoic acid—that comes in a topical gel, cream or lotion you apply to your skin. Dermatologists may prescribe it for acne and/or for skin aging issues like dark spots and fine lines. Some of the most common brand names it comes under are Renova, Retin-A Micro, Retin-A Micro Pump, Refissa and Retin-X.
It’s one of the most well studied topical retinoids available on the market today, and has been approved for use in dermatology for more than four decades. There is a lots of clinical research demonstrating the efficacy of tretinoin for wrinkles and sun damage, and other studies suggesting tretinoin can help with anti-aging.
How does tretinoin (aka Retin-A) work?
The tretinoin creates skin irritation that kills off skin cells faster, encouraging your body to make new ones. This process helps create a fresher, healthier look to your skin. It also helps with acne by cutting down on inflammation and keeping your follicles from getting blocked. It’s used for both clearing up acne breakouts and minimizing new ones.
Tretinoin essentially hastens the sloughing off photo-damaged (sun-damaged) skin cells, exposing your healthier skin underneath. In addition, it helps increase collagen production, which is responsible for skin elasticity and bounce.
Tretinoin vs Retinol: What’s the difference?
Some brands talk about over-the-counter tretinoin, but calling it that is a bit deceptive. They’re actually referring to a much less potent ingredient called retinol. You can’t get tretinoin over the counter–it has to come with a prescription.
If you are interested in the technical difference, retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, while tretinoin is a more powerful, synthetic version.
How do you get a tretinoin prescription online?
To get this prescription-strength skin treatment, you need to first get a prescription through a doctor. Before telemedicine made things easy, you’d typically go see your primary care physician for new prescriptions, and they would likely refer you to a dermatologist. This specialist would evaluate your skin, offer a diagnosis and prescribe prescription meds if deemed a fit.
The in-person dermatology appointment required driving, waiting, consulting a doctor face-to-face, and then going to a nearby pharmacy to pick up your prescription meds. In 2021, that all just sounds like too much work.
Thankfully, new telehealth startups have simplified the process of getting tretinoin online, in addition to other rx skincare products. Let’s dive into how the process works and what you need to do to get a prescription.
How to get tretinoin (including your prescription) from an online dermatologist?
|You can have a virtual visit with an online dermatologist and get tretinoin sent directly to you, which is obviously a lot more convenient than going in person. The online providers we review below make it quick and inexpensive to consult a doctor online to get a prescription. And as promised, they’ll send your meds directly to your home on a regular cadence.|
Which online dermatologists prescribe tretinoin?
There are quite a few legitimate online dermatologists to choose from that can prescribe you tretinoin online and send it directly to your door. Let’s take a look at some of the top options and compare their tretinoin strength in a side-by-side comparison.
Best Online Dermatologists for Tretinoin
|Tretinoin uses||Acne, anti-aging||Acne, anti-aging||Acne, anti-aging||Acne, anti-aging||Acne, anti-aging, discoloration|
|Offerings||Tretinoin Formula or Tretinoin + Clindamycin Formula||Customized Acne Cream, Anti-Aging Cream||Customized Rx Acne Cream, Anti-Aging Cream||Nightly Defense blend for acne or anti-aging||50ml tretinoin cream|
|Tretinoin strength||Customized formulas with tretinoin from 0.025% to 0.1%||Customized formulas including tretinoin 0.0125%, 0.022% or 0.035%||Customized formulas including tretinoin 0.0125%, 0.022% or 0.035%||Customized formulas including tretinoin 0.015%, 0.03% or 0.055% for corrective anti-aging blend or 0.04% for acne blend||Tretinoin 0.04%, Azelaic Acid 5%, Niacinamide 4%|
|Intro offer||$15 off tretinoin with code FIN15||$10 per month intro offer for anti-aging cream or acne cream||$10 per month intro offer for anti-aging cream or acne cream||$5 to start tretinoin||n/a|
|Cost of online tretinoin prescription||$75 every 3 months for tretinoin formula||Not transparent about pricing after intro offer||Not transparent about pricing after intro offer||$25 per month for Nightly Defense||$85 for 3-month supply|
$28/month for 3-month supply with automatic refills, includes wispcare
|Cost of virtual visit||$20, but if prescribed, is applied toward cost of prescription||$39||$39||$15, refunded if you’re not eligible for treatment||Included|
The verdict: Which online dermatologist is best for prescription tretinoin?
Now that you know about many of the online tretinoin prescription services available to you, it’s time to pick the best one. Ultimately, we don’t like to say that one company is best because one might be best for me while another one is best for you. It comes down to your own needs and preferences. That’s why we cover a few and give a comparison chart, to help you compare and contrast to choose your best bet. Let’s go over the similarities and differences a little more.
You can see from the chart above that all of these companies (Apostrophe, Hims, Hers, Rory, Wisp) offer tretinoin options through an online service. You can set up a consultation with an online medical professional and see if this medicine is right for you. If so, you’ll get a custom formula sent to your door.
Most of the brands offer custom formulas that are based on your online visit with a medical professional, and they all prescribe tretinoin for both acne and anti-aging purposes. The companies have somewhat different offerings, so one may make sense for you more than another.
Wisp does not yet offer a customizable formula, but the combination of their active ingredients are the most successful in providing anti-aging results over long term consistent use. In combination with their 90-day subscription, Wisp makes sure to keep the delivery regular in order to help mitigate long-term use.
Hims and Hers come from the same company. Hims is intended for men, while Hers is designed for women. I personally don’t like the lack of transparency about their regular pricing after the introductory offer, but you may find it worth going after the offer price, and then you can always cancel the service if you don’t like it after that.
Best extra-strong tretinoin cream online
Apostrophe has the option of higher strength tretinoin formulas. If lower strength tretinoin hasn’t worked for you previously or you have severe acne, you may want to consider the higher range that Apostrophe offers. They are probably the best bet if you are looking for extra-strength formulations. Remember to use the code FIN15 at checkout to save $15!
On the other hand, if you have sensitive skin or want a more gentle formula, Apostrophe’s strength range starts higher than the others, so you may want to go for a lower strength dose from Hims, Hers or Rory. Hims (for men) & Hers (for women) make it easy to get started for just $10 per month:
Also, the different tretinoin cream formulas contain different ingredients in their custom blends. So if you’re not sure about one brand over another when comparing tretinoin alone, you might want to compare other aspects of their products to make your decision. Below are the full ingredient list for each:
Hims & Hers tretinoin cream ingredients
Active Ingredients: Tretinoin, Niacinamide
Base: Caprylic / capric triglycerides, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, cetyl esters, wax, dimethicone 350 NF, ethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, glyceryl stearate, hydroxyethyl acrylate, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, lecithin, octyldodecanol, PEG-100 stearate, phenoxyethanol, poloxamer 407, polyoxyethylene (2) stearyl ether, polyoxyethylene (21) stearyl ether, polysorbate 60, propylene glycol, purified bentonite, purified water, sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, sorbitol, squalene and stearyl alcohol
Rory nightly defense tretinoin cream ingredients
Active Ingredients: Tretinoin (0.015%, 0.03%, or 0.055%), Niacinamide (vitamin B3), Ceramides, Vitamin E (acetate)
Apostrophe tretinoin formula ingredients
Active Ingredients: Tretinoin (0.018% – 0.1%), Niacinamide
Wisp wrinkle firming (tretinoin) cream ingredients
Active Ingredients: Tretinoin (0.04% – 0.1%), Azelaic Acid (5%), Niacinamide (4%)
Hopefully, this brief overview helps you compare online dermatologists and make your choice of where to buy tretinoin online. And all four brands offer attractive introductory discounts — just remember that skincare requires discipline, so you should commit to applying these creams daily for at least a few months. If you decide to try Apostrophe, don’t forget to use code FIN15 as checkout for $15 off.