My struggles with my skin began in high school, when I developed cystic acne that was only cleared up with an Accutane prescription (aka, strong stuff). As I entered into young adulthood, my skin gradually calmed down and I was able to manage my acne pretty successfully with over-the-counter products. I became obsessed with skin care a couple of years ago and my love of exploring new “potions” (as my daughter calls them) quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. Things were looking up!
And then…2020 happened.
Like most folks, I thought 2020 was a horror show, with one notable exception: my second child was born! While I of course welcomed the birth of my son, I was NOT a fan of my hormonal cystic acne that came back with a vengeance.
I tried all my potions to address my acne, to no avail. It became clear to me: I needed some professional help. The problem was, I didn’t want to wait weeks (or longer!) to see a dermatologist, which would involve taking off work, going to a doctor’s office during a pandemic, and spending a co-pay…on top of paying for a prescription.
Enter Apostrophe: an online skin care service which pairs you with a board certified dermatologist that prescribes products to address your skin’s needs and mail prescriptions straight to your door. It sounded fantastic! But would it work for me? I decided to give it a try.
Creating an account was easy and quick. I answered some standard questions, like what my skin concerns were and what other prescriptions I was taking. There were other questions that I was not expecting but appreciated, like “how willing are you to tolerate skin peeling?” and “is there a specific medication you’re interested in?” Finally, I uploaded photos of my face taken from various angles, focusing on areas where acne was most prominent.
In about 24 hours, my assigned dermatologist had a custom plan ready for me! She prescribed an oral medication to help combat the hormonal acne as well as a topical treatment of tretinoin (retinoic acid or vitamin A, which is in the retinoid family) which helps with acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and doing your laundry (okay…maybe not that last one but OMG, scientists, please get on that). I ordered a three month supply of my prescriptions, and in a few days they arrived at my door!
The first thing I admired about the products was the packaging. The design was sleek and simple. There were detailed instructions about how to use the products and how to contact your dermatologist with questions. The dermatologist also made suggestions for specific over-the-counter products that “play nice” with my prescriptions, including gentle cleansers and moisturizers.
I’ve been using the products for about a week and…so far so good! I don’t notice a huge difference yet, but stay tuned! I’d love to do an update in about three months to share my progress.
One big (and important) question you may be asking: “How much does it cost?” For the three month supply of both my oral medication and topical treatment, the total was $115 after a 10% discount code I found online. For me, this seemed like a reasonable cost for prescription-strength skin care that comes straight to my door, and direct contact with a board certified dermatologist, but I acknowledge that not everyone’s budget can accommodate this.
Overall, I have been very impressed by my experience with Apostrophe so far and I’m excited to see how my skin responds over the next few months. While no one should feel pressured or obligated to have clear or “perfect” skin, if you’re looking for a convenient way to get prescription-strength skin care, I’d recommend giving this type of service a try, whether you’ve had acne your whole life or if it’s just a “fun” byproduct of the pandemic.