Retain All

My skin has been freaking out these past few years. I had beautiful skin as a teenager, hardly ever a blemish. Now, as a 20-something, I’m constantly battling adult acne. What gives?

This past summer, I had a particularly bad skin reaction that led to a strict no-selfie period (due to heightened self-consciousness) and an appointment with my primary care doctor. During that visit, she prescribed me a prescription retinol. After weeks of struggling to find a combination that would work, the retinol was a miracle drug. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the price tag – $68 after insurance.
Could you get the same kind of results WITHOUT the prescription?

Well, yes. Sort of.

Retinol is a super common skincare additive. I would mix a pea-sized amount of my prescription with moisturizer, and I learned quickly the hard way that many moisturizers ALSO had retinol. Too much retinol, while clearing my skin, just created dry flaky skin. Better than acne? Sure. But dry and flaky skin isn’t the kind of result you’ll see commercials bragging about.

But used correctly, retinol is a live saver. It stimulates the production of new skin cells and fades dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation, photo-ageing, hormonal changes, and blemish scars. You just need to pair a retinol with the appropriate hydrating products.

Now, here comes dat sponsor.

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Oh, whaddup.

StriVectin reached out with a full-size 1 ounce of their $99 retinol serum, s.t.a.r.light retinol night oil.

This product is fantastic for a first-time retinol user. It isn’t too much, it’s hard to overdo. It still packs a decent retinol punch and rivalled my $68 prescription in results. It is a non-greasy, quick-absorbing formula. 2 months into using my bottle, it’s still kicking.

However, StriVectin is not cruelty-free. And one ounce of anything for $99 is absolutely ridiculous to me. Unless it was like, 454 hundred dollar bills (which each are equal to a gram, 454 grams in an ounce). Especially since there are cruelty-free alternatives such as The Ordinary, whose own retinol serum comes to just $9.80.

Save the animals, and save $89.20. Only go to your PCP for a prescription if you desperately need skin cell turnover or if you have insanely dope insurance coverage (which most of us do not).

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