ways to buy prescribed tretinoin (retin-A), and it can be pretty easy and very affordable!!!

tretinoin cream

I know a lot of you probably have heard the “cliche” about tretinoin a thousand times already =) If so, please skip the first part and go straight to the content after the separator. I want to share with you my own experience and other possible ways to get prescribed tretinoin.

 

You’ve probably heard of RenovaRetin-A Micro and Retin-A, and know they are good for treating acne and wrinkles. All three prescription-only products share the same main ingredient – topical tretinoin, a form of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids) can unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and reverse sun damage. They do make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so please do remember to use sunscreen whenever you are going out while using retinoids. Tretinoin is the first generation of  vitamin A derivatives. Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids: tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and adapalene (Differin). Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective. (From Oprah)

The cream based tretinoin is more for normal to dry skin, while the gel based is usually for very oily skin. Renova is more moisturizing than Retin A. It is indicated for cosmetic use for fine wrinkles in addition to sun avoidance program. Insurance company doesn’t usually cover Renova, although the active ingredient retinoic acid can be covered on insurance plans. I think anything that’s “cosmetic” isn’t covered by insurance companies.

If you have read any of my posts regarding dermatologists’ medicine cabinet, you will know that all these dermatologists are using topical retinoids themselves. You think it might cost you an arm and a leg? Wrong! Insurance coverage of a prescription trentinoin, like Retin-A, varies by plan, and a 20-gram tube will cost about $60. And generic trentinoin only cost a few bucks! Here is some out-of-my-pocket prices I found on CVS for your reference:

cvs tretinoin price

If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover the products (Even if you have adult acnes, if you are over 38, the insurance company won’t cover your tretinoid), here is the price list I found on Costco (doesn’t account for prescription insurance and co-pays), you may go to the nearest Costco pharmacy to confirm the prices. Generally speaking, Walmart and Costco have the best prices. Although they are more expensive without insurance. But since you only need no more than a pea size for your whole face, and you may use it every other night, a 40g tube may last you 8months to 1 year! I think I will continue to use retinoids even without insurance, as long as they worth every penny! Plus the generic is very reasonably priced.

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

40

80

120

RENOVA 0.02% CREAM (ORT)

Drug Description

$224.76

$447.15

$667.42

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

45

90

135

RETIN-A MICRO 0.04% GEL (ORT)

$556.48

$1,104.13

$1,643.10

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

50

100

150

RETIN-A MICRO PUMP 0.04% GEL (ORT)

$645.31

$1,278.87

$1,905.17

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

45

90

135

RETIN-A MICRO 0.1% GEL (ORT)

Drug Description

$556.48

$1,104.13

$1,643.10

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

20

40

60

TRETINOIN 0.1% CREAM (PER)

Generic Alternative

$67.68

$128.75

$188.61

RETIN-A 0.1% CREAM (ORT)

Drug Description

$315.71

$628.35

$938.47

TRETINOIN 0.1% CREAM (PER)

Generic Alternative

$125.02

$234.35

$343.78

name

qty ( grams )

(manufacturer)

50

100

150

RETIN-A MICRO PUMP 0.1% GEL (ORT)

Drug Description

$645.31

$1,278.87

$1,905.17

You can also get over the counter retinol products that work the same way as tretinoins, but keep in mind that they are way less powerful, only a very small percentage of retinol will actually transform into the format that the skin responds to. But you could start with over the counter products just to get your skin adjusted before using perscription strength. Look for ones with 0.1 percent retinol with tight packaging (to protect the formula from air and light). And if you have extreme sensitive skin, I don’t see why not to use OTC retinol products instead.

========================== This is the Separator ==========================

OK, here we go to talk about the ways of getting tretinoin.

1. walk into a CVS minute clinic, get a prescription and buy the tretinoin at the CVS pharmacy.

This is what I did today. No dermatologist required. It’s great. But before you go, make sure the CVS you are going has a minute clinic and remember to check their working hours. You can find a minute clinic here: http://www.minuteclinic.com

With my insurance, the office visit was $10 copay and the 0.05% generic tretinoin cream was $7.73 copay. I was also the first in line. You need to register on a computer to get in line. It took me like less than 10 minutes to get the prescription. I just told the nurse practitioner that I have adult acnes from time to time and need a new prescription for tretinoin cream. She prescribed me a refill as well. There indeed was a line for drop-off though. And I waited for another 25 minutes in order to pick up the medication even the pharmacist had known that they had it in-store. I bet it would be much faster if you go during workdays. For those of you who don’t really have adult acnes, I believe you can still ask a prescription of tretinoin for anti-aging purpose, but I don’t know if the insurance company will cover your cost. If not, please refer to the above prices I found on Costco. Your local Costco might have a different price.

2. talk to your primary care provider during a visit and ask for a prescription of tretinoin. This way will also save you an extra office visit to the dermatologist.

3. talk to a dermatologist and get a prescription. If you are seeing the dermatologist only for the tretinoin, I would recommend you try the first two ways. I just don’t like to pay for a not very necessary office visit. Of course it is another story if you have other skin concerns.

4. buy online, no prescription needed, and very low prices! Please note that I haven’t personally tried any of these websites. And there are risks to buy online. I heard rumors saying that some of the websites are involved into credit card fraud. I even read a thread in which the poster claims that her dermatologist did some test on these overseas tretinoin products and they have higher or lower content of tretinoin than the package claims.

The two mostly used websites are:

MedsMex: http://medsmex.com/store/home.php

I read some posts saying this website is involved in credit card fraud. But some people say it was because those people weren’t using the real MedsMex website. Apparently there are another two websites if you just google MedsMex… It seems like you can place a money order through phone calls with the owner. That should solve the problem.

Alldaychemist: http://www.alldaychemist.com

This is a company based in India. With that said, the products are made in India. I can’t say if the products are exactly the same as in the US. It only costs $2-3 for a tube. Don’t be surprised. Tretinoins are OTC products in China as well. And they are very cheap, just about $2-3 each. The shipping is $25. A lot of people like to buy 5-6 tubes at one time to make the shipping fee worth it.

All right, that’s all I wanted to share with you about how to get tretinoin. I hope this was helpful.

xoxo,

Ling

 

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17 thoughts on “ways to buy prescribed tretinoin (retin-A), and it can be pretty easy and very affordable!!!

  1. Very helpful post! I had one of these prescribed to me years ago and have been wanting to start using it again, but have been too lazy to go to the dermatologist…Thanks for the tips!

  2. Thank you for the info! Just like bepcity, I want to get back with Retin-A after not using it for years and am looking for the quickest/easiest way to get a script.

    I couldn’t tolerate Retin-A years ago, but I didn’t know then that you can layer other soothing products on top of it.

  3. Hi, great info you put up there. I have a quick question tho, where did you find the prices on the prescription and generic type of retin A ? I went on CVS for the first time today and couldn’t find a place where they provide a price comparison. Thanks so much

    • Sorry this is kind of a very late reply. I think you can find out the pharmaceutical brands Retin-A by just looking up online. As far as I can tell, Costco has the best price for the brand name ones. The generic retin-A is not expensive anyway, the final cost depends on how much your insurance would cover.

  4. What to do if your over 26? I am 50 and very expensive. The generic was $249 at Walgreens for generic .1 and $700 for no generic. One lucky thing was I found a coupon for generic and brought my cost to $124.00 for the 40oz tube. How do you find it in China and is it the real deal?

    • In China they sell at a very cheap price, just like why people here would order it online from India. I heard the strength may not be exactly the same though. It is expensive to buy if you don’t have adult acne and only use it for cosmetic reasons. However, I consider it pretty effective and worth the money than a lot of high-end department store brands such as La Mer and La Prairie. It’s just my 2cents.

  5. You say you “walk into CVS, and get a prescription”. You mean CVS actually gives you a prescription? Don’t you have to bring a prescription from your doctor? Then does CVS ask you for your insurance information? Then the problem is that the insurance companies don’t want to cover any cost for Retin A, so how do you get by with paying only $10.00? Help.

    • Yes Brenda, the nurse practitioner will give you the prescription if you explain your skin conditions. I had $10 office visit copay with my insurance back then. It may differ if you have a different insurance. I do need to pay more now since I have a different insurance. I hope this helps.

  6. I’m 58 and want to know what strength I should start with to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles ? I’ve been using retinol for years and have had no side effects at all !

    • Hi Sandy, glad to hear that you have been using retinol for years. However, I think retinol is a lot gentle on your skin than retin-A. I think most likely you will still need quite some time to build up the tolerance to retin-A. I would start with 0.025% and work my way up to the highest tolerable concentration with minimum side effects. I am not a dermatologist but I did do some research myself. I think generally the rule is the higher concentration the better and the micro gel (the third generation of retin-A, also called Differin/adapalene tends to work better with less side effects on your skin. If I were you, I would try to see a dermatologist and get some professional assessment and advice.

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