Online prescription skincare services are having a moment. Forget finding time in your diary (and your GP’s) to book a face-to-face appointment – using expert dermatologists and doctors, these online services aim to digitally decipher how to help your skin and deliver a tailored package straight to your front door.
But as demand continues to grow, so too have the services on offer. With so many on the market, all promising to give you good skin, it’s not easy trying to work out which ones are actually worth the money. So, hello, that’s where we come in. We tried out the most hyped online prescription services for a month, to see if they genuinely helped with our derm dilemmas*. These are the ones we really rated.
*For more complex skin concerns, we would always advise seeing your GP or a dermatologist in person.
From: £24.99 per month
Tested by: Keeks Reid, contributing beauty director
Dermatica is probably the buzziest brand in derm subscription services right now. The sheer amount of Instagram and TikTok ads I’d seen had me bombastic side-eyeing at each scroll, but last year I was sent some products from its range and was surprised by how effective they were – that’s why I warmed up to the idea of testing the subscription side of the brand.
My skin is in pretty good shape and the only thing I wanted help with was my hyperpigmentation. I filled in a questionnaire about my skin type and routine before submitting pictures of my face. It was convenient, but I did wonder how thorough it could be if I was in charge of the images shared and not doing it face-to-face.
Based on my consultation, I was prescribed an own-brand 15ml tube of cream to buy, which contained 0.015% tretinoin, 4% niacinamide and 4% azelaic acid. I was also given info on how to introduce the cream into my routine.
To begin with, I used it a few times a week before upping it to every evening. I could feel my skin improving week on week. At the end of my first month, my hyperpigmentation had faded slightly. Each month, your prescription changes to refocus on your skin concerns and once you’re happy, you can cancel your subscription. In my opinion, it’s an easy, low-commitment, low-interaction derm service.
From: £40 (total price dependent on prescription)
Tested by: Lia Mappoura, beauty assistant
A derm consultation from the comfort of your own home? I couldn’t have signed up faster. This oily-skinned, hormonal acne-prone girlie logged on to GetHarley and, in a few simple steps, bagged herself an appointment within a week.
After signing up, I shared my facial concerns via video call with the dermatologist. Acne, scarring, pigmentation and sensitivity were just some of the problems I listed. From an impressive network of skincare pros, I was assigned my own specialist.
After our chat, the doctor talked me through her recommendations before sending me a ‘how-to’ plan via WhatsApp. Mine featured five products worth £338.60 (which isn’t included in the consultation price). This sum can be paid in monthly instalments and you’re under no obligation to buy it all.
While undeniably pricey, if you do opt to purchase all the products, I thought the service was fantastic. I was able to figure out what ingredients I was missing to target problem areas, and since I’ve been using my new routine, I’ve seen an all-round improvement in my complexion. I can’t wait to see further results with more use.
From: £20 for three months
Tested by: Elena Chabo, beauty writer
What drew me to Renude was that it doesn’t have a product range of its own, so it truly felt all about the service. Membership is £20 for three months, all of which you can redeem on products, while the first consultation is free (quarterly check-ins cost £15).
Before my virtual consultation, I answered questions about my skin type and the complexion concerns I had, as well as uploading photos. Product-wise, there were five price brackets to choose from.
I chose the second lowest to see what could be achieved without bankrupting me with high-end buys. Next, I had a short video chat where we discussed my habits and goals in more depth and the doctor told me she could put together a routine to meet my needs. Her picks were then added to my account for me to purchase via the site.
While it’s hard to build a complete picture in just a month, my main concern was dark circles, and first impressions were really good. Hydration wasn’t something I ever thought I had an issue with my skin is never dry, but the doctor explained that some of my fine lines could be a result of dehydration, and I’ve seen such an improvement in the general glow of my skin and plumpness since following her routine.
Admittedly, I’m fussy when it comes to skincare, but I can honestly say I liked every recommended product. Yes, there were a few more steps than I’m used to, but everything went on seamlessly and the doctor even managed to find a retinol that didn’t upset my skin. From first steps to follow-ups, I can’t fault the service.
From: £49 per month
Tested by: Charlotte Bitmead, senior beauty writer
To start my journey, I filled out an online questionnaire that asked me everything from how much sun exposure I usually got, to what my mum’s skin looked like. I then took pictures of my face from all angles to determine my skin type.
Once that was done, the process was quick and I had my prescription within a day, and my treatment –an own-brand serum – was on its way not long after I ordered it. I have rosacea and I’m acne-prone, my prescription included a combination of 15% azelaic acid, 1% ivermectin and 0.01% tretinoin to tackle pigmentation.
While I only opted for the serum, they did recommend a full routine, which included budget-friendly brands so I didn’t have to spend a fortune. I was a tretinoin first-timer, which resulted in some purging (to be expected), but in a month I found my rosacea flare-ups were few and far between and there was no denying my skin was smoother and more glowy.
But my one bugbear? The packaging. Although I appreciate the environmentally friendly refill, it wasn’t air-tight and didn’t travel well. Also, the serum tube was so short it meant that getting the product out was a struggle. Overall, though, I was impressed with the ingredients on offer and the results, so I’d 100% continue my Klira journey.
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