If you’ve been suffering from acne, fine lines and wrinkles, or other signs of aging skin, prescription retinol may be an option for you.
But is it covered by insurance?
And what are the side effects?
We’ll help you sort out all the questions about prescription retinol so that you can make an informed decision about whether to try it!
What is prescription retinol?
Broadly speaking, prescription retinol is a form of vitamin A.
It’s used to treat acne, wrinkles, and sun damage.
Because it is a prescription drug, it can be expensive and your insurance may not cover the cost — but if you have severe acne or wrinkles that won’t go away with over-the-counter products, this might be an option for you.
You can also find retinol in over-the-counter creams that are available without a prescription.
These are often marketed for anti-aging purposes — but keep in mind that these products may not have been tested by the FDA as extensively as their prescribed counterparts (if they were at all).
This means that they may not work as well or might even cause side effects like irritation or dry skin.
Is prescription retinol covered by insurance?
Prescription retinol is not covered by insurance, but most major insurance companies will cover prescription retinol with a copay or coinsurance.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Medicare Part D covers prescription retinol and some health insurance plans may require prior authorization before they will cover it.
How much does prescription retinol cost?
The cost of prescription retinol depends on the strength and brand of the product.
Retinol products are not covered by insurance, so if you’re interested in trying one out, be prepared to pay full price.
However, despite being an expensive acne treatment option, retinol can actually be worth it for many people: it helps with mild cases of acne and reduces inflammation—so if you have more severe symptoms or a lot of redness and inflammation around your breakouts (and only want a temporary fix), this option may work for you!
When shopping around for prescription-strength retinols make sure that the product has at least 0.05% tretinoin (a form of vitamin A) as an active ingredient, but beware—the concentration will vary depending on which brand you choose (examples include Retin-A Micro 0.1%, Renova Cream 0.02%, Retisol-A Cream 0.025%).
How is prescription retinol administered?
Prescription retinol creams, lotions, gels, and solutions are the most common forms of prescription retinol.
Prescription retinol is typically applied to the skin at night.
Prescription retinol can be used in conjunction with other acne treatments such as cleansers and exfoliants that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
These other acne treatments work best at killing bacteria on your skin’s surface while prescription retinoids help prevent them from forming in the first place.
Can you get prescription retinol for acne?
Prescription retinol is not FDA-approved for acne, and therefore your insurance company may decide that it is not a covered treatment for acne.
However, prescription retinol can be used to treat acne without the need for a prescription.
If you are interested in using prescription retinol, we recommend speaking with your dermatologist before you start any treatment.
Are there any side effects to using prescription retinol?
Side effects of prescription retinol can include redness, flaking, peeling, and dryness. Some people even experience itching.
It’s important to use sunscreen and limit sun exposure when using prescription retinol products.
Is it safe to use prescription retinol during pregnancy?
It’s not recommended for pregnant women to use prescription retinol, as it can cause birth defects like cleft palate and abnormalities in the face and skull.
If you’re looking to get prescription retinol, it’s important to understand how your insurance and pharmacy benefits work.
If you have a high-deductible plan or no coverage at all, you might want to consider finding an over-the-counter retinol product that meets your needs instead.
However, if you do have prescription coverage, then prescription retinol may be the best choice for treating your acne symptoms—especially if they aren’t responding well or quickly enough with other types of treatments like topical creams or antibiotics.