Retinoids have the ability to turn back time, literally. There is not a more effective topical treatment on the market than prescription based retinoids. I’ve been using them since I was 22.

I’m partnering with Dear Brightly on this (dream partnership) and one thing they said to me on the phone was, “you’re so lucky you knew about prescription based retinoids at such a young age…. and that you had access to them.”


Prior to Dear Brightly, you could only get prescription based retinoids by visiting a dermatologist in person. So you had to set an appointment, take the time to go, and then get a prescription.

I was 22 when I first went to the Dermatologist with my Grandma. She took me along with her one day and had a close relationship with her Doctor- she had been seeing her for over 20 years! I remember asking the Doctor what I could do that would best preserve my skin.

She told me: “Two things- stay out of the sun and use retinoids.” She was nice enough to write me a prescription right there.

Since then I have completely followed that protocol. Retinoids have played a HUGE role in my skin. People always ask me if I’ve had botox and no- I haven’t! (Although I’m considering it for preventive reasons.) I get asked about my skin all the time and my number one tip is always: PRESCRIPTION BASED RETINOIDS.

I’ve mentioned it in stories a few times and in this article I wrote last year– but I haven’t been super loud about it until now. The reason being it was so far out of reach for many people. Dermatologists are expensive. Or people don’t have time.

That’s why I think Dear Brightly is brilliant. They are a service, not a pharmacy.
The way it works is you fill out a questionnaire about your skin and submit photos. This gets sent to a Doctor to review.
That’s it! You get sent your own CUSTOM retinoid. They’ll start you off at a comfortable strength.

It’s crazy really, to be able to have THIS KIND OF ACCESS is just insane to me. It’s the same stuff I have been using since I was 22! You can save up to $200! Like WHAT? Thank you, skin Gods. I know so many women and men will greatly appreciate this.

I used their retinoids for wrinkle prevention and to keep any melasma (dark spots) at bay. It also does WONDERS for acne. I so rarely get a breakout. I’ve talked to a few Violet Foggers who use retinoids just for acne alone. The anti-aging component is a bonus for them!

If you want to try Dear Brightly (and I so highly recommend it!)– go HERE.

I can sum it up like this: THIS SHIZ WORKS.

Here are my tips for Retinoids:

-Always, ALWAYS use LOTS of sunscreen the following days using retinoids. It can make you very sensitive to the sun because it basically gives you a fresh new layer of skin. PROTECT IT. I am so serious about this!

-You will get red and peel-y in the beginning. You might even break out. KEEP GOING. The beginning stages are the hardest but the rewards are incredible and so worth it! Do not let the first 6-8 weeks throw you off. Thankfully this company does start you off at a lower dose and allows you to work your way up, which is the best way to do it.

-If I know I am going to have a day where I’ll be in the sun a lot, I WON’T use retinoids the night before. Even if I know I’ll have a lot of SPF on hand!

-To deal with peeling, I use a lot of oils! You already know two of my favorites are rosehip oil and apricot oil.

-When I use retinoids (typically 2-3X a week, sometimes more) I usually will let it do its thing solo. Meaning after I wash my face, I use NO other products other than the retinoid. I like it to really do its thing with no interruptions.

-It’s based to use retinoids on a REALLY dry face. No dampness. After washing or a shower, I will wait a good 20 minutes before I put on my retinoids. Water deactivates it!

-No waxing a week before or after using retinoids!

-When I am using more retinoids than usual, I know I will be peeling more. So I plan for that. If I have a big event that week, I won’t up my retinoids right before. If I’m simply in routine, I know I have weeks where I can up my dosage.

If you want to try Dear Brightly, I am so so excited for you!

Here are what some STUDIES say about retinoids/Tretinoin:

(Dear Brightly is tretinoin- the most studied of all retinoids!)

Do Retinoids work? 

-Retinoids DO help photoaging. (I love this study done with 30 people utilizing their forearms.)
-Retinoids help a lot with fine lines and wrinkles. (Read this study.)
-Retinoids can help with skin elasticity and hyperpigmentation (Read this study.)
-Retinoids can help with roughness in skin (I like this 2004 study.)

Have you tried retinoids, Violets?! If you have any questions you know where to find me! @TheVioletFog xx