Ask an Expert: Can I Ask for Retinoids?

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We write about different miracle skin-care treatments all the time, but not all of them are easily accessible. For some products that contain retinoids, such as Retin A and Renova, you need to have a prescription from your doctor, or more specifically a dermatologist. And while you can't just call and ask your doctor to prescribe it to you, it's likely they will write up your prescription when you visit if you simply ask for it.

If your dermatologist doesn’t initially suggest it during an in-office visit, it’s totally reasonable to ask them to give you a prescription for retinoids, says New York dermatologist Eric Schweiger, MD. “Most dermatologists will be happy to write the prescription for you, as retinoids are an effective anti-aging tool.”

However, you do need to meet with the doctor in person to make sure that it’s safe for you to use and that you have the correct strength for your skin type. “For help in making the right choice with prescription strength skin products, you should see a Board Certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who specializes in treatments of aging skin,” says Northbrook, IL, dermatologist Karol A. Gutowski, MD.