If you’ve read any of my other skincare posts, you already know I suffer from moderate-to-severe inflammatory cystic acne.
It’s not just clogged pores, blackheads, and zits.
Even the word “zits” sounds small and minor.
And minor my condition is not…
Inflammatory cystic acne is painful and aggressive, plus it triggers my depression in a significant way.
I’m okay when I have continuous access to my prescription skincare medications, but it’s always been a project and a major expense just keeping my prescriptions filled.
But I don’t worry about that anymore.
We’ve Got Online Dermatologists: Healthtech Has Arrived
I recently learned that my old dermatologist, who used to hook me up with a bunch of free samples and a reduced consultation fee, had retired.
After suffering a brief panic attack, I decided to try YoDerm, and now it’s one of my favorite innovations in skincare technology.
YoDerm is a digital platform (with an uber-convenient mobile responsive website) that matched me with an online dermatologist specifically for obtaining acne prescriptions.
This is what my skin looked like when I decided to restart my old regimen.
In fact, this is the photo I submitted for my online dermatologist consultation with YoDerm:
From here, my skin doesn’t look all too bad aside from a couple active pimples and a sort of bumpy texture all over.
The bumps are the keratinized plugs just waiting to get inflamed (and there are a lot more than you can probably tell from this photo.)
So I know what you’re thinking:
An online dermatologist? How does this shit work?
How Does An Online Dermatologist Work?
It’s really quite simple, as acne is a cosmetic condition and can be diagnosed from pictures alone.
When I completed my online consultation, I answered a questionnaire about my skin type, current regimen, and medical history.
Then I was asked to submit current snapshots of my skin in natural light so the online dermatologist could recommend a skincare regimen tailored to my needs (including any prescription medications.)
In my case, I knew the medications I wanted and asked for them by name–
My online dermatologist was in agreement with my old treatment plan.
I really liked using Atralin 0.05% a few years ago and as maintenance afterward.
The only problem, as my YoDerm Care Coordinator pointed out, is that even with the manufacturer’s coupon the price was still way, way higher for a 30-gram tube of Atralin than for a 90-gram tube of Retin-A Micro.
It just didn’t make sense financially for me to spend over $60 on 1/3 of the medication that I could get for $90.
Another difference is that the Retin-A Micro concentration is much higher at 0.08%.
This could mean any number of things, but I made the switch from Atralin 0.05% to Retin-A Micro 0.08% hoping for a quicker, albeit more severe purging process.
UPDATE 3/20/17: As I found out later, a higher concentration did not help me clear my acne any faster. I ultimately switched back to generic tretinoin gel at 0.05% and I think it was the right move.
Discovering IRMAT Pharmacy
From there, I was meant to choose my preferred pharmacy.
But my YoDerm Care Coordinator found me the pharmacy and/or coupon combination that would result in the lowest price available in the country.
Even without insurance, the Aczone manufacturer coupon brings the cost down to $100 at IRMAT Pharmacy in New York—
A steal compared to what I had been paying in the past!
The savings are significant: Aczone alone can cause upwards of $500 from your local grocery store pharmacy.
My other main prescription, Atralin was also more affordable through IRMAT.
And ordering and shipping prescriptions through IRMAT? Never been a problem for me.
YoDerm Review: Advantages of an Online Dermatologist
As I mentioned above, one of the major advantages of using YoDerm is the extra care they take in identifying the cheapest pharmacy for you to fill your prescription.
Neither my hometown dermatologist nor the receptionist at his office ever went so far as to do that.
Costco is well-known to have some of the cheapest RX prices around (and a lot of people don’t know you don’t need a membership to fill prescriptions at the Costco pharmacy!)
But even Costco can’t compete with the prices at the IRMAT Pharmacy, which, on top of having the best price also ships my order to my doorstep.
Convenience is everything, am I right?
Another major advantage I found using YoDerm is the consultation is a flat rate of $59.
You always know the price up front; no surprises, no bullshit.
The cost of overhead and renting office space drives up the cost of running a dermatology practice, which dermatologists are quick to pass on to their patients (read: customers.)
When I was briefly looking for a new doctor in Miami Beach, I got quoted at one location for $300 just for the out-of-pocket consultation.
I almost fell out of my chair, although it’s good that I didn’t since I was driving at the time.
That’s just not a problem with YoDerm, because it’s all handled on the interweb.
My previous dermatologist used to cut me a deal because I didn’t have insurance, but it was still $65 just to see the guy.
Every time I ran out of my prescriptions, I had to go all the way to his office in Coral Springs and physically see him again in order to get my refills.
And that ladies and gentlemen, was perhaps one of the main reasons I couldn’t keep up with my regimen!
When I was his patient, I was attending college in Orlando and then moved to Miami after that.
Like this Refinery29 article mentions, it was such a hassle and a financial drain for me to go see him every few months for a refill.
Depending on the severity of your acne, one of the other top benefits of using an online dermatologist is that you don’t need to go out in public.
This may sound vain or silly to some of you, but if you haven’t had a severe acne breakout, you probably won’t understand.
It gets really hard to socialize and be out and about.
An appointment with the local dermatologist calls for you to go out in the light of day bare-faced and that can be downright terrifying in the throes of a severe acne breakout.
With your online dermatologist, you can get the medical attention you need within 24 hours without even leaving home—
How’s that for digital disruption?
If you’re ready to try an online dermatologist through YoDerm, and I think you are, you can tell them Caitlyn says ‘sup’ and get $10 off your first consultation.
DISCLOSURE: This post is brought to you by YoDerm, and may make use of affiliate links. All opinions are my own.