Tretinion and Retin-A are the strongest form of retinol available and very strictly only available on prescription via a doctor in the UK. Thus to get it I have been forced to either get it at great expense from a UK doctor privately or buy it abroad in countries with less tight restrictions like Thailand or Mexico.

Anyway recently things have changed a bit and you can now get prescription strength retinol via the internet through online dermatologist services. There is two main companies offering this at the moment in the UK, Skin+Me and Dermatica. After weighing up and comparing the two I decided to go with Skin+me. It’s really simple to sign up on their website, you answer some questions about your age, skin condition and concerns and then take a couple of close up, make up free and unfiltered face pics and then a dermatologist comes up with a suggested formulation personalised specifically for you. I had previously done Obagi Nu-derm and was already using prescription Retin-A that I had bought on holiday in Thailand and am an experienced retinol user so I managed to get them to prescribe me a relatively high dose to start. Usually they start people on a lower dose and then build your tolerance to it it up over a few months. My personalised formulation also includes niacinamide and azeliac acid.

It comes each month in a convenient postbox friendly sized package with a simple aluminium tube that you twist and it dispenses exactly the right amount of product for a single use. The packaging is all completely plastic free and fully recyclable. It’s all very clever and well thought out. This cost is £19.99 a month, so is massively cheaper than seeing a dermatologist in the UK and paying for a private prescription. I have a special referral code and so you can get your first and fifth month for just £3.50

Skin Laundry

Skin Laundry launched in the UK exclusively at Liberty department store last year. Founded in California five years earlier by facialist Yen Reis, their signature Laser and Light facial is a express 15 minute treatment that combines a light Nd:YAG laser followed by a gentle dose of intense pulsed light. They offer a free trial treatment to everyone and so after reading some positive reviews I decided to head in and give it a go.

Located in a bijou space hidden away at the back of the second floor of the department store, the concession has a bright, laid back Californian vibe in keeping with the brand ethos. After cleansing my skin of all products on it, I was lead into a treatment room and lay down ready for the treatment. You have to wear goggles to protect your eyes from the laser/ IPL and after explaining a little about the treatment, it started.

Often the sensation of IPL and laser treatment is described as like having a rubber band flicked on the skin and this was similar, but definitely gentler. Overall very tolerable pain wise. They was also a faint whiff of burning which they claim is the laser vaporising the dirt and debris in your pores. However I think it was more likely the laser burning the minute peach fuzz hairs on my face.

Because the laser and IPL used were so low strength I wasn’t really expecting to see much of a difference, however afterwards my skin definitely looked a bit clearer and brighter, nothing dramatic but definitely an improvement. They claim with continued regular treatments the cumulative effects would yield a bigger improvement. That of course is the main concept that like laundry you do it regularly. There is no downtime and you book a course of treatments and come every few weeks for a session.