Best Prescription Acne Medication for Adults
high drug prices
Suffering through acne as a teenager is frustrating enough, but at least it’s expected then — your hormones are raging, your body is changing, and you’re trying to figure out how to take care of your unique skin. (Is it combination skin? Oily? Dry? Is the new thing you’re trying making it worse?)
When we get to adulthood, we (sometimes mistakenly) think the acne will go away. For whatever reason, we think it will just disappear — that perhaps our hormones have calmed down and our skin will stop breaking out.
While some people certainly experience some relief as they enter adulthood, that’s not the case for everyone. A 2018 study found that 85% of women (but only 15% of men) experienced acne in their adult lives.
Of course, with adult acne frequently comes embarrassment and shame. Adults with acne shouldn’t feel that way, but societal pressure has a tendency to make people feel badly about it.
The good news is, there are treatment solutions for adult acne sufferers. As is the case with most medications, they’re typically very expensive for United States residents. Obviously, this is very frustrating for the people who are just trying to clear up their skin.
Fortunately, we sell a large variety of prescription acne medications for adults at much more affordable prices than what you’ll find in the U.S. Here are some of the most popular acne treatments we sell.
Retin A Cream
Retin A (tretinoin) is a popular prescription acne medication for adults. It’s a form of synthetic vitamin A, which acts as an exfoliant when used on the skin. This type of medication is also called a retinoid.
How Retin A works is that it encourages a faster cell turnover rate. This is a regular process in everyone’s bodies, but one that slows down with age (and why babies have such perfect skin).
Using Retin A will help skin cells move faster from the deepest layer of the epidermis to the top, where they die and slough off. Higher cell turnover helps prevent pores from getting clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt, and oil.
Tretinoin will not get rid of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can help reduce the appearance of them. Likewise, it can also help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Products like Retin A are available by prescription only because of the concentration of vitamin A (often 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%). While you can purchase Retinol products over the counter, the concentration will be different — OTC retinoids will not be as high strength as a prescription-grade product.
In the United States, Retin A has largely been replaced by the generic tretinoin. However, it’s not necessarily cheaper than what you’d find through an online international pharmacy.
A 20-gram tube of tretinoin starts at about $53.00 cash (about $2.65 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell 20-gram tubes of name brand Retin A starting at just $17.00 (about $0.85 per gram). If you’d rather go with the generic tretinoin, our prices start at $25.00 for a 30-gram tube (about $0.83 per gram).
Retin A Micro Gel
Many skin care products — particularly prescription strength ones — come in various forms because everyone’s skin is different. Some people react better to creams, whereas others react better to gels. It can be a matter of each person’s unique skin and their own personal preference, but a major consideration can also be the concentration.
To that end, Retin A also comes in a micro gel form. This gel can either be in a tube or in a pump. It comes in concentrations of 0.04% and 0.10%.
It’s a bit confusing because there is a micro gel and a regular gel (and more on that later), but there’s a difference in their formulas. Retin A Micro Gel is formulated so that part of the medication is reserved when applied to the skin, then released slowly over time.
Theoretically, this means the medication is more effective on the skin over time (because it’s not all released at once), and is also less likely to cause irritation. However, retinoids have a tendency to irritate skin because again, their job is to encourage cell turnover.
In the United States, the brand Retin A has been largely phased out by the generic version, but again, that doesn't mean it’s much more affordable. A 50-gram pump of tretinoin (0.04%) costs about $355.00 in the U.S. ($7.10 per gram). A 20-gram tube of the same concentration costs about $185.00 ($9.25 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell that same 50-gram pump (0.04%) for about $90.00 ($1.80 per gram), and the 20 gram tube for about $44.00 ($2.20 per gram).
Finacea gel is (azelaic acid) a prescription acne medication for adults that is used for people who experience rosacea. Rosacea typically affects people with fair skin, and is concentrated to their t-zone (forehead, nose, chin), as well as cheeks.
Azelaic acid works as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, in addition to possessing antimicrobial properties. These properties make it an effective exfoliant that kills two bacteria associated with rosacea and acne outbreaks: Propionibacteria acnes (P. acnes) and Staphylococcus epidermis.
Finacea gel will not get rid of acne scars or skin imperfections, but it can help reduce their appearance. The same goes for the redness associated with rosacea flare ups.
In the United States, the cash price for a 50-gram tube of name brand Finacea gel costs about $435.00 ($8.70 per gram). The generic azelaic acid is available for about $85.00 ($1.70 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we don’t yet have a generic available to us, but our name brand price is still lower than the U.S. generic price. You can get a 50-gram tube of Finacea gel for just $52.00 ($1.04 per gram).
Tazorac cream (tazarotene) is another type of retinoid. This prescription-strength medication is typically used to treat plaque psoriasis as well as general acne. Generally speaking, creams are known as emollients, which means they have properties that smooth the skin out.
As a retinoid, it encourages cell turnover so that your skin can look healthier and refreshed. Of course, this also means it can help minimize the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and psoriasis patches, but will not actually get rid of any of them.
In the United States, you’re far more likely to find the generic tazarotene than the name brand. A 30-gram tube of tazarotene starts at about $150.00 ($5.00 per gram), and can cost as much as $500.00 ($16.67 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we have 30-gram tubes of name brand Tazorac cream starting at about $78.00 ($2.60 per gram). We also have the generic form starting at $38.00 for a 20-gram tube ($1.90 per gram).
Retin A Gel
As mentioned above, Retin A comes in a few different forms. The cream and micro gel have already been discussed, but the final popular form is a regular gel.
Retin A Gel works in the same way as other Retin A products, but releases all of its medication at the same time, whereas the micro gel version does not. This could lead to skin irritation, so be sure to use it as directed, and tell your doctor if your skin is reacting poorly.
In the U.S., you can expect to pay at least $80.00 for a 15-gram tube of generic tretinoin ($5.33 per gram). (As is the case with the other forms of Retin A, the gel form has largely been replaced by the generic.)
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell a 30-gram tube of name brand Retin A gel for about $26.00 ($0.87 per gram).
As is the case with most topical acne medications, Tazorac comes in both a cream and a gel. Again, this can vary according to the personal preference of the user, and the way their skin reacts to the medication.
In the United States, you can expect to pay a cash price of about $480.00 for a 30-gram tube of generic tazarotene gel ($16.00 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can expect to pay about $66.00 for the same 30-gram tube of name brand Tazorac gel ($2.20 per gram).
Aczone (dapsone) is a popular prescription strength topical antibiotic that has been proven effective at treating and preventing acne. Dapsone targets inflammatory chemicals that typically cause redness or irritation. As inflammation decreases and the bacteria causing acne disappears, the affected skin clears.
In the U.S., 60-gram tube or pump of generic dapsone starts at about $250.00 ($4.16 per gram). It’s unlikely that you’ll find the name brand.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell a 60-gram tube of name brand Aczone for about half the price — $125.00 ($2.08 per gram). And of course, our generic is even more affordable. A 30-gram tube of dapsone costs about $41.00 ($1.37 per gram).
Renova Cream .05%
Renova cream (0.05%, but also available in 0.02%) is another medication that uses tretinoin as its active ingredient. It’s believed that Renova helps increase collagen production (which naturally slows down with age), which can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In the U.S., a 40-gram tube of brand name Renova cream starts at about $323.00 ($8.08 per gram.)
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we only carry the generic version, and it’s a fraction of the price. A 20-gram tube of tretinoin starts at about $26.00 ($1.30 per gram).
Benzaclin Topical Gel
Benzaclin topical gel is an acne medication that combines two different ingredients to accomplish clearer skin. Benzaclin contains an antibiotic called clindamycin phosphate to stop bacteria in its tracks, as well as a peeling agent called benzoyl peroxide that is popular in acne medications because of its antibacterial tendencies.
Clindamycin phosphate works like any other antibiotic in an acne medication, but benzoyl peroxide plays a fascinating role — it works by adding oxygen to the skin because bacteria (in this case, Propionibacteria acnes [P. acnes]) cannot thrive when exposed to oxygen. Benzoyl peroxide will also help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
In the U.S., a 25-gram tube of name brand Benzaclin topical gel starts at about $320.00 ($12.80 per gram). The generic comes in a 25-gram jar and costs about $46.00 ($1.84 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell a 50-gram pump of brand name Benzaclin topical gel for about $88.00 ($1.76 per gram).
Finacea is also popular in the form of a cream (the gel is more popular, and is discussed above). Of course, the active ingredient remains the same (azelaic acid), and choosing a cream over a gel can be a matter of personal preference or specific skincare needs.
In the U.S., the cream version of Finacea is more difficult to find. You’re more likely to find a 50-gram bottle of foam, which starts at about $450.00 ($9.00 per gram).
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we have 30-gram tubes of name brand Finacea cream starting at $63.00 ($2.10 per gram). The generic version is slightly less expensive, at about $50.00 for a 30-gram tube ($1.67 per gram).
Important Notes Regarding Acne Medications
If you were looking for an acne treatment that is not included here, feel free to give us a call to inquire about it. If you were specifically looking for Accutane, we can answer that for you.
While Accutane is not a controlled substance, it is heavily regulated (as it should be, considering the possible side effects). Due to these restrictions and the close monitoring necessary when a patient is taking it, we are unable to sell it at NorthWestPharmacy.com.
In many cases, using products like these will cause your skin to get worse before it gets better. This is because of the higher cell turnover rate — it’s purging your skin in a sense. It could take about 2-3 weeks for your skin to calm down.
Always remember that any kind of exfoliant (Retin A, Finacea) will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so it’s very important to use sunscreen daily. Be sure to use at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 — preferably 30 — that specifies “broad spectrum” so that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
Getting More Affordable Acne Medication
If you’re struggling to find affordable acne medication, we can help. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell a wide variety of prescription acne medications for adults (and also for teens). This list isn’t at all comprehensive, and you can see the rest of our offerings here.
If you’re new to online international pharmacies, you may be a bit nervous, and that’s understandable. We can assure you that safety and accuracy are our top priorities.
We follow the same procedures and guidelines that your local pharmacy follows, and you can even speak to a pharmacist about your medications, or concerns you may have about contraindications or any particular side effects.
Of course, we don’t expect you to take our word for it. You can read real customer reviews on independent websites like Shopper Approved and Trust Pilot, where we have overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Something else we take very seriously is customer service, which is why we have a dedicated team of customer service representatives who are open seven days a week to assist you with whatever you might need. Whether you have questions, need to speak to a pharmacist, or would like help placing your order, our customer service team is happy to assist.
When you’re ready, give us a call at 1-866-539-5330. If you’re trying to reach us outside of our regular business hours, you can always email us. We look forward to hearing from you.