Skin + Me review: is this 'digital dermatologist' the ultimate skincare streamliner?

Read our beauty editor's honest Skin + Me review - how did the prescription skincare service fare?

A make-up free shot of beauty editor Rhiannon Derbyshire with an image of Skin + Me's serum, to illustrate Rhiannon's Skin + Me review
(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)
Woman & Home Verdict

Now that I've experienced Skin + Me twice, I can confidently say that it's a great solution for people struggling with skin concerns. It's easy to navigate, simple to use, and affordable. Not everyone needs Skin + Me, but if you're looking for a solution to acne, pigmentation, or dullness, this is one I'd wholeheartedly recommend.

Reasons to buy
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    Simplifies your skincare routine

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    You can access prescription-only tretinoin

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    Easy to use, and products arrive at your door

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    Provides great results

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    Easy to cancel

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    You'll have to stop using all other actives

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    Only available in the UK

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

This Skin + Me review is basically the culmination of everything I’ve said to friends, colleagues and strangers on the street over the last year. Without skipping ahead too much, I think it’s genius. 

Perfecting your skincare routine can be a confusing endeavor. With so many new ingredients, products, and endless skincare combinations to choose from, it can be hard to know which products you really need to use. You may find yourself overloading your skin with too many active ingredients, treatments, or ‘fixes’, which often leads to acne, sensitivity, and just generally unhappy skin.

Skin + Me is one of the most well-known options in the increasingly-popular world of virtual dermatologists and prescription skincare. They're a way of accessing personalized, professional advice without the wait times or expense of an in-person dermatologist. It's a smart option if you're struggling with your skin and not sure where to start. If you're thinking about trialing it out, read my Skin + Me review for a full, honest account of how I got on. 

Our beauty editor's Skin + Me review

Before I get into the full review, a little disclaimer - I have used Skin + Me before. It was in early 2022, when I was struggling with a particularly stubborn phase of acne. I decided to try it after seeing endless Instagram ads and it really worked for me. My skin noticeably improved within a few weeks and the blemishes cleared altogether by the time I was opening up my third prescription package.

My skin's remained quite clear since then (mostly, I think down to using a simplified skincare routine for acne) but there's still room for improvement. I'm curious to see how the routine will perform when there's less of an obvious 'issue' to fix, which is why I opted to try it again - and of course, for the purpose of providing you with an honest and useful Skin + Me review. 

The consultation

Once I signed up, I filled out a detailed questionnaire about my skin, explaining my current routine, skin type, and which issues I wanted them to focus on. My targets were clearer, brighter skin, and I wanted to feel happier going out makeup-free. After that, I uploaded three pictures of my face in natural light, without makeup on – one front-on, and two side profiles, so that the dermatologists could diagnose any issues and create the perfect prescription for my needs and goals. 

It's all super-easy to understand and quick to do. The whole process, including signing up and uploading the pictures took about 10 minutes.

The postage and packaging

Two shots of the Skin + Me packaging - including the yellow, slim box it arrives in, and the serum twist tube

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

A day or two after signing up, I had an email to say that the Dermatologist had created a plan for my skin, and my first doser was on the way. Within a couple of days, it had arrived in a very cheering bright-yellow package, slim enough to fit through my letterbox. So far, so easy.

The doser – the prescription serum – is housed in a metal tube with the details of the formula on the side, and the name of the prescript-ee on the tube, which is handy if you house share. Each serum is supposed to last 28 days, so the packaging is designed to ensure you apply the exact right amount. Twist the tube until it clicks, and you'll have the perfect single dose. It's foolproof and quite pleasing. 

The Skin + Me formula

Here comes the nuts and bolts of the Skin + Me review - the product itself. Of course, all prescriptions will vary but mine combined tretinoin, niacinamide, and azelaic acid. A lower concentration of tretinoin (0.12%) was in the first dose, building up to 0.15% for the second and third months, with the calming niacinamide and azelaic acid remaining at 4%. To sum up the retinol vs tretinoin debate, tretinoin is the stronger and more effective of the two – but it's only available when it's prescribed by a doctor. These virtual dermatology apps are a great way of getting access to the much-saught-after ingredient, so if your best retinol cream isn't cutting it, Skin + Me might be the way to go.

The cream itself is quite light, but it takes some time to work into the skin. The amount given in one dose looks quite small initially, having a slight moon face, I thought it wouldn't be enough to cover my entire complexion, but when you work it in it's just right. A small gripe is that it may not be enough to cover your neck and decolletage, so you may creep into a second dose if you're applying there. Or, you could mix it in with a moisturizer to stretch it out (as long as said face cream doesn't have any actives).

You can apply it on its own, or you can buffer it with a moisturizer if your skin's slightly dry or sensitive. I like to think my skin is hardier than it actually is – so I started off applying it on its own, but my thirsty skin was gasping, so I eventually conceded to following up with a night cream. 

How long does it take to see results from skin + me?

Two selfies of beauty editor Rhiannon Derbyshire with and without makeup, to illustrate the results of the Skin + Me review

Beauty editor Rhiannon's results after two months using Skin + Me - without (left) and with (right) makeup. 

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

This is what you're here for if you were seeking out a Skin + Me review - what actually happened to my skin? I'll spare you the 'before' picture - if you need a visual, imagine a little garden slug (I'm only slightly kidding).

Two months in, my skin looks clearer and brighter and has a much more even tone. It just looks healthier, and I'm definitely happy to potter around on the weekends makeup-free without feeling shy about it. When it comes to the goals I made at the beginning of the process, it's big ticks across the board. 

Achieving these results wasn't without its issues though - tretinoin is very a drying ingredient, and although I'm used to potent retinoids, the effect it had on my skin in the first week was intense. It was dry and peeling, and the texture was sandpaper-esque. I was ready for this, having used Skin + Me before, so I amped up my moisturizing routine. I started 'sandwiching' the serum - applying it in between layers of moisturizer, to buffer it a little. This helped balance things out and made the process smoother - in all senses. I eased in and out of doing this, depending on how my skin felt day to day.

The downsides

As hinted above, tretinoin was a bit of a shock to my delicate skin barrier, but amping up the hydration helped. If your skin's on the sensitive side, caution is advised, but if you disclose that on the Skin + Me questionnaire, they should account for that when creating your prescription. 

Skin + Me insists that you cut everything out of your routine apart from a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF when you're using their serum. That means no AHAs, no Vitamin C, and no masks or treatments. If you’re a skincare addict, you may find it hard to streamline. As a beauty editor, it was especially hard for me to stay away from all the exciting skincare launches landing on my desk - a niche problem, I appreciate, but it took a lot of willpower to stick to just this one product for two months (*pats self on back*). 

There's a reason why Skin + Me is insistent about the no-frills routine - tretinoin is a serious ingredient, so you can't really use any other actives with it. It's also extra, extra important to use your best facial sunscreen daily as it puts your skin at higher risk of sun damage. Other factors will also need to be considered like avoiding most facials (another pat on the back for me, for turning down a Hydrafacial) - and my eyebrow waxer even paused my appointment when she heard that I was using it. It can be slightly prohibitive, but it's all in the interest of safety, which is fair enough - and worth it for the results, if you ask me. I may just have to grow a fringe to cover my brows. 

Skin + Me review - the verdict

Two of the 'daily dosers' from Skin + Me, taken as part of our beauty editor's Skin + Me review

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

I think it's pretty clear from this Skin + Me review that I remain a huge fan. With so much noise in the skincare world, I love that this is something that cuts through the nonsense and simplifies everything. Plus, it just works – you'd be surprised how unusual that is when it comes to new-fangled inventions in this business. It's easy to use, affordable and the results are visible within the first week of use. What more could you want? 

Admittedly, Skin + Me isn't necessarily something I’d choose to be on for more than a few months – tretinoin is a pretty full-on ingredient and I found it quite prohibitive not being able to use certain ingredients alongside it.

I treat this service as a sort of emergency flare, when my skin is in trouble, or if things are looking a bit 'blah' and I need to bring out the big guns. After finishing my current doser I'm going to ease off using it and slowly introduce my other actives back – namely, my beloved best Vitamin C serum. I'll keep my third month's prescription and dip in and out of using it when my skin really needs it. 

Is Skin + Me easy to cancel?

Yes, very. Now that I’m easing out of the Skin + Me process, I canceled my subscription and it was effortless. I logged on, selected ‘manage by subscription’, and followed the process to cancel. You don’t have to call anyone, or be on a torturously long hold. They do have the inevitable ‘please don’t go’ steps, which as a last resort offer you a discount code to stay (pro tip, if you want to keep using it) Otherwise, just ruthlessly click on to cancel, all in all, it took about three minutes. 

Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick