We Tried Prescription Skincare & The Transformation Is Real

We're hooked.

I’ve tried many a skincare product in my 35 years, especially during my time as a beauty editor. I have my favourites – moisturisers that nourish dry skin, cleanser that don’t leave your face feeling tight, serums that hydrate. But I’d never ventured into prescription skincare – until I came across QR8 MediSkin.

Basically, beauty editors talk. I’d heard great things about the prescription skincare brand, founded in Brisbane by Dr Michele Squire, a PHD-qualified scientist and registered nurse. Basically that everyone who had used it had gotten fantastic results and swore by their products.

What Is Prescription Skincare?

Unlike skincare products you can buy at your local department store or beauty shop, prescription skincare has ingredients that can only be included if prescribed by a doctor. This is because these are powerful ingredients that need to be incorporated into the product carefully, at the right levels, and require a doctor to explain the correct way to use them. Think of it like getting a new medication – you wouldn’t just take it, you would be run through instructions like when to take it, what to avoid when taking it and so on.

One of the more popular prescription ingredients is tretinoin, a derivative of vitamin A and a powerful tool for fighting everything from signs of ageing to acne

How Do You Get Prescription Skincare?

To get the right products for my skin, I first had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire on the QR8 site. It asked questions like medication I’m on, my skin issues, and so on. I also had to upload a makeup-free photo of my face front on and side on, as well as a photo of my current skincare products.

From there, I was given a time for a Zoom appointment with a doctor. I had Dr Scott Ellis, who is a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine. Our appointment ran for around 20 minutes and consisted of Dr Ellis chatting to me about what concerns I wanted to address (melasma, large pores and skin dullness/fine lines) and what current skincare products I did and didn’t want to give up. 

That part is important – one of the most crucial elements with prescription skincare is to use them correctly. Some ingredients can interact very badly with others, so Dr Ellis advised that, ideally, I would strip back my skincare to the two creams he was going to give me, plus a gentle moisturiser and gentle cleanser.

What Is Prescription Skincare Like To Use?

The two creams I was given were a Day Cream and Night Cream. The Day Cream, Dr Ellis explained, was all about fading my melasma. It had hydroquinone to help with this – another prescription-only ingredient. My night cream featured hydroquinone again, plus tretinoin and a little hydrocortisone which Dr Ellis explained was to combat the irritation tretinoin may cause. 

On that note – you aren’t advised to go all-in with your QR8 products immediately. Depending on your skin type, you’ll be advised to slowly introduce both creams – the Day Cream a little faster than the night cream. I was advised to start using my Day Cream daily, unless I experienced irritation, but to use my Night Cream once a week, then slowly upping that to eventually get to nightly use.

What is brilliant about QR8 is that they have a team of staff that will text you over the following few weeks to check in and see how you’re going with the products. You can also contact them any time with questions – the level of hand-holding is so high, and when it comes to skincare that’s a really good thing. I loved that I could just text back instead of wait for an email over several days, or have to be on the phone calling someone.

Does Prescription Skincare Work?

For me – absolutely yes. Firstly, I was shocked at how well my skin took to the new products. I only experienced some mild flakiness around my eyebrows for about a week, which is common when it comes to tretinoin but I was honestly expecting a more difficult time adjusting to the ingredient.

I wound up using the Night Cream nightly by week 3, because my skin was taking to it so well. Since then, it’s been a couple of months and I’ve used it nightly.

I’ve noticed a major reduction in my pore size, and no blackheads in sight. My skin is smooth every day, and in some areas, my melasma has diminished – although in some of the more obvious spots, it’s still got a while to go yet.

The only thing I’d warn you about when considering prescription skincare is being in the sun. When they say the ingredients can make your skin sun sensitive, THEY MEAN IT. Even with sunscreen on (SPF 50+) if I spend a long time outdoors in the day, I notice sunburn across my cheeks. It’s not that you can’t venture outside, you just need to be more sun safe than usual. Reapply sunscreen before venturing outdoors, wear a hat, that kinda stuff. 

Overall, I’m so impressed by QR8 MediSkin. If you’re keen to learn more, you can on their site here.

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