Review: Apostrophe for online Skincare and Dermatology






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Let’s face it. Skincare is a hassle. Finding a routine and products that work can be a long, frustrating, and expensive process. And if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from acne, you know how important skin care is! Although teenagers are more commonly affected by acne, adult acne is more common than you might believe. Adult acne affects more than 50% of Americans in their 20s and roughly 30% of Americans in their 30s.

I broke out occasionally as a teenager, but nothing serious enough for me to consider seeing a dermatologist. However, the stress from one of my first jobs after college triggered severe breakouts. These breakouts were painful, not to mention downright embarrassing! I quickly realized that treating this with over-the-counter products was like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, so I made an appointment with the dermatologist. My insurance didn’t cover “specialty” treatments, and the appointment itself cost around $130. The dermatologist ended up prescribing me two different medications, which cost me an extra $200 and weren’t covered by my insurance. My skin finally cleared up after a few months and a few hundred dollars later –but the only convenient and affordable part of the entire process was the overnight shipping!

Companies like Apostrophe are fixing this, but they certainly aren’t the only one. Let’s dig into how they work, and how well they stack up to companies like Hers. 

Table of Contents

Who is Apostrophe?

Telemedicine has exploded in the last year, and it continues to grow even as things slowly re-open. The convenience and affordability are hard to beat when compared to a traditional medical experience, and Apostrophe is no exception. Apostrophe, previously YoDerm, is a teledermatology platform that’s making it a whole lot simpler to treat common skin conditions like acne. 

What treatments does Apostrophe offer?

Apostrophe’s team of board-certified dermatologists offer customized prescriptions (some topical, some oral) to treat common conditions including acne, rosacea, and wrinkles. They also offer treatment for hair loss, eyelashes, and male pattern baldness.

And since Apostrophe’s services are entirely virtual, you’ll be saving a long, costly trip to the doctor’s office. 

How do you get started with Apostrophe?

Getting started with Apostrophe is easy and straightforward. Regardless of which condition(s) you’re looking to address, the onboarding process is pretty much the same. Let’s walk through it together, if you haven’t already. (Sign-up link here)

1 – Once you set up an account, select the condition for which you want a prescription.

2 – Apostrophe connects you with one of their dermatologists based on your location.

Your dermatologist’s credentials, medical school, and picture are listed, (and can easily be verified with a quick Google search). 

3 – Next, pay the $20 consultation fee and answer a few questions about your skin, medical history, etc.

The questionnaire is pretty standard (roughly 30 yes/no questions with comments), but I was impressed they gave you the option to select the specific medications you’re interested in.

Apostrophe understands that, at the end of the day, you may know what works best for your skin — and what doesn’t. (And hey, if not, they help!)

4 – Finally, snap a few selfies, upload them to your profile and you’re ready to rock!

Your dermatologist will evaluate your profile and send you a prescription recommendation within 24 hours—and often earlier! In my case, it showed up in about two hours.

If you decide to fill the prescription, they’ll credit the $20 consultation fee and charge you the difference.

Apostrophe fills the prescriptions at their own pharmacy so the pricing is straightforward and easy. They partner with three mail-order pharmacies, located in California, Colorado, and Arizona, so the medication is shipped right to your doorstep — for free!

What states is Apostrophe available in?

Apostrophe isn’t yet available in all 50 states, and their coverage varies by condition, so check their site before you get started! Apostrophe is available in the following 39 states as of January 2021. 

Prescription support for eyelashes (Latisse) and hair (finasteride) are available in all states, except:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire

And prescriptions are available for Skin (like Acne, Rosacea, Hyperpigmentation, Melasma, and Wrinkles) in all of the same states as eyelashes/hair, except:

  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • North Carolina

Does Apostrophe accept insurance?

Apostrophe doesn’t accept insurance, but since most standard insurance policies don’t cover “specialty visits” their pricing is pretty competitive. It’s also worth noting that their competitors don’t accept insurance, either.

Apostrophe fills every prescription at their own compounding pharmacy so they’re able to control their costs, and offer competitive pricing for their medications. As for the cost of the online appointment, $20 is pretty hard to beat!

How much does a prescription cost with Apostrophe?

The cost of a prescription depends on the type and number of medications you’re prescribed, but overall it’s pretty straightforward.  

Condition

Topical Medication (90 days)Oral Medication (90 days)
Acne$90$25-90
Rosacea$90$40-$90
Wrinkles$75N/A

Apostrophe reviews and feedback from Reddit users

I hopped on Reddit and Trustpilot to see if there was more information about pricing and found a few Apostrophe reviews that verify the pricing advertised on the website:

What does a prescription from Apostrophe include?

A prescription from Apostrophe includes a 90-day supply of a topical medication, and a 90-day supply of an oral prescription if necessary. You can read through the full list of commonly prescribed medications here: Full Medication List

The 13 active ingredients in their prescriptions are listed below:

  • Tretinoin
  • Metronidazole
  • Niacinamide
  • Clindamycin
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Fluocinolone
  • Tazarotene
  • Hydroquinone
  • Doxycycline*
  • Ampicillin
  • Spironolactone*
  • Cephalexin
  • Minocycline*
  • Tranexamic Acid
  • Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim*
  • Bimatoprost

*Active ingredients in oral prescriptions.

Some quick notes on a couple of these that you may not be familiar with (because while Apostrophe does prescribe them, other companies online do not). 

  • Doxycycline (prescribed an an oral treatment) is for tackling inflammatory acne – the kind that’s red and painful. It works by reducing inflammation and killing the bacteria that causes acne. 
  • Spironolactone treats hormonal acne in women by reducing the effects of testosterone. If you think about it, this actually helps to clear acne from the inside out. It’s most commonly prescribed as an oral medication, but there are also topical forms of it that that can be used by both women and men.

💰 Pricing comparison chart: Apostrophe vs Curology vs ForHers

Three of the main players in the online skincare game are Apostrophe, Curology, and ForHers. They each have their own pricing and product lines, so they’re not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but here’s some of the most important info you need to know before deciding which is right for you. 

Comparison: Apostrophe vs Curology vs ForHers

Apostrophe logoCurology logoFor Hers logo
Trustpilot Rating4.4 ✩3.3 ✩2.7 ✩
Skin Conditions Treated Acne
Rosacea
Wrinkles/Fine Lines
AcneAcne
Wrinkles (anti-aging)
Cost of topical acne treatment$90 for 90 days ($30/mo)$29.95/mo (incl. medication, cleanser, and moisturizer)$40/month (cleanser, customized acne face cream, and moisturizer) ($10/month intro offer)
Cost of oral acne medication$25-$90 for 90 day supply, depending on prescriptionDepends on the pharmacy/insuranceDepends on the pharmacy/insurance
Initial Consultation / Visit$20 — credit applied to Rx if filled, only applies to initial consultation$0 — profile assessment is free$39/visit — ForHers telemedicine platform
Free Shipping?
Can I get a prescription for oral medication?Yes — Apostrphe’s derms commonly prescribe Doxycycline, Minocycline, Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim, Spironolactone, Ampicillin, and CephalexinYes— Curology “prescription nurse” can order to your local pharmacy if deemed necessaryYes — Additional charges for telehealth services may be incurred!
Clinically Certified Dermatologists? Yes — MDs are certified by the Board of Dermatology. No — Curology works with a team of board-certified physicians, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioners.
*Products are “derm-designed” but are not prescribed on an individual basis
No — ForHers is a telemedicine platform that connects you with healthcare providers in your state.
Once your order is placed, your profile is reviewed by a medical professional.
Recurring subscription?Yes — Defaults to ‘auto-refill’ setting, but it’s easy to cancel and there are no hidden feesYes — $60 every two monthsYes — $40/month (two month minimum)
Accepts insurance?
Website

🤔 Is Apostrophe skincare worth it?

Pros

  • With Apostrophe, you’re paired with a board-certified dermatologist to create your treatment plan and guide you through your skincare journey. Sites like Curology and ForHers work with a team of physicians.
  • Apostrophe’s dermatologists prescribe a clinical-grade treatment, which is created and filled at their pharmacy, while Curology and ForHers sell products that “contain prescription ingredients.”
  • The cost of the medication isn’t much different than filling a prescription anywhere else, BUT, the cost of a “visit” is only $20 — generally more affordable than visiting a traditional dermatologist
  • Their bread-and-butter is helping people who are ready to take their acne seriously; but they also offer products for wrinkles, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. 
  • Apostrophe prescribes both topical and oral acne medications so you can treat your acne from the outside-in and the inside-out.

Cons

  • As is also the case with their competitors, online dermatology isn’t for everyone. If you think you’d prefer to have a face-to-face conversation with a dermatologist, companies like Apostrophe may not be for you. 

Apostrophe Reviews: What are others on the internet saying?

You may have noticed in the comparison chart above that Apostrophe has a very solid 4.4 ⭐️ rating on Trustpilot. Here are a couple that stood out to me:

BUTTTT as with any other business out there, it’s important to actually dig in and do some research into what customers are saying outside of the big review sites. (That’s why you’re here, right?) 

Personally, I generally turn to Reddit for anonymous reviews. I’d like to share a few standouts with you. Unlike Trustpilot, I only found positive reviews on Reddit. (You can click them to enlarge.)

🎬 The Bottom Line: Is Apostrophe a legit option for online skincare and dermatology?

Apostrophe (aka YoDerm) is a great fit for people looking for a legit teledermatology platform to treat acne, rosacea, and/or wrinkles and fine lines. Overall, the process is simple and fast, the pricing is straightforward, and the medication is shipped right to your door.

In terms of the quality and overall experience, Apostrophe is (at least) a comparable alternative to the in-person dermatology experience. Their staff is made up of MDs (wow!) who are board-certified and offer a very professional, tailored experience to customers. It’s a little unfortunate that they don’t accept insurance (as of May 2021) but with pricing as reasonable as theirs is, it does make me question what this could mean for traditional, in-person dermatology down the line. 😳

As far as Apostrophe vs Hers vs Curology goes, first-timers are likely in the best hands with giving Apostrophe a shot. It is worth noting that ForHers is a cool option for people looking to expand into other virtual telemedicine offerings outside of dermatology (even mental health stuff like therapy!). But if it’s dermatology you’re looking for, Apostrophe’s a fantastic option. 

Oh, and after getting in touch with the Apostrophe team, I’ve arranged for a nice discount for Zenmaster readers. If you use this link + the “ZEN15” coupon code at checkout, you’ll get a cool $15 off. 🙂