DEAR BRIGHTLY REVIEW • san francisco lifestyle blogger, shannon silver of essellesse, talks the customized retinoid dearbrightly service & all the benefits of retinoids!

Earlier this year, {in fact, if we are getting specific, March 1st}, I incorporated prescription retinoid to my nightly skincare routine.

I’ve been curious about it for quite some time & after seeing other bloggers like my friend Katey rave about it, I wanted in.

Basically it’s the elixir of youth.

However, whenever anything requires a barrier of entry or a doctor’s visit.. I’ll admit, I can get lazy with it.

There’s no shortage of retinols on the market, but prescription strength is where it’s at if you really want to see magic happen. Also, it’s nice to get a professional opinion, you know?

The internet is a fantastic resource but sometimes you just need the advice of a professional. I can share my experiences, but at the end of the day, I’m not a dermatologist so I do need that guidance

I happened to be nearing the end of my current prescription & was already stressing myself out about going to the dermatologist to re-up and possibly get a higher dose.

Then, Dear Brightly reached out to me and asked if I’d like to give their Glowgetter service a try on them. The timing couldn’t be any perfect so I accepted & here we are.

SO- here is my full review on DearBrightly & let me just say… I’m obsessed.

OK SO what is Dear Brightly?

DEAR BRIGHTLY REVIEW • san francisco lifestyle blogger, shannon silver of essellesse, talks the customized retinoid service & all the benefits of retinoids!

Basically Dear Brightly is a one stop shop to get prescription grade retinoid treatments to your door. They are a service: not a doctor & not a pharmacy. Instead, they connect you virtually to a dermatologist & the process takes less than ten minutes. You can buy retinol over the counter, but the prescription grade retinoid is much more powerful… up to 20x more.

You fill out a quick questionnaire all about your skin & all around well being: this can include what skin issues you may currently be dealing with, what your skin type is, any allergies, your skin goals, & more.

Then you upload some selfies & it connects you to a dermatologist who will give you the perfect retinoid to add to your night routine.

I also love that Dear Brightly makes retinoids much more accessible. I’ve talked about my retinoid routine on my stories & one of the biggest questions I get involves how to get prescription retinoids. Sometimes going to a dermatologist can be intimidating or even costly – I’d go as far to say that Dear Brightly would be at least $200 less than going in physically for a dermatologist visit. Dear Brightly really streamlines everything to make it effortless

If we are being honest, I did my questionnaire when I was in New York at DryBar waiting for my appointment… including the selfies!

san francisco lifestyle blogger essellesse talks Dear Brightly • dearbrightly is a prescription retinoid service that makes getting your formula super accessible!

Let’s talk about that for a bit. In no time at all, without it interrupting my day to day, I was able to get connected to a dermatologist for a custom retinoid formulation while I was out of town. I did not have to go to the physical office or head to a pharmacy to pick up my rx. This alone just shaved off two hours of a normal, in person visit.

By the time I came back to California, my prescription was at my door! Seriously though, how cool is that?! Despite attending a conference in the city that never sleeps, & being go go go all week long, I was able to knock out my dermatologist visit virtually & came home to a new prescription.

EFFICIENT & straight to the point. I love it.

So let’s talk formula – everyone’s dose will be different according to their skin type, things they want to improve in their skin, & skin goals – that said, the physical retinoid gel I got from Dear Brightly is one of the best I have ever used.

A little goes a long way & the quality is top notch.

Now, my formula was customized to me but mine was a gel & my last one was a cream. I find creams are great for sensitive or drier skin tones & gels for more acne-prone skin. It really depends on what your doctor prescribes for you. I find the gel penetrates faster & the cream was more softening. Again, your doctor will be able to create the perfect formula for YOU.

I mean, how cool is a CUSTOM retinoid formulated just for you: from percentage, to type, to  everything.

Now let’s talk retinoids: the who, what, when, why, & how!

DEAR BRIGHTLY REVIEW • san francisco lifestyle blogger, shannon silver of essellesse, talks the customized retinoid service dearbrightly & all the benefits of retinoids!

What are retinoids?

Simply speaking, Retinoids are Vitamin A & its natural derivatives. You may see “retinol” often, as that’s the over the counter version. However, prescription strength {via your dermatologist or Dear Brightly} include tretinoin, isotretinoin, & retinoic acid & are much more powerful than OTC retinol

Our bodies do not naturally produce Vitamin A, so it’s important for us to consume it & apply it topically. It’s a must for a bone growth, vision, & a strong immune system, but also game changing for us externally. Truly great from the inside-out.

Why should I use retinoids?

Legit the options are endless. From anti-aging, to clearing up acne & dark spots, exfoliating dead skin, promoting collagen production.

It is a magic ingredient & in the past 9 months, my skin looks better now in my 30s than it ever did in my 20’s. Between this and drinking TONS of water, it has transformed my skin. In my 20’s, my skin was uneven, oily, acne prone, with large pores. These days, it’s much more smooth with minimized pores with minimal wrinkles.

Some of the magic of retinoids include {all science backed – so IMPORTANT!!!!}:

++ plumps skin & stimulates collagen production

++ encourages skin turnover & sheds dead skin

++ actually minimizes pores {!!!} & helps unclog pores

++ clears up acne: including blackheads & whiteheads

++ reduces finelines & wrinkles

Who should use it?:

Honestly, anyone. I strongly believe what you do in this decade will show in the next decade. If I could do one thing different in my 20’s, I would of implemented retinoids in my {at the time, awful} skin care routine.

I don’t think you’re ever too young to start! It’s great for aging prevention in the next decade but has done wonders for me in controlling my acne & shrinking my pores.

The only people who shouldn’t are those pregnant, trying to be pregnant, or breastfeeding.

san francisco lifestyle blogger essellesse talks Dear Brightly • dearbrightly is a prescription retinoid service that makes getting your formula super accessible!

When & how should I use it?:

With your night routine! I use mine after I use my toner has fully absorbed {aka on dry, but clean skin} & before any night serums or night moisturizer. That said, after I apply my retinoid, I wait about 20 minutes or so until it’s FULLY absorbed before I move on with my night serums. Since it can be drying, I like to follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum or moisturizer. This Japanese gel creme is my FAVE.

As you start, go gradually. Since I actually went with a stronger dosage, I cycled mine with my lower dosage. So basically, I did the lower for 3 days, & then the higher for one day, & gradually brought it down to two days. If it’s your first retinoid, start with every other night or just 2x a week & see how your skin reacts.

More is NOT better – which is great, since the product will last forever. All you need is about a dime sized drop for your entire face. I even bring mine down to my neck and chest area if I accidentally pump out too much.

VERY IMPORTANT to note, but be sure you are using a great sunscreen in the day. Retinoids will make your skin much more sensitive to the sun… not to mention, the sun is extremely damaging to skin & aging, so you don’t want to negate the retinoid magic! My favourite sunscreens are all from Japan. I’m using this one & loving it. This one is great too. I’ll do a full blown post on Japanese sunscreens but trust me when I say they are THE BEST.

Also, when you incorporate retinoids in your skincare routine, it takes some time for your skin to get used to it. It took me about a full month to get over the side effects. Think redness, itchy skin, & very dry, flaky skin. Don’t worry if this happens to you, it’s normal & trust me, it’s worth it. After the dryness & flakiness subsides, your skin will be smoother than ever with that”lit from within:” glow.

A few things to note: do not use retinoids if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding. Also no facial {lip/eyebrow/etc} waxing during use, as it can rip off layers of skin.. yikes! If you MUST wax, stop using your retinoids a week in advance, but tbh, I just use tweezers these days. I kind of like the full, brow look & when it comes to picking my battles, I’ll choose the retinoids over a waxing.

san francisco lifestyle blogger essellesse talks Dear Brightly • dearbrightly is a prescription retinoid service that makes getting your formula super accessible!

Not only have retinoids changed my skincare life, I love how easy Dear Brightly made it.

Also, they are local & based in SF and I LOVE supporting local businesses. I’ve been using retinoids for 9 months, and my Dear Brightly formula for a month & just so pleased with my results.

If you have any questions on retinoids, just let me know below & I’ll answer as honestly as I can!

Also, if you’d like to do Dear Brightly with me, use my code GLOWLIKESLS for 10% off. Let’s glow together!! I can’t recommend them enough & love how extra accessible they make getting a prescription retinoid basically almost on on demand… including a virtual dermatologist visit.

Anyways, we are back from Texas & I gotta say it feels SO good. I found one of the best vintage shops of my life in Austin & so glad I got to see so many old friends… but there’s no place like home, & this Texan calls California home now!

See ya tomorrow,

xo SLS

thank you, Dear Brightly for sponsoring this post 
+ use code GLOWLIKESLS for 10% off

about essellesse

essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.

@shannonLsilver on instagram