Friday, June 12, 2009

In Which I Am Vain AND Reckless

But also thrifty! I wanted to start using Retin-a or some tretinoin product like Renova on my various fine lines and wrinkles, since it's the only "cosmeceutical" that is proven to work. I mean, I love all my Origins stuff and I am using that too, but as the poet says, at my back I always hear time's wing├ęd chariot hurrying near. So I decided to step it up a notch. I had an expired tube of Retin-a, but I thought that it might be so old that it would be like that scene in Raiders where the Nazi looks at the ark after Harrison Ford told him not to.

So why didn't I just make an appointment with a dermatologist and ask for a prescription for a tretinoin product? We have an HMO that doesn't require referrals to specialists. And we have prescription drug coverage. Somehow, though, it just seemed like a lot of hassle. And do you know how expensive that Renova stuff is? It's basically the same thing as Retin-a or generic tretinoin, just packaged and marketed to the cosmeceutical crowd (rather than the acne crowd), and the price is redonkulous.

I decided to try an experiment and order some tretinoin from one of those shady online pharmacies. I looked at some websites for Canadian pharmacies, but they're not shady enough--they're sticklers for the whole prescription thing. So I went shadier, and found a website for a big operation in some undisclosed location that seemed like a real business, and that offered 20g tubes of Retin-A .025% for about $8. The only catch was that it seemed like I had to buy 10. I thought, hmmm. Possibly I will pay for this stuff and never receive anything. Or maybe I will be sent some tubes of relabeled hemorrhoid cream. I would NEVER order anything this way that I was actually going to put inside my body. I mean, some of these outfits sell botox, so you can BYOB, I guess. Hard to imagine buying an injectable that way. But what keeps them in business is Viagra, it seems. Too big a gamble.

Buying things with a credit card, though, gives you a lot of protection. I decided I'd give the stuff 2 weeks to show up, and if it didn't come, or if it seemed sketchy when it arrived, I'd dispute the charge. In my experience, CC companies are very helpful in that area, for some reason. So sure enough, they emailed me that they'd shipped my order, and today it came, all the way from Mumbai.

When I opened the box, I was like, "OMG it's so cute and foreign looking!" The tubes have some Hindi writing on them. But they say Johnson & Johnson, and they're all sealed up and everything. I opened one, and it feels and smells the same as the stuff I had, so I'm gonna declare this a success. They expire at the end of 2010, and I don't think I'll get through ten tubes before then, but maybe I can give them as hostess gifts? It's still cheaper than the generic copay would be if I had bought them the normal way.

So that's a thing. I am not trying to push you into a life of trading in the black market, hiding from the light, looking over your shoulder, never knowing when the long arm of John Law is gonna reach you. Or maybe you're all shooting bovine collagen that you're buying from Thailand? I just thought you might find this interesting, and I tell y'all everything anyway.

15 comments:

Jane said...

Since you've got extras... want to let me buy one off you?

A Day That is Dessert said...

Wish I could use it! - I have very sensitive skin and the woman who does my waxing (ahem) says that you can't use retinols and wax.

The Dental Maven said...

Let us know how it turns out. If you start speaking with an Indian accent we'll know there was a problem.

Casey said...

I suppose now's not the time to tell you that I wash my face with Irish Spring? I should probably get in on that black market crap before I look like I'm 200 on my 33rd birthday. That's so exciting that you're breakin the law without a script!

Michele said...

You risk taker, you!

If you like it I'll send you a check for a couple of tubes. At almost 50 my fine lines are morphing into deep groves.

Funny that my word verification is: facclial

Keely said...

When you've been using it for a week, and your face hasn't melted off, THEN I'll let you declare it a success ;)

Just kidding. I think the majority of those things ARE legit drugs, they're just not manufactured in the US and so don't have the FDA stamp.

gretchen said...

This is SO something I want to do, but I have a terrible fear it would peel the skin off my face like in a zombie movie. I say you should do an experiment for us all. Take a really close up "before" picture of your face. Start using this stuff, then take another picture every week or so. We can compare the "before" and "after" pics and see if it works!

Becky said...

Ha! Gretchen, I will think about it, but I don't know if I'm devoted enough to public service to post that many pictures of my various imperfections.

Michele, email me if you want one.

Sara said...

The only shady pharmaceuticals we've ever order were flea medication for the dogs. But we didn't know they were coming from Hong Kong until after they arrived.
They looked legit as far as packaging and everything, but they didn't seem to work?
My face is waaaayy too temperamental to be messing with its (semi-)routine.

You crazy! :)

Jenni said...

"cute and forign!" haha, you crack me up!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Oh, Becky! Oh, brave one! Melamine in a box. I'm scared. Shoot me an email and I'll walk you through the Frownies process, step by step.

amber hawkins warren said...

I'll totally buy one off you. I'm all about convenience and not waiting for 2 weeks. I am starting to freak about wrinkles. Just enough to start looking at the prices at the store. But not enough to actually do anything about it! But I need something that works.

Drama Queen Jenner said...

LOL! I just watched Catwoman again last night. Hope it's not BEAU-line in those tubes!

mamacita said...

Hi there. I just found your blog via Merchant Ships. I think you are teh awesome.

Is there any chance you could share your source for lovely Indian Retin-A? I have wanted to buy it like this, too (for exactly the same reasons), so I thought I would take advantage of your experience. How did the product turn out, anyway?

Becky said...

Hey Mamacita! Thanks for coming by! The retin-a worked out great, I was perfectly satisfied. The last couple tubes I had reached their expiration dates in December, but I figure it's not like they turn to battery acid or anything.

As for source, I don't remember what website I used, there was nothing special about it. I'm sure you can find one. I would just advise, use a credit card so you can dispute the charge if it doesn't show up or the tubes aren't sealed or something. When you get it you'll know if it's legit. Good luck! And I love the name of your blog!