About Curology

Curology offers tailor-made skincare products that promise to treat both acne and aging. Using prescription-only ingredients, Curology will blend a personalized formula for you based off of your medical history, photos, and skin goals.

Each personalized formula will contain three active ingredients chosen for your skin from the following treatments:

  • Acne: Curology says that drugstore products may get rid of 30 percent of your acne. However, they claim that “prescription treatments like ours can eliminate 90 percent.” This formula includes azelaic acid, clindamycin, niacinamide, tretinoin, and zinc pyrithione.
  • Clogged pores: To help relieve plugs and clogged pores, Curology blends a mix of tretinoin, a topical prescription acne treatment similar to Retin-A, azelaic acid, clindamycin, niacinamide, and zinc pyrithione
  • Dark spots: Curlology claims that, when used with sun protection, their formula containing azelaic acid, niacinamide, and tretinoin can help to fade the dark spots caused by sun exposure and acne.
  • Firmness: According to their website, an independent clinical study (meaning that it was performed by a third party), showed a 38 percent increase in firmness within eight weeks of using their custom formula that includes tretinoin and vitamin C.
  • Texture: Curology claims that their formula, which includes tretinoin, can help to regenerate skin cells, improve glow, and smooth your skin’s surface.
  • Wrinkles: Similar to their formula addressing firmness, the active ingredients in Curology’s wrinkle formula are tretinoin and vitamin C.

A custom blend of prescription-strength active ingredients sounds promising. However, how can Curology offer regulated ingredients through a website?

How Does Curology Work?

Instead of an in-office visit to describe your skin concerns, the first step to using Curology is taking a questionnaire. Because it’s in lieu of meeting with a dermatologist face-to-face, signing up isn’t a short process. We’ve broken it down into the sections below:

1. Sharing Your Skin Goals

Screenshot of curology.comImage via Curology

First, to learn about your skin goals, the questionnaire asks that you choose which aspects of your complexion you’d like to treat. You can pick as many as you’d like. However, since the formulas are blended with three active ingredients, I limited my selection to three: clogged pores, firmness, and skin texture.

Screenshot of curology.comImage via Curology

Next, you’re asked to select your skin type. While this might seem fairly straightforward, it’s slightly disconcerting that there are no descriptions to help guide your selection—similar to the previous step. As someone who has neither oily or dry skin, it’s also frustrating to see that there is no option for “normal,” which is different from “combination” as the latter suggests an oily t-zone and dry cheeks.

Screenshot of curology.comImage via Curology

After selecting your skin type, Curology gives you the opportunity to specify which areas of skin are of concern, including your face, neck, shoulders/ back/ chest, or other. You can select as many areas as apply.

How many pimples did you get in the last week? That’s one of the last questions in the skin-goals section of Curology’s questionnaire. Finally, they ask how often you wear sunscreen or other forms of SPF. What level of SPF or how often it’s applied isn’t specified—important information we’re pretty sure an in-person derm would want to double check.

2. Have Your Medical History Handy

To gain a better understanding of your health, Curology asks the following questions:

  • Are you using a product containing a non-prescription retinoid, such as retinol or retinyl palmitate?
  • Which product are you using, is it working, and does it irritate your skin?
  • Have you ever used any prescription topicals (creams, gels, etc.) for acne or skin aging? If the answer is yes, you’re allowed to select from a long list of possible products.
  • Are you currently using the product? If the answer is yes, you’ll select the specific brand and concentration of the product. For example, since I had said yes to tretinoin, a topical treatment similar to Retin-A, I was shown a list of the nine different creams and gels in that category, and asked to select what I use.
  • Next, you’re asked to describe how your skin feels when using the previously specified products. Please note that, if you have not previously used any prescription topicals for your skin, you’ll likely be able to skip this section.

After gaining a thorough understanding of your skin history, Curology gets down to some more general medical queries. These will include your gender, then, if you’re female, a bunch of additional questions relating to hormonal birth control.

Because prescription acne products shouldn’t be used while pregnant, Curology requires female customers to agree that they are not pregnant or nursing—and they’ll notify their dermatology provider if they become so in the future.

Before ending this section of the questionnaire, you are given the opportunity to tell your dermatology provider any additional information, such as your skincare routine, or make special requests for your medication.

What’s Included In Your Curology Membership?

Joining Curology’s subscription program includes the following benefits:

  • Prescription-strength skincare, which Curology claims is custom-formulated to address your specific needs.
  • Real dermatology care through what Curology calls your dermatology provider. You’re given the name of your dermatology provider and some information about their background and experience during the signup process. For example, I was assigned Rachel Rivard, a Family Nurse Practitioner with four years of primary care experience.
  • Unlimited free shipping of your custom prescription, meaning that your order will be shipped as often as needed.

Note that our dermatology provider, Rachel Rivard, did not have previous dermatology experience before joining the Curology team. While still a licensed medical professional, her bio explains that she received extensive training with Curology's board-certified dermatologists.

This is technically in line with Curology’s About section, in which they claim to pair you with a “licensed dermatology provider for personalized acne and anti-aging treatment,” we feel that some customers could be misled by that wording into believing that they’ll receive attention from a licensed dermatologist.

Will it affect the quality of dermatology care that you receive through Curology? Likely not, as long as you remember that Curology is a service focused on skincare, not to identify potential abnormal moles or explore other unrelated conditions.

Instead, plan on reaching out to your dermatology provider only with questions and concerns that relate to your Curology products, such as if your skin feels too dry. This allows your dermatology provider to give you a less irritating formula and continue customizing your skincare.

Curology Membership Pricing & Refund Policies

Curology members are charged $19.95 each month. This cost includes a 90-day supply of your custom-blended skincare formula.

What if you run out of your Curology formula before 90 days? The company states that you are always free to request an earlier shipment. Additionally, they promise to never charge extra based on the frequency of shipment, and, again, there is no extra charge for shipping and handling.

That means that the total cost of a Curology membership is slightly less than $240 per year. When compared with seeing an in-person dermatologist, which can be hundreds or thousands, that’s a great deal.

Your Curology membership also includes the above-mentioned access to your dermatology provider. They state that most new members contact their dermatology providers every 30-90 days as treatment begins to adjust your formula. However, there are no extra fees for more frequent contact. Once your formula is working well for you, Curology does require that you check in a minimum of once a year—a requirement when using any prescription-strength medication.

There is no minimum commitment when signing up for Curology, meaning that you can cancel at anytime.

If you’re not satisfied with your Curology formula, the company promises to refund 100 percent of your charge. Note that this is only valid for the first 90 days, and is not applied automatically. To request a refund, email Curology’s customer service at support@curology.com for further instructions.

Curology does not accept health insurance to cover the cost of your membership. However, if you have a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, your consultation may qualify as a deductible expense—check with your provider to be sure.

Curology Reviews: What Are Customers Saying About It?

Curology, previously known as PocketDerm, has a devoted following of customers who have shared their positive skin changes.

Positive skin changesImage via Reddit

The Reddit user whose image is shared above stated that her acne has visibly reduced in three months. She also shared her personalized formula on the forum:

“At first, it was 4% Niacinamide 1% Clindamycin 4% Azelaic Acid. It changed to .018% Tretinoin 1 % Clindamycin 8% Azelaic Acid at the start of September.”

The PocketDerm referral thread is out of date, as the company has changed their name and promotional offers. However, it’s also full of Curology members sharing their positive experiences, many of whom say that their formula resulted in completely clear skin, including this review:

“Pocketderm has literally saved my face from painful hormonal cysts. Right now I just have some scarring/PIH/PIE to work on. Overall, very satisfied with pocketderm and Dr. Satur is both responsive warm to all my questions.

My Rx is spironolactone (75 mg daily at night) with 4% niacinamide / 1% clindamycin / 4% azelaic acid.

Background: I was a student experiencing THE WORST cystic breakouts of my life along my jaw. literally wanted to cry whenever I looked in the mirror. I tried to see a dermatologist, but my primary care physician would not refer me to one without seeing her first.. Her first available appointment was 2 months away and the cysts were starting to spread along from my jaw to the sides of my face. I figured it was hormonal cuz I never had this type of acne before and I was getting desperate. I could NOT wait 2 months so I looked to Pocketderm.

Yes, I was wary about Pocketderm actually working, but I was more desperate to get my clear skin back. After I got my order, it took about 2-3 months before the cysts all disappeared and I just have some marks left that I need to fade (using MUA lactic acid and fade peels).

Currently I still use Pocketderm as a preventative measure. I still get random tiny pimples once every couple weeks (but no more cysts) and the pimples just shrink overnight. I'm very satisfied with the results and customer service. Plus it's great that you can order more without charge.”

I found this particular review interesting as her prescription shows that Curology isn’t just prescribing one-size-fits-all topical treatments for members, but are actually evaluating your skincare needs and blending custom treatments as claimed.

Additionally, I couldn’t help but feel excited to read that their prescriptions included oral treatments, including spironolactone, as that was the only medication which worked to treat my own acne after years of trying different prescriptions, including Accutane.

Related: Got Pimples? How to Treat Adult Acne

Will Curology Work For You?

Considering the heaps of positive reviews that we were able to find for Curology’s telemedicine approach to tailor-made skin care, we feel confident suggesting that those who are struggling might find relief with their products. Further, we were unable to locate any negative reviews of Curology’s claims to provide attentive care.

What about Curology’s anti-aging treatments? While the above reviews focuse more on clogged pores, we double checked Curology’s ingredients and found evidence supporting that their anti-aging formulas are equally effective. For example, vitamin C and niacinamide are antioxidants known to fade hyperpigmentation, and tretinoin (the active ingredient in Retin-A) is known to boost cell turnover.

Considering the out-of-pocket cost of seeing a dermatologist, Curology’s low-fee membership plan is definitely appealing to those who have basic medical coverage, or aren’t covered at all. However, even when you have insurance, seeing a dermatologist can sometimes take months—whereas Curology promises that their dermatology providers will get back to you within 24-48 hours.

While telemedicine and online consultations might appear fly-by-night, it appears that Curology really does strive to offer everything that they claim: custom skincare treatments that are conveniently delivered to your door. Just remember that there are certain medications, such as Accutane, that they are unable to prescribe due to the severity of side effects.

The bottom line? If you struggle with mild to moderate acne or anti-aging concerns, the low cost of membership and satisfaction guarantee means that there’s minimal risk to trying out Curology’s custom skincare formulas.

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18 Customer Reviews for Curology

Average Customer Rating: 4.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 14 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  2
Bottom Line: 83% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 18
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  • The magical bottle

    • New York ,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been using pocket derm for about 11 months. I used to suffer from very bad cystic acne. I have tried almost every on the market to eliminate my acne. I went to so many dermatologists, that ended up with no positive results. However, I did my research on Curology and thought I give it a try. It was the best things that could have ever happen to my face.

    My dermatologist from Curology was very responsive to my questions, which I had a lot of and explained everything in details about my customize medication that they provided just for me. Pocket Derm works very well with Spironolactone 50mg. I only used it at night after washing my face very well. It takes about 3 months or sooner to start seeing results. This is my miracle bottle!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Emailed back

    • Illinois,
    • Jul 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    They have emailed me their error in honoring the refund and will be refunding me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Previous review
    • Jun 30, 2017

    Customer support bad, Derm was nice.

    Anything that is a prescription is a huge deal right? When you get prescribed anything, you want to make sure the products are good for your skin/body and speak up when you feel quality and efficiency is not good. If you don't feel like a product is right, you should be addressing those concerns and customer support should be addressing them seriously and/or with the reassurance of their products, which was not the case with Curology.

    I thought wow, I have some acne and I want to clear it up! I tried the trial bottle, it lasted only three weeks instead of a month, and made my acne really bad like never before! They said that was normal so I bought the next bottle. That one lasted three weeks AGAIN. And well, my acne left so many marks on my face, and acne in places I have never gotten before, that was not called purging I later learned.

    I then bought another bottle because, well, they kept telling me it was normal. I realized something was wrong, so I asked for a change in formula. Well, I had to pay for that bottle too in the same month, but I figured if it worked finally, it would be ok. So I ended up going to the doctor to only have them tell me what I had suspected all along, that my face was reacting to that cream and I need to stop it.

    I try to get a refund, it hasn't reached my 90 days yet, and they won't honor it. Support is bad, but the derm was nice, just not able to help, and I wasn't willing to keep paying for more bottles to try out formulas until I found the right one in fear they were all bad for me. So, be cautious, it looks like some weird scam if their products don't work for you specifically. Some people have luck I suppose, but I did not. So be careful and go with your initial gut feeling on how a product feels!

    (read moreread less...)

  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    I thought this was gimmicky at first

    • Waco, Texas,
    • Jun 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I decided to try it after seeing videos about it on Instagram and YouTube. The process of setting up my account and figuring out what I needed was extremely easy. Afterward, a dermatologist messaged me and talked to me. I waited for my package to ship and it came within two days. Using it is incredibly simple, and I began to see results within a couple of days. I recommended this to my boyfriend, brother, mom, and coworkers.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Curology really works!

    • Massachusetts,
    • Jun 29, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I found Curology because I was experiencing the worst cystic acne I've ever had. As an adult, it was super embarrassing to have to go to work with big inflamed pimples all over my face, not to mention it was painful! The more I tried to cover the breakouts up the more obvious and irritated they became. I had spent $250+ on face creams, washes, spot treatments, masks, etc., and nothing worked.

    Then I found Curology, just by chance, and it literally saved my skin. The provider I am assigned is very responsive and always answers all my questions. The shipping was quick, from the time I signed up to the time I had the bottle in my hand it was less than one week. I noticed a difference within about seven days, I had no new pimples, and the existing ones were starting to shrink.

    I still have a few scars left that I am hoping will fade with time, but I haven't had a new breakout since starting Curology. It's the best!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • It works!

    I have been suffering from acne for about five years now. I can't even count how many products I have tried to get rid of my acne. But one day on, yet another search for an acne remedy, I came across Curology and thought, "why not try another thing?" I honestly thought it wouldn't work but decided to try it out of desperation.

    To my surprise, it worked. After about three months I have noticed a tremendous difference. I have fewer breakouts every week, and I wear less and less makeup because I am starting to regain my self-esteem back. I still have some hyperpigmentation and scarring, but even that has gone down a lot. I am very thankful for this product and don't see myself not using this product.

    I highly recommend this product to anyone who is suffering from acne. It may sound cheesy, but it has truly changed my life. Thank you Curology!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    I'm angry

    I got the trial version, and with the basic formulation (AZELAIC ACID, CLINDAMYCIN, NIACINAMIDE) they give most people, and I tried it for a month. I had decent acne on my forehead due to hormone imbalance from BC.

    They warned me that it's going to get worse before it gets better. At first, it really did get worse. My skin texture got really weird with these tiny bumps literally everywhere on my face. I got really worried but decided to continue. Although the zits came down in size, they were still very persistent and would become really pushy. I continued the treatment that was supposed to help me also get rid of the dark spots left over from the acne. Well, guess what? The amount of zits that the medication "brought out" to try to "clear up" the acne actually made more dark spots and did not help them.

    I decided to take a break after the month and came back to it a little later, and all the acne inflamed again. I decided to stop using it and went on a search to get serum and moisturizer to get rid of my spotted forehead. Mind you, I used my Teint Idole 24 hr Lancome foundation, which is full coverage and even two layers of it would not cover the dark spots completely. I bought Even Better Serum and the new Moisture Surge Gel to try to recover. Two weeks later everything cleared up and dark spots are fading.

    Throughout this time, I was in a middle of a move and had a car accident. I tried contacting support only to get their voicemail box. I contacted my Curology "doctor," and she explained that there are no return or refunds. While I still have two more bottles of that formula sitting in their boxes untouched. And I know for a fact I'm not the only one with that formula. In fact, most people get the same "unique" formula when they sign up.

    The point of the story is it's probably not a good idea to deal with this product or company.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    Comments (3)
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    • Jun 21, 2017

      Diana Barrera

      Hello, I know it's a bit random but since you said you wouldn't be needing your Curology left over bottles, would you be interested in selling them to me?

    • Jun 22, 2017

      Fabian Seelbach, VP Marketing

      I'm sorry to hear you were unsatisfied with our service. Our support team is more than happy to help look into your account to see if you qualify for our 90-day money back guarantee. You can reach out to them via email at support@curology.com, and they'll be sure to get back to you within 24-48 hours.

      Don't hesitate to let us know if there is anything else we can help you with!

    • Jul 3, 2017

      Gloria samuel

      I have eczema and very sensitive skin so I hope it won't break me out. I'm really trying to get rid of my dark spots and hyperpigmentation around my lip area.

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  • Amazing

    If you have ever wanted clean and clear skin, Curology is the product for you. Curology was/is the only product I have ever used that actually worked. I have been living with acne since puberty, and I am currently 24 years old. I have never had severe acne but had constant breakouts that would leave dark marks on my face. The only cure was to stop breaking out so dark marks would stop forming.

    Everything I tried, from all natural to popular products on the market never worked. I saw a Curology commercial and was never interested in the monthly subscriptions, kind of like Proactiv. But I was tired of having a face full of pimples, so I gave it a try.

    I have never been happier with my skin or more confident. I can go out without foundation and love the way I look. I am still super oily, that is just how my skin is, but the oil no longer clogs my pores and gives me instant breakouts by the end of the day. I have to say Curology is the best thing my skin has ever had.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great!

    • Wauwatosa, Wisconsin,
    • Jun 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Curology is a magical product. I was struggling to keep my skin acne free, and I couldn't find any working products until my sister found Curology. They helped me cure my acne spots, help fix my oily skin, and help me build confidence! Love you Curology.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    The best results!

    • Bellingham, WA,
    • May 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I went through so many different products, from numerous home remedies to dermatologist study participations, and nothing quite got rid of these little bumps on my forehead. I decided to give Curology a try, and I can honestly say nothing has ever been as effective on my skin. My provider looked at my photos, understood my description, and personally formulated something that ACTUALLY got the bumps to go down for the first time in three years. Months later, I'm canceling my subscription because I have enough supply to last me for many more months and my skin does not need the everyday application any longer!

    I am extremely satisfied with my experience. I would recommend anybody to give this method a shot, especially if you feel that your acne has not been treated with any other over-the-counter options! It's worth the shot.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    It lives up to the hype.

    I was dealing with horrible hormonal acne around my cheeks, and nothing was working! I had annoying zits that would sometimes hurt, and I would have to cover them up all the time. I purchased Curology after reading good reviews online. They base your formula off of simple questions and photos of your skin which is great.

    I have been using it for about three months now, and it has been a game changer! Nothing has worked like this before. I say this with full honesty; I never break out anymore unless it's around that time of the month. And when that happens, it is an occasional small zit that only I notice and it goes away before it has a chance to get worse. I will keep using this stuff as long as I can; it has really raised my confidence level.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Super happy I took a chance!

    I began to notice that I was developing adult acne, so I developed a skin regimen. Though it helped some with the basic "zits," I was also developing what is called "cystic acne." Then I happen to come across the Curology ad on Instagram and thought "eh, what the heck, might as well try it." Thank God I did! Within the first month (after a bit of purging, which the website clarified prior to me purchasing), I noticed that my skin was truly getting rid of the bigger cystic acne.

    Now I am a female, and let's all be honest that no matter what, I am going to have those "monthly breakouts" but believe me they are more like teeny tiny ones that are in no way comparison to the cystic ones, and they heal quicker and aren't as many!

    Now as for convenience, you get your own dermatologist on hand that you can ask all your questions to (without having to go to a Dr's office, like come on, how great is that?). You get your OWN formalized acne prescription, and they ship it to you. You just send in your picture of your problem area, and your dermatologist gets to work. Bam! Simple as that.

    Best of all you have a Curology community of people struggling with the same problem as you, if not worse, so the support is a plus. I truly enjoy seeing the before/after or even in process pictures of the rest of the Curology members, so again, you know you are not alone!

    There is a monthly fee, which is not even that much and frankly, even if it was a bit more, you have to ask yourself is my skin worth it? Yes, because it affects your self-image, which is why you'd be looking for a great acne product like Curology in the first place. Take a chance like I did and give it a shot, you'll be happy you did.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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