About Curology

By HighYa Research Team
Updated on: Jan 24, 2019

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 applicable.

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.

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

Curology members are charged varying rates depending on which plan they choose. The company provides what’s known as a superbottle. It contains the ingredients Curology mixes for your specific skin.

You can try a 30-day free trial for the cost of shipping – $4.95 – and any applicable sales tax. A 30-day supply will cost you $19.95 and a 60-day supply is $39.90. The two-month plan has free shipping, while the monthly plan will charge shipping and handling.

If you want to subscribe to the full Curology routine (superbottle, cleanser, and moisturizer), you’ll pay $59.90 per 60-day supply plus any taxes when applicable.

What if you run out of your Curology formula before 30 or 60 days? The company states that you are always free to request an earlier shipment.

That means that the total cost of a Curology membership is around $240 - $480 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.

Curology’s Refund Policy

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

If you’re not satisfied with your Curology formula, the company promises to refund 100 percent of your charge within the first 30 days if you aren’t satisfied. To request a refund, email 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: Can Coconut Oil Help Offset Acne and Cystic Acne? Experts Offer Advice

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 focused 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.

» See Also: Best Foods for Healthy, Clear, Glowing Skin Recommended by Experts

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Read 253 Curology Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 196 4 star: 8 3 star: 2 2 star: 9 1 star:  38
Bottom Line: 81% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 253
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  • Miracle in a bottle!

    • Houston, TX,
    • Jun 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    At age 32 I pretty much gave up trying to have nice skin, and just accepted that I was going to have acne forever. Acne was just a frustrating part of my life until I kept seeing ads for Curology. I decided to give it a try. I was hopeful, but skeptical, because I've tried EVERYTHING else before, with ZERO success. I signed up for the free trial bottle and saw a difference in my skin long before the trial bottle ran out! I was sold! Now, my skin is glowing, I wear less makeup, and feel confident to go without makeup, too! My breakouts are, for once in my life, under control, and now the medication is keeping them at bay, plus helping eliminate the scars from life before Curology! I never expected this product to work, but it is my miracle in a bottle!

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

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  • 100% trust-worthy

    • Non,
    • Jun 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It is obvious that Curology really does want to help your skin. They give your many professionally made articles on what to use for your skin and how to treat it, which is extremely helpful. They are super supportive and if you are struggling with keeping up your nightly habit of applying your cream they will shoot you a text reminder. I’ve seen really great results and would recommend it to anyone.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Stopped and came back, IT WORKS.

    • Hawaii,
    • Jun 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I tried Curology, saw amazing results in just a few shorts weeks (maybe 1-2?). Used the product for months and found that I used less and less and was still having very clear skin. So I went into my online account and easily postponed my next shipment (and you can do this as much as you need and won’t be charged a dime extra). I thought my acne was due to hormones and stopped using it when I got my hormones back in balance. Well, the acne came back with a vengeance, I contacted Curology and got my same prescription sent to me by the end of the week. A week later my skin is almost completely clear again. After over 10 years of dealing with painful, cystic acne I am happy to finally found a product that works flawlessly. I have and will continue to recommend this company to anyone seeking help with their acne.

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

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  • 2 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Disappointed

    • West Palm Beach, FL,
    • May 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    SCAM. Buyer beware. I don't understand how his company is getting away selling this product. First things first, I have to admit, the actual product that was formulated for me personally worked. I liked it. However, when I did my online questioner, consulted with their NP, I was ready for my trial. I paid the shipping. Received my trial within a few days. Three weeks later I received a box with my personalized bottle, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. I was shocked as I NEVER EVER ordered this package. Never received an email either that this was shipping and they charged my credit card $59.90.

    I emailed and they said that "I" signed up for this monthly package. Really? I told them that I wanted to return the package and they said "due to FDA regulations" that they cannot accept returns. I understand that they can't accept my personal bottle, but the moisturizer and cleanser -c'mon! That's like me going into my local drug store and purchasing a moisturizer to find out it didn't work. I am 100% positive they would return it. I never signed up for this subscription...why would I do this without trying their product first? They (Curology) automatically signed me up for this. According to other reviews, this is what they do. I'm not the only one this happened to. Of course, there is no number to all for the business. I emailed them and asked them to call me. They said they would, but never initially gave me a time. The next day I received a call from "no caller ID". Well, I didn't answer. So I had to email again for them to tell that they will call me 2 days later. Received a call 2 days later and the Curology rep kept telling me that "I" signed up for this. She sounded like a robot. She then asked me if I wanted to cancel my subscription. I went online and canceled and made sure my card on file was no longer working.

    Unreal. This company/product is advertised all over social media with YOUTUBERS promoting this. This company is 100% unethical and crooks. Again...think twice before having any kind of connection with this company.

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

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Curology made my skin go from bad to worse

    • New Mexico,
    • May 28, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My skin got SIGNIFICANTLY worse. I had minor acne when I started Curology, by the time I canceled almost 5 months on Curology, my acne was so severe I’m now on Accutane to correct the damage Curology did to my skin. I basically spent $40 dollars a month to damage my skin.

    I understand that this product probably has worked for others, but won’t work for everyone. The frustrating thing was I saw zero improvement, so I asked to change my prescription, my dermatologist spent most of her time trying to convince me that it was every other product causing this outbreak but Curology. When I explained to her that nothing else in my routine had changed other than Curology she finally said OK, we'll we can try something else I guess, but just make sure you’re looking at your other products. I understand she works for Curology, but any legitimate dermatologist would clearly see you right away that this product was the problem and tell me to get off of it. It’s not my other products and it’s NOT a FIVE MONTH purging period. I will NOT be recommending Curology to anyone I know.

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

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  • 8 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Horrible experience all around

    • Illinois,
    • May 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I participated in the free trial and chose the $19.99 subscription for when my trial was up. I was NEVER consulted by a doctor before the sent my product as they advertise. After my trial, I was charged 3 times the price I subscribed to and had seen no results from my product. When I tried to contact customer service they have no phone number so I had to email them and my product was shipped while I was waiting for a response. Customer service was then no help in accepting their mistake and refused to fix it. I am now trying to log into my account to cancel and it is impossible. It says my password or email are incorrect but they are not and when I try to reset, it sends me to the trial page to reorder. The system is flawed and instead of the company owning up to it they are charging me anyway.

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

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    • May 15, 2019

      Company Response from Curology Inc.

      Hello Danielle,

      I am so sorry to hear this was your experience with Curology. I would like to try to help resolve this with you. You can again email support@curology.com or you can send us a DM on Instagram so we can follow up with your directly about this.

      Best,

      The Curology Team


  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Glow city

    • Santa Ana, CA ,
    • May 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Back in August last year I started getting adult acne for the first time. These weren’t normal blemishes they were deep painful pimples. By the time October came, I had enough and decided to give Curology a shot because I had some friends recommend it to me and I saw it all over Instagram. The first month for me was rough because I did have purging but I can honestly say after my skin purged it cleared up and has been stunning for the last six months. My skin literally glows now and I get compliments on it daily. The best part? I rarely wear makeup now because I’m so confident in my skin! Thanks Curology.

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

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  • 3 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Saved my face

    • Akron, OH,
    • May 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This stuff is gold. I’m obsessed, I’ve only been using it for 2 weeks, and my skin has improved so much. Cleared up my stress breakouts, and gave me a beautiful glow! I will continue to use, and recommend to everyone!

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

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Amazing

    • Fort Worth, TX,
    • May 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve struggled with acne for YEARS...tried everything I could try and nothing worked - it would work for a couple of days and then just go right back to being bad again. When I heard about Curology I was so excited to try it because I’d heard so many good things about it! I love that it’s so easy, just 3 steps. The face wash and moisturizer makes your skin feel amazing and my face is 100% clear now! Thank you so much Curology! Life changing, I’m so much more confident now!

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Curology changed my skin completely!

    • Ohio,
    • May 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have struggled with acne since high school, and I am now 23. It never was severe, but left me very insecure. I would wear a ton of makeup to cover it up and it only made my skin worse. I have always envied women who can wake up and not put a thing on their skin and feel free to leave the house. I tried one other acne medication before curology that did not work, then my friend who had similar acne to me told me about curology. I did not really believe that it would work for me, but I tried it despite my doubt. After even a few weeks, my acne was disappearing and my dark-spots were lightening. It has only been a few months but I don't wear any foundation some days and feel confident in my skin. It has been a game changer, and I am very thankful I tried it.

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

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Curology review

    • Winston-Salem, NC,
    • May 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Curology has been a game changer for my skin entirely. Within a month I saw insane results. I’ve been using Curology for a year now and my skin is totally different and more clear than it’s been since I was a child. The services Curology provides are great and my contact and shipments with Curology have also been great. I love it!

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

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Showing 1-11 of 253

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