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 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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107 Consumer Reviews for Curology

Average Consumer Rating: 3.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 64 4 star: 3 3 star: 2 2 star: 9 1 star:  29
Bottom Line: 64% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 107
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  • I love Curology

    • North Carolina,
    • Feb 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love Curology and am so happy I found it! Not only is it super convenient but it really works well! I was skeptical at first, but after my first trial bottle I was sold! I literally recommend it to anyone and everyone whenever the topic of skin issues arises; the best part is it's applicable for all instances because Curology is personalized for every individual's needs. Communicating with Curology is always super easy and the customer service is amazing; I love how they even check in to ensure I am still satisfied with my skin. I am so grateful it is now a permanent staple in my skin care routine.

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

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  • Curology for sensitive skin

    • Texas,
    • Feb 19, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have very sensitive skin. My face swells or itches so bad if I use some strong products and it irritates my acne more. I found Curology online and it was perfect. They formulated a customize cream for me and it works. My acne is gone and I will still continue using this product.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Curology review

    • Arizona,
    • Feb 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Honestly, this company is very well set up and kind. The products are amazing and actually did do wonders for my skin - which is extremely hard to do considering I've tried almost everything and nothing seemed to work. Not to mention that their website is EXTREMELY user-friendly. I, unfortunately, canceled my membership with them due to moving, however, the main reason for going out of my way to write this review - which I don't normally do - is because that was honestly the easiest cancellation I've ever encountered in my life. It was literally one click; AND if I ever wanted to resubscribe, which I actually might, it's just one click. This is the way it should be. I shouldn't have to jump through 3 million hoops in order not to pay a company for a service I no longer want/need. This company is truly authentic, convenient, and solely in it to help its consumers.

    The only downfall I would say, in my opinion, is the scent of the products (and I don't know if this was just my specially made product or all of their products) was a bit smelly, but again it's just my personal opinion. It still worked really well, easy setup and very great communication with the company. If scents don't bother you don't worry too much! Give it a try! GREAT COMPANY.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Amazing product!

    • West Jordan, UT,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have seen amazing results since I’ve started Curology!

    My hormonal breakouts are almost down to nothing.

    It’s given me an extra boost of confidence and it’s nice to not need to wear as much makeup.

    I have really enjoyed my experience with this company and product so I would definitely recommend it to a friend!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Curology gave me back my confidence

    • New Mexico,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I suffered from whiteheads, blackheads, and small red pimples. They were embarrassing, and I hated going out and speaking to people. I was immensely self-conscious. I also wanted to combat signs of aging.

    I’ve been using Curology for 3 months and 95% of my problem has been eradicated. I can go makeup free, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my skin. I’m 45, I look and feel amazing!

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

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  • Best ever!

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Curology has exceeded so many of my expectations, and it’s not just about the product itself, but the amazing team working with you and helping you maintain healthy skin! The website is simple to use and the product routine is easy to follow. I have had such a huge change in my skin and I really couldn’t have done it without Curology!

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

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  • 4 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Terrible customer service

    • California,
    • Feb 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I uploaded clear and bright photos of my acne from every angle in the broad daylight with no filters and no makeup on, and the customer service representative said she needed more photos in order to prescribe me the correct acne product. I couldn't have taken clearer or better photos. The ones that I sent showed my cystic acne clearly, and I told her that these photos were the best I had. She couldn't accommodate or work with the photos I sent her so I canceled my subscription and never even had a chance to try the free sample.

    This was such a disappointing experience since the YouTube commercial of the female swimmer with the body acne was so convincing. I was so excited to try out this product since nothing else has helped my terrible cystic acne. This was one of the most uncommunicative and strange interactions I've ever had with a company. The least they could have done is whipped up something for my acne based on my written description and the photos I sent them and let me try the product out. I will not be recommending this service to anyone. Raelyn Fournier, PA-C, was the person handling my order.

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

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  • 8 out 10 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Great product

    • Philadephia, PA,
    • Feb 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Love the results of my anti-aging regimen.

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

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    • Previous review
    • Feb 4, 2019

    Worst customer service!

    I've been using Curology for almost five months with great results. I've been very happy with the products and my provider. However, my last $40 order of a 2-month supply never arrived, even though the tracking info says it was "delivered to mailbox." My delivery address is a retail boutique that I own and work in. There is no "mailbox." On the date and time that USPS claims they delivered my order, I was at my store with the door wide open doing business. This was clearly a delivery error on the part of USPS. I immediately contacted customer service and was told by Brittany that I should follow up with USPS myself to track down the package. It was also suggested that I gave them the wrong delivery address. This was not an acceptable response. I asked that Curology please follow up with USPS and/or please send me a replacement. At this point, all communication ceased for a week. I reached out to Brittany several times asking for a follow-up response and only received one after giving her a negative review. At that point, she told me she would send me a replacement if I once again confirmed my delivery address, which I promptly did AGAIN. That was a week ago, no response since. I've emailed every day and still no response. I emailed my provider, still no response.

    It's been over two weeks now that the package has been missing. I'm out $40, off my regimen and have been utterly ignored. There is no phone number and no way to speak to a person. Horrible horrible customer service. I will be filing a claim with my credit card company and canceling my subscription. Really a shame because I liked the product very much. AVOID!

    (read moreread less...)

  • 2 out 9 people found this review helpful

    You think you're paying less but it's actually a scam

    • Texas,
    • Feb 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was skeptical with this website at first, but I said what the heck, maybe they're actually good. So I started my free trial, only $5 something for the shipping, so I made a custom cream and it said to take pictures of your face, shoulders, back, and chest so I thought they had for the body too (I specifically joined for body cream or something for body acne), but weirdly the cream is only for the face. They give you recommendations, which I liked, and they respond pretty quick if you had a question so props on that. Now, let's talk about the actual product since I needed it for my body I used it for my body, for some odd reason they told me not to use it on large areas but that seemed like a BS excuse...the bottle only lasted three days! So I guess that's why they told me not to use it for my body because you will notice that the bottle they give you is like a potato chip bag, it seems full but is only half the bottle, well I'm being too nice when I say half it's actually 1/4 of the bottle.

    So that's the actual cream for acne, they give you two more things a moisturizer and a cleanser. So lets recap on what it brings: 1/4 of the cream (by the way, the bottle says 12 ml but it's only just two) for acne, 0.8 oz of moisturizer and 1.4 oz of the cleanser. I mean I paid 5 bucks, what will you expect, OH wait, that package is actually $30 a month, you only pay $5 for the shipping in the trial, so okay you can downgrade so that the 1/4 (2 ml) bottle cream only arrives and that's $24.90.

    So, does it actually work? Maybe I only had it for three days and they say it clears in five to six weeks, so good luck on that. I have noticed it's slightly going away but for what I need it is a waste of money, even if you're going to use it on your face, I still won't recommend this. I'm not saying that because the cream doesn't work, it's because they're selling overpriced cream and falsely advertising the size of the bottle. So I would rate this from 0 through 10, 3/10 good website, good customer service but overpriced products, misleading customers, and they just seem straight up sketchy.

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

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    • Feb 12, 2019

      Curology,

      Hi Joel,

      Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your experience. Please know that Curology is not for use anywhere but the face and/or neck. While we're happy to offer non-prescription advice for body acne, our custom formula's are not designed to treat body acne concerns.

      Any prescriptions prescribed by Curology are for use on the face/neck only. If you are using Curology on a larger surface area, please stop immediately.

      When used as directed our bottles last a majority of patients a full 30 to 60 days (depending on their subscription plan). Our bottles are small, but with prescription medication, a little goes a long way! Each bottle contains 3 active ingredients chosen for your unique concerns.

      If you have any questions about our service, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at support@curology.com. We're happy to help!

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Curology works!

    • California,
    • Feb 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had stubborn chin hormonal acne that would never go away - until I tried Curology. It only took one month and it was completely gone! I was shocked and I am so grateful. I recommend this to anyone. It is so worth it! Thank you Curology!

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Waste your money on something else.

    • Georgia,
    • Feb 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Curology seems perfect until I subscribed and agreed to purchase a 2-month bottle! In other words, once I agreed to have my credit card charged, their service turned from a 10 to pretty-much-a-scam. When I first signed up for the free trials, I received all kinds of emails and text messages for updates from their customer service and the physician assistant (or at least who claimed to be so), which seems great. After I subscribed, emails/text messages/updates are gone. When I decided to unsubscribe because I see no improvement on my skin, I logged into my account and somehow all the legit stuff (components of my formula, info of the "PA" who prescribe my formula, etc.) has disappeared. Instead, I got stuck on this page which kept asking me to activate my trial. I emailed them (because they don't even have a phone number) to cancel my subscription after three months and a bunch of charges on my credit card.

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

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    • Feb 6, 2019

      Curology,

      Hi Bao,

      Thank you for sharing your review! I'm sorry to hear you had such a poor experience.

      From your comment it sounds as though you may be logging in via a new or different email than is linked to your active account with us. If you try to login via a new email, the site may prompt you to begin signing up again which would cause you to see notices to activate your trial.

      If you have charges you do not recognize or questions on the status of your account, please reach out to our support team! We're happy to help answer any questions you may have and help to get you in contact with your medical provider.

      He or she is available anytime for any questions you may have about your progress.

      Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at: support@curology.com. We're happy to help however we can.

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