Curology Review: Custom Formula Skincare Products for Every Skin Type

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Whether it may be acne and clogged pores, dark spots and a rough skin texture, or fine lines and wrinkles, everyone has their own individual skin concerns to deal with. This usually means regularly trying to pick from the many different cosmetic product choices out there, so that you can attempt to put together a routine that works well for your skincare needs.

While this method may mean that you could potentially stumble upon a game-changing product that seems perfectly suited to your skin type, all of that trial and error can take up a significant amount of time, not to mention money.

Enter Curology – a brand that’s completely changing the way in which people approach skincare. If you like the sound of a simplified skincare routine with customized formulas designed exclusively for you, then this Curology review is a must-read.

What is Curology?

curology bottle

Curology is a skincare brand that was first launched in 2014 by board-certified dermatologist David Lortscher.

He realized that many of his acne patients were waiting weeks for an appointment, and often had to travel long distances to see a dermatologist.

Lortscher wanted to provide his patients with an affordable and easy way to access skincare products with prescription content, and so Curology was born.

Although acne was the brand’s initial focus, the way in which patients were responding so positively to their customized treatments led to the company diversifying into other skin concerns too.

They now offer custom formulas through a monthly subscription that treat everything from wrinkles to hyperpigmentation and have also developed their own-brand acne-friendly cleanser and moisturizer. No matter the issues you may be dealing with, Curology is confident that they can put together the perfect combination of ingredients to tackle them.

How Does Curology Work?

To become a Curology member, you’ll need to first complete a skin assessment. The questions are designed to gather information about your skin health and skin concerns. You’ll also need to submit three face selfies to accompany your assessment, and consent to their conditions.

Curology’s formulas can be used by those who are under the age of 18 too, but parental consent will be needed.

All of this content is then sent to a licensed dermatologist for review. They’ll use the information to come up with a customized treatment plan for your skin concerns, and your new prescription products will usually arrive at your door a few days later.

The dermatologist that you’ve been connected to will be on hand during your treatment to oversee your progress and answer any questions that you may have. As your skin improves, they’ll also adapt your treatment plan. This often means that the content of your customized formula will change from month to month, depending on how your skin is responding.


Does Curology Really Work?

For many, the concept of custom skincare at an affordable price seems too good to be true. We thought so too, which is why we decided to dig deeper and put together this Curology review.

It turns out that we were wrong to be doubtful. While Curology’s products won’t provide an overnight skin transformation, the ingredients that they use work on a deeper level. Results take effect slowly, but after about 4-6 weeks, you’ll notice big changes.

Of course, there are no miracles in skincare. The brand is upfront about the fact that the content of their formulas works for 88% of the people that try them, which is an impressive enough statistic to warrant sampling them for yourself.

Curology Patient Reviews

Pretty faced fashion model woman with brown hair

You’ll find plenty of positive Curology reviews on the brand’s website, but this is usually a given – you’ll rarely see a company promoting negative reviews!

However, Curology patients have been speaking out all over social media, and the photographic proof of their results is truly impressive.

Just pick a social media network on the device that you’re currently using and do a search on the brand – you’ll have plenty of choices available when it comes to good reviews!

Key Ingredients in Curology Formulas

Although we’re now convinced that Curology really does work, we want to know more – what actually makes their products so effective?

Well, just like with every other skincare product out there, it all comes down to the content of each bottle – the ingredients.

This will vary based on the specific formula created for you, but there are some ingredients in particular that the brand favors:

  • Tretinoin – a prescription retinoid that has been proven to help with both acne and anti-aging, making it popular among dermatology providers [1]
  • Azelaic acid – a natural acid that’s effective at treating acne and hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid also has antioxidant properties [2]
  • Niacinamide – a form of vitamin B3 that helps with everything from sun damage and discoloration to enlarged pores, excess oil production, and acne – one of the most popular ingredients in skincare [3]
  • Tranexamic acid – a powerful skin brightener that works just as well as hydroquinone, but without any of the side effects [4]
  • Zinc pyrithione – an antibacterial and antifungal, making it effective at destroying acne-causing bacteria while reducing inflammation in the skin [5]
  • Clindamycin and Metronidazole – both of these are antibiotics that are used to treat acne

The Benefits of Curology’s Custom Formulas

A “one size fits all” approach is rarely ideal in skincare, especially for those dealing with acne. This is why many over-the-counter products fail to bring about deeper changes in the skin.

By creating individualized formulas, just one bottle is able to target the specific issues that you’re dealing with, without containing any of the unnecessary filler ingredients that are often found in store-bought skin products.

Of course, you could regularly visit licensed dermatology providers for quality prescription skincare, but this usually comes at a large cost. The ease, convenience, and affordability of Curology’s concept make the company highly appealing, and the fact that their formulas actually work helps to seal the deal.

Woman in a summer dress outdoors

Curology is also completely legit – your prescription will be provided by a licensed medical professional who knows what they are doing.

Are There Any Downsides?

The main downside to using Curology is missing out on those “real life” dermatologic exams. While most common skin conditions can easily be diagnosed through photos and discussions, some conditions, such as acne, can actually be caused by underlying health problems.

Misdiagnosis of your acne could mean that it takes longer to get to the bottom of a potential health condition, which would be dangerous in the long run.

However, combining Curology products with occasional visits to a dermatologist gives you the best of both worlds!


Does Curology Have Any Side Effects?

Whether it’s acne treatments or anti-aging creams, all Curology products contain medical-grade ingredients – this is why they require a prescription. These ingredients cannot be found in “one size fits all” products because they’re strong enough to cause damage if used incorrectly.

young lovely brown haired lady outdoors

This means that, until your skin adjusts to the strength of these ingredients, side effects may occur. Dryness and itching on the face are the most common, and some people find that their acne breakouts get more severe for a while.

However, the brand offers tips on their website to help your skin to adjust, especially when it comes to acne, and can also decrease the strength of your formula if the side effects don’t seem to be improving.

Related Article: Best treatment for acne

How Much Does Curology Cost?

Including shipping and handling (because no one enjoys extra fees being slapped on at the end), a subscription costs between $24.90 and $39.90. The amount that you pay will depend on whether you want to go for the small bottle size or the large. The content of each would be the same.

The small bottles are shipped out every month, while the larger treatments last for two months. You can also add extra products, such as the brand’s face cleanser and moisturizer, to each delivery.

It’s understandable that people prefer to try before they buy, which is why the brand offers a fantastic free trial. All you need to pay is $4.95 for shipping and handling, after which you’ll receive a bottle of your customized blend, as well as samples of some of the brand’s other products.

Where Can You Buy Curology?

Since Curology’s skincare is custom-made for each person, you can only buy their products through the subscription service on the brand’s official website.

With each product requiring a prescription, Curology is currently only available in the USA and cannot be shipped to other countries.



Is Curology FDA approved?

Yes, each ingredient that Curology uses is FDA-approved and safe for the face. There is also plenty of research information out there that backs up their efficacy.

Does Curology make your skin worse before it gets better?

pretty female wearing blue dress

Sometimes. It all depends on how your skin reacts to the ingredients in your custom blend – different skin types will adjust in their own way. However, this is common, especially when it comes to acne breakouts becoming more frequent, and the brand will give you plenty of information to help you deal with this.

Is it hard to cancel Curology?

It’s easy to cancel your Curology subscription through your online account or by sending an email, and this can be done at any time. Anyone with any account questions can also contact the brand via email.

Is Curology Worth the Money?

When you consider the fact that Curology offers medical-strength ingredients that aren’t available over-the-counter, in custom formulas designed exclusively for your skin…yes, Curology is definitely worth the money.

In fact, we would probably even pay a little more than what they charge, because having one product that tackles everything, from acne to wrinkles, means that you wouldn’t need to use quite so many others.

Compared to others in a similar price range, Curology’s formulas really are superior. Custom beauty is a trend that has been steadily growing in recent years and is pretty influential right now [6] – Curology isn’t the only brand to tap in on this information, but its affordability and wide appeal have set it apart from the competition.

When we first started working on this Curology review, we were doubtful about the brand’s promises. However, the results really do speak for themselves. If you don’t believe us, try it out for yourself – you’ve got nothing to lose, other than the small shipping fee! Chances are that you’ll soon become a devoted Curology patient too.



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Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.