Curology: Access to Prescription Acne Treatment on a Budget

Note: PocketDerm has now changed their name to Curology

Over the past year, adult acne has taken my face by storm. I went from one zit here and there to established, recurring problem areas. I have been wanting to go to a dermatologist for a really long time. Unfortunately, dermatology isn’t covered by my health insurance, and the consultations and prescription treatment are a little beyond my budget… plus I have zero time to actually get myself to a dermatologist’s office.

All of these factors contributed to my curiosity and excitement when I discovered Curology. Available in most US states, Curology pairs you with a board certified dermatologist from your state for online consultations, a prescription treatment, plus as many refills as you need for only $19.99 a month. WHAT?! I KNOW!

Curology: Access to Prescription Acne Treatment on a Budget

The service is really tailored to your unique skin problems. When you sign up, you get to fill out a questionnaire about your skin and medical history. Just like any doctor’s office, all of this information is kept 100% confidential. Upload high quality photos to help your dermatologist accurately diagnose your acne.

Curology: Access to Prescription Acne Treatment on a Budget

After reviewing your file and photos, your dermatologist will prescribe you a treatment with ingredients tailored to your skin’s needs. You can shoot your doc a message at any time through your account dashboard. They’ll let you know how to use your products, and you can ask them anything about skin care!

Curology: Access to Prescription Acne Treatment on a Budget

The consultation, chat sessions, prescription treatment AND shipping are all included in the $19.99 monthly cost. Oh, and you can refill– or change– your prescription as much as you need for no extra charge. Curology docs can also call in oral prescriptions to your local pharmacy if they are recommended to you. Those aren’t included in the monthly cost, but they’re completely optional.

Curology: Access to Prescription Acne Treatment on a Budget

I’m honestly already really impressed by this service. I set up my account around 9PM last Wednesday, and my dermatologist was actually available for chat! He sent me an in-depth message answering my specific questions, and explained each ingredient in my prescribed treatment. My prescription contains three active ingredients: clindamycin, azelaic acid, and tretinoin (for comparison, over the counter treatments usually only contain one). I got my topical in the mail on Saturday, along with some samples of face products Dr. L recommends– Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser, Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion. Yay for all drugstore products!

The system reminds you to follow up with your dermatologist every six weeks to let them know how the prescription is working. Dr. L let me know he wanted to hear from me sooner than that so he can track my progress better. Fingers crossed I’ll have progress to show by then!

Do you think you’d prefer Curology over seeing a traditional dermatologist? Get paired up with your new dermatologist at



  1. My assumption is the online doc only deals w/ common skin problems like mild to moderate acne. Because in reality, you need to see a doctor face to face for full skin analysis. Can he prescribe something else other than their in-house products? Just curious…

    • Yes, PocketDerm is only for acne– not other skin conditions. And yes, he also prescribed me an antibiotic pill which I picked up at my local pharmacy. This wasn’t included in the monthly fee but still under $20 with a coupon he emailed me!

  2. I’m skeptical about a doctor-patient relationship that is only online, but I guess he can see pimples as well over a screen as in person!? I’ll be following your updates to see how well this works, and if he’s just giving you OTC products but charging more for them.

  3. As someone who currently works in a pharmacy, this is a rather interesting concept. I know some of the prescription acne medications are fairly cheap, but I wonder what will happen if you require something outside of that (because there are quite a few medications that cost a lot of money, even for the pharmacy to order). I’d also be more particular with what they are sending me because I’m familiar with OTC and Prescription strength products. I’d want to go through the active ingredient list very thoroughly because I don’t want to be sent something that is a combination of what I can get OTC and mix together myself. It’s not uncommon for doctors to write for OTC medications. Although, I might give this service a try, just to see how it goes. Maybe I can recommend my patients to this service if it really is as good as it sounds.

  4. It’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a Derm appointment where I live. This sounds like a perfect alternative. I’ll have to check this out!

    • Right before I started, I was experiencing a bad purge– or just breakout– from a new system I had tried. PocketDerm has helped that heal. The cystic acne I had when I started shrank and is less red. I still have whiteheads and closed comedones. I’m also taking Doxycycline so I’m hoping I progress quickly!


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