Among the many businesses disrupting the norm in their industries is Curology, a skincare brand that offers custom products and one-on-one consultations with dermatology providers all available at the click of a button. Instead of making an appointment to see a dermatologist, you can upload a few selfies, complete a quick skin quiz, and have a personalized leave-on cream adapted to your skincare needs delivered straight to your door.
Curious to see if the digital brand lived up to the hype, I snapped a few selfies and started the customization process for myself (a task that took mere minutes). After answering a few questions about my skin type, I received a notification that a dermatology physician's assistant had looked over my skincare history and selfies and was making a custom treatment plan just for me. My "consultation" informed me exactly which active ingredients would be included in the final product and what each is designed to do. I was also told how to properly apply my personalized formula—a cream containing Zinc Pyrithion, Clindamycin, and Niacinamide—for the best results.
Luckily, when I received my bottle in the mail a few days later, I had just started my period, leaving me with a few expected—but certainly unwelcome—hormone-induced pimples around my chin and jawline. I applied the cream all over my face at night before bed and let it work its magic while I slept. While the immediate results weren't groundbreaking—it would take four to six weeks to see a major change—I was pleasantly surprised by how the product reduced look of redness on my chin and shrunk my zits with a few uses.
To learn more about how the product works and why personalization is key, I spoke with David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology.
The Big Idea
Lortscher first noticed the problem with traditional dermatology consultations while working in New Mexico. Many of his patients would have to wait weeks for appointment only to drive hours to see him. "It occurred to me that quality acne care shouldn't be so inaccessible. I knew there had to be a better way," he explains.
That's when the idea for Curology was born. Lortscher worked to create a platform that could provide one-on-one consultations with dermatology providers in an accessible and affordable way. Now, the brand focuses on fighting acne but also adapts formulas to address anti-aging, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and more common skin issues. They provide a custom leave-on cream for each of their patients that can be purchased on a monthly subscription plan and they've recently added a cleanser and moisturizer to their lineup.
The Personal Touch
"There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all skincare solution because everyone's skin is different," the dermatologist tells me. That's why it was important for Curology to offer personalized solutions. "Your skin condition is influenced by many factors, including lifestyle, environment, genetics, medications, and more," he says. Because all skin types need different formulas and regimens, custom care makes the most sense when it comes to treating your skin. It also takes much of the guesswork out of figuring out which types of products are best for you in a market that's so saturated with different products.
Each custom formula contains three active ingredients, one of which is a prescription. It could be any combination of clindamycin, azelaic acid, tretinoin, niacinamide, and zinc pyrithione, all ingredients that fight acne in different ways; some reduce inflammation while others unclog pores.
The Bigger Picture
In addition to finding the skincare products that are best for you, Lortscher recommends taking further measures to fight acne and reveal glowing skin. Here are a few of his tips for naturally clearer skin.
1. Cut back on sugars, simple carbohydrates, dairy, and whey protein.
2. Avoid excessively hot, long showers.
3. Be careful not to scrub areas of the skin affected by acne.
4. Stick to a few simple products with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid instead of using a variety of products.
5. Discuss strategies with a dermatology provider to counter hormonal acne around your period, during pregnancy, or after starting or stopping to take birth control pills.
Take Lortscher's advice and head to Curology to try out the customized skincare products for yourself. While you're at it, indulge in some self-care with even more soothing products below.
Treat Yourself With a Bit of Pampering