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Curology Skincare Subscription Box Review + Coupon- Jul 2016

Nancy Su
ByNancy SuMay 8, 2019 | 27 comments


5 overall rating
4 Ratings | 0 Reviews

Curology is a unique prescription skincare subscription service that pairs you with a licensed dermatologist and sends you prescription medication every three months.

The licensed healthcare providers are based in San Diego, and the list of states Curology is licensed in is here. Curology medication is targeted toward acne and anti-aging. Not only do you receive prescription medication tailored to your skincare needs, but you also get one-on-one access to your medical provider. Prescription bottles are shipped every 90 days (three months). However, if you run out early or need it sooner, you simply request an earlier next shipment in your account.

Since this article's original publish date, we've continued to review Curology and provide updates on our progress. See all of our Curology Reviews to learn more.


I've had Curology for a couple of months. Now that I received a second bottle I figured it's a good time to take a look at the subscription service!

My Subscription Addiction paid for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)


The Subscription Box: Curology

The Cost: $19.95 per month + free shipping (prescription medication ships once every three months but you can request to receive it earlier at no additional cost)

COUPON: Get your first month free! No coupon needed, just click here.

The Products: Acne or Anti-aging prescription medication cream sent every three months + access to your dermatologist at all times

Ships to: Curology providers are licensed in the following US states listed here.

Check out the Beauty Subscription Box Directory and make sure to add Curology to your subscription list or wishlist!


Upon signing up for Curology you'll be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your skin and skincare needs. Next, upload photos of your bare face so your provider can assess the skin and determine the appropriate medications.

Curology uses multiple active ingredients, but each person gets a combination of three. This combo is determined by your provider.


The shipment comes with a little fold-out card containing some useful instructions.


The prescription medication arrives in the mail once every three months. Like I stated above, you can request to receive it earlier at no additional cost. The bottle with the mint colored label is my very first bottle. My newest bottle has a black label.


The bottle lists your name, your provider's name, three active ingredients, and the expiration date. To be clear, the active ingredients and percentages differ for each person. Since my medication is targeted at reducing acne and hyperpigmentation, my bottle contains 4% azelaic acid, 1% clindamycin, and 4% niacinamide. More information on the ingredients can be found on Curology's website.

Before my new bottle shipped, my provider and I determined via Curology's messaging system that the current ingredients were fine as is, so we kept the same formulation. That said, you are able to tweak the ingredients for the next bottle if you discuss it with your provider!


Since the bottles are opaque, one trick I learned from Curology was to shine my phone flashlight up the underside of the bottle to see how much medication is left. Since the bottle is a hygienic airless pump, you can see the cream slowly rise to the top as time goes on.

The photo on the left is my first bottle. As you can see, it is close to empty. The photo on the right is my new 3-month supply. This is what the bottle looks like when it's full.


The medication is a white cream with light-to-medium consistency. Just a single pump is enough to cover my face. It feels a little tacky at first but dries down to a comfortable finish when fully absorbed. It has a mild medicinal scent that fades quickly.



Since my medication targets acne and stuff, it's only fair that I show some before and after photos. It takes a while to muster the courage to show my face, much less blotchy bare skin, but here you go (ahhhhh!)! My bathroom lighting magnifies every imperfection, which, while unattractive, is useful for the purpose of this review. Of course, there are still improvements to be made, but I'm loving the progress.

Overall, I've seen a dramatic decrease in large pimples and tiny, annoying whiteheads. I used to get angry pimples every week. Now it's only one every few months. I have issues with acne scarring and hyperpigmentation but the medication has ameliorated much of that too. In the span of around three months, my skin has become smoother and less splotchy. Before, I didn't feel comfortable going anywhere without high-coverage makeup. Now, I can leave home with minimal makeup and not feel too anxious! It's nice to feel confident in your own skin.

Verdict: I love Curology. It singlehandedly tackled acne issues in the span of months when other acne treatment systems could not do so for years (I'm looking at you, Proactiv). If you see a dermatologist, all of this may be very obvious or redundant to you. But, if you're like me and don't have a regular provider, Curology is both convenient and effective. I can't attest to their anti-aging ingredients, but I absolutely love their anti-acne benefits!

I'm not claiming this is the "end all and be all" miracle solution to your skincare problems, but Curology is a great place to start. You receive one bottle of medication every three months, so it's the equivalent of paying around $60 for a bottle. However, compared to other things I have tried in the past, this is a great deal. I also appreciate that it's easy to talk to my provider through their direct messaging system not only about medications but also about any skincare-related topics.

If you are interested in signing up, check here to make sure Curology is available in your state.

Do you subscribe to Curology?

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Curology (starts at $19.95/month) is a health and wellness subscription that offers personalized skincare formulas prescribed by medical providers. No matter your skin type, Curology will work with you to understand your skin’s history and condition, and provide a powerful formulation tailored to yo... read more.
Nancy Su
Nancy Su
Nancy began her subscription box adventure in 2014 and never looked back. She loves Asian beauty and is constantly in search of skincare holy grails. She hoards lipsticks. Her favorites are beauty, lifestyle, and jewelry subscriptions.

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I’m finding mine now, Nancy

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I just ordered this afternoon, and they’ve already shipped out my product! (First month was free.) I love all the detailed information from my provider about why they picked my particular blend and other products to try (even included some links) and to avoid (like not to use anything with benzoyl peroxide at the same time).
I’ll try to remember to update on whether the product helps!

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Thanks for reviewing this! I feel like the dermatologists here are sucky so I think I will check this out!

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I’ve read a lot of great results with helping with acne. Which is awesome! Does anyone know how well the formula works on anti-aging? Wrinkles? Dull skin?

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Nancy Su

Sorry I’m not very useful in regards to anti-aging, but maybe you can look into their list of active ingredients (https://curology.com/treatments/ingredients) and see if any sound promising/would work for your skin.

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I’m curious about this myself.

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This is awesome!

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Since I know a derm visit will cost me $$$$$$ (lousy insurance) I think this is a great service. I had a generic retinoid a few years ago and even that was a bit pricey. Plus, if I wanted to go back to the derm for tweaks it would have cost me another office visit.

I read a few blogs re Korean skin care and several of the bloggers use this service. I keep telling myself I’m going to once I use up some other products …. which of course I have so many of that I’ll never be done!! But, I’m getting closer and closer to pulling the trigger.

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Paying cash at the derm costs less than insurance. Just call a derm and tell them you don’t have insurance – “What’s the price for X and Y procedures?” You’ll find it’s cheaper, and the MD is more willing to do a procedure when s/he knows there will be no hassles with the insurance companies.

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I think it depends on where you’re located. A cash derm visit in a larger city like NYC or Las Vegas can be substantially more expensive. A first consult in LV for example is $25 with insurance and $150-$250 without. Of course co-pays vary among insurers. By comparison, in WV a first time derm consult appointment is only $75 without insurance with the same insurance co-pay.


It usually is cheaper with cash….but since I’ve been forced to have crazy insane insurance with a super high deductible I actually try to use it (just in case I have something really big hit my path….at least I’ve used “some” of my deductible). I had good insurance before but had procedures that weren’t covered….the doctor gave a great deal if paying cash.

Red tape always complicates things! 🙂


Long time acne patient here – this looks like an awesome service, especially for people who don’t have access to a quality dermatologist or a good prescription drug plan (my clindamyacin and adapelene are $8/each and derm visits $35 so great insurance). Also tip for anyone else who gets the angry pimples – if they are hormonal Spironolactone is a game changer!! (Coming from someone who also used to NEED foundation to feel confident, now a tinted sunscreen is just fine for an outdoor party!)

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OMG, yes! Spironolactone is amazing! I used to have terrible hormonal acne, mainly on the chin (which is often where hormonal acne will show up). Under the skin bumps that would never go away, and if any did finally break the skin it could take months to clear up. Spironolactone is the only thing that’s worked to clear it up.

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Hey, I was prescribed Spiro two weeks ago at 50 mg. I’ve been in Accutane twice in the span of 10 years, and acne is moderate-severe. How long did it take to work and what dose were/are you on?

So it’s really $60 for a rx (since you only get one bottle every 3 months but you pay $20 a month.) Is that because they will change your bottle for a new one if it’s not working or irritating? If that is the case, it would completely be worth it.

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Nancy Su

Hi~ technically it’s a flat $20/month for the service, but I calculated my own tangible costs at $60 per bottle since I didn’t need a new bottle any faster. However, the monthly fee is all-inclusive so you can ask for earlier shipments for whatever reason at no extra charge (I found it here: https://support.curology.com/article/14).

Curology does say that it takes a while to get noticeable results from your medication at first (since it’s obviously not a miracle drug or anythin’) and they give you pretty good instructions on how to incorporate it into your usual skincare routine. I saw visible results about a month into it. But if you find the medicine irritating then you should inform your provider asap.

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I’ve been using this for a while. You can actually ask for another bottle whenever you want. I usually go through a bottle every two months or so. Additionally, if the prescription needs to be changed, you can talk to the dermatologist at any time (even if you just got a new bottle the week before) and get an adjusted prescription and new bottle.

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If you ask for a new bottle (even if you just recently got a bottle) do you have to pay the $60 again? Or will you still just pay the $20 a month? Just wondering if a new bottle is included in the regular $20/month.


So they bill monthly but in reality its $60 for the actual product shipment. $60 for 30ml which is just over 1oz of product seems pricey but if it works, it is completely worth the money. I look forward to more reviews on this subscription before committing.

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Kimberly P

This is such a cool concept. When I went to the dermatologist for adult acne, it was about $80 for the visit, $55 for clindamycin phosphate, and $130 for adapalene gel. And this for a one-month supply (that I stretched into 6 months)! And I had to use one of those online discount codes – otherwise it would have been over $100 for the clindamycin and $300 for the adapalene.

Though I stopped the clindamycin after a few months because it irritated my skin, and the adapalene seemed to work well enough on its own.

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I read an article over the weekend that said Differin (which I believe is adapalene) had just been approved for over-the-counter sales. This makes me very happy.

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Amanda M

Yes! The lower strength Differin was just approved to be OTC. I signed up on the Differin website so I would know when/where it will be available. I hope it’s soon!

Kimberly P

That’s awesome! I’ll have to look into that.


The use of long term antibiotics concerns me, and studies show that while it sometimes works in the short term it causes long term problems.

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My husband is a decades-long, daily antibiotics user for acne treatment. I’m talking 25 years, since he was 18. He hadn’t had any ill effects including development of antibiotic resistance. The ones prescribed for acne have been shown to be safe for long term use so far. My youngest daughter takes one now and I feel comfortable with her using it, as did her pediatrician and the derm. Typically the acne antibiotics of choice are less strong than standard types for treating systemic bacterial infections.

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