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Curology Skincare Box Review #2 + Coupon – May 2017

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

Curology is a unique prescription skincare subscription service that pairs you with a licensed dermatologist and sends you prescription medication every month, every other month, or every three months. Their products are made in their own lab in San Diego, California.

Curology medication targets acne. 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 defaulted to ship 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.

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

Upon signing up for Curology you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your skin and skincare needs. Then, you can 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 formulation can be changed at your and your provider’s discretion.

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

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

The Subscription Box: Curology

The Cost: Monthly bottle $19.95 + 4.95 shipping or 2-month bottle $39.90 + free shipping ($19.95 a month)

COUPON: Get your first box free! No coupon needed - just use this link.

The Products: Customized prescription skincare delivered to your doorstep + access to your dermatologist at all times

Ships to: Curology is currently licensed in 37 US states.

Check out all of our Curology reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add Curology to your subscription list or wishlist!

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

Each shipment comes with a little fold-out card containing application instructions. It’s easy: simply apply once daily to the whole face before bed. Just two pumps are enough.

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

As of May 2017, Curology subscribers get to pick from 2 plans: the Monthly Bottle or 2-month Bottle. The Monthly Bottle plan is $19.95 a month + $4.95 shipping ($24.90 a month in total), while the 2-month Bottle is $19.95 a month with free shipping.

The bottle on the left is the new bottle under the Monthly plan. The one on the right is my old bottle, which was the 3-month plan (this plan and bottle size have now been retired). The Monthly bottle holds 14 ml (0.47 oz) and the old bottle holds 30 ml (1 oz), so the new plan actually yields a little more volume for the same price.

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

It’s been a little more than a year since I started using Curology. My prescription is 4% azelaic acid, 1% clindamycin, and 4% niacinamide. My formulation has remained the same since day one. Using all the photo data that I uploaded to Curology’s website, I pinpointed several trends in my skin health.

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

First, after comparing progress photos over the past year, I noticed that improvements stagnated at the 6-month mark. More specifically, I had much fewer breakouts per month, but when it happened, it undid a lot of progress. While I certainly had beautiful skin days after the 6-month mark, they would always be ruined by a rare breakout a month later. It’s a pity that I’m so close to being acne-free and yet so far!

Second, I noticed that Curology helped some areas of my face more so than others. For example, I used to have small, painless but annoying whiteheads my forehead. One month of medication later– poof! They all disappeared. My chin area also benefitted in a similar manner. However, my cheeks and jawline never got the hang of it. They continued to get cystic acne on occasion, and when it happened, post-acne hyperpigmentation reappeared.

To my Curology provider’s credit, she mentioned a while back that part of my acne problem may be hormonal. If my flare ups are caused by hormonal imbalances, then no amount of medication would be able to cure it completely. Therefore, my hunt for clear skin requires me to go beyond what Curology medication cream can offer. This leads me to my next point…

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

I had a huge breakout in March, which undid months and months’ worth of nice skin. It might have been caused by stress or bad reaction to a skincare product. Either way, I felt very disheartened and reached out to Jasmin, my provider, for help. She recommended either changing up my prescription (increasing the antibiotic percentage) or adding a zinc pyrithione soap to my routine (which was available on Amazon). I opted for the soap, since upping the antibiotic would have also removed the 4% niacinamide that I really liked. The soap helped immensely with post-breakout damage control, but I have yet to see improvements in preventing future acne.

Curology Skincare Subscription Box - May 2017

So, how does my skin perform in real life conditions? Here’s what it looks like with some basic makeup on. A light-to-medium coverage BB cream is enough to hide most redness and fading acne scars. For example, my forehead looks great! But see the bumpy patches on my cheeks and chin? It’s difficult to hide textured acne bumps and whiteheads. It’s especially hard with my cheeks; blush and bronzer only seem to draw attention to them. My Curology has helped immensely with culling breakouts and painful cystic acne, but the bumpy skin remains.

Verdict: It’s safe to say that Curology has made me more comfortable and confident in my own skin. It’s whittled the frequency of breakouts from a few times monthly to once in a blue moon. It’s improved skin texture and hyperpigmentation. Breakouts take less time to heal, as well.

I also love having my Curology provider around. I’ve never had a dermatologist before signing up for Curology, so she’s been an invaluable resource on this journey. I appreciated that she listened to all my concerns, responded quickly, answered all my questions, and gave me options when it came to medications.

All that being said, after a year’s worth of medication, Curology has only been able to take me 90% of the way to acne-free skin. It may not even be the medication’s fault, to be honest. It may be my skincare routine or it may be hormonal. Whatever the reason, medication cream alone is not enough. For now, I have to figure out how to get to that last 10%.

What do you think of Curology?


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Written by 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.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Curology Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: curology | 14 comments

Comments (14)

  1. I went to school to be an esthetician… Breakouts along the jawline are definitely hormonal, so the doctor was right about that. I also agree with the comments about testing too many products. When it comes to acne + skincare, less is definitely more.

  2. For cystic acne I take Spironolactone and it’s been an absolute game-changer! And unlike antibiotics it’s safe to take long term (as long as you aren’t actively trying to get pregnant).

    • Yes! This medicine is used to treat too high testosterone which causes cystic acne on cheeks and jawline. But you have to watch your potassium intake and really shouldn’t use this without 2 methods of birth control. If pregnant with a boy, it will block the testosterone wash that they are supposed to get. Also, it’s a diuretic (extra testosterone goes down the toilet) so the probability of using the restroom more often goes up. #pharmacist

  3. This needs to be available in Oklahoma. Can you guys at MSA update us in the newsletter when subs that only cater to certain states add new ones to their shipping list?

  4. I took an antibiotic for a few months, and that cleared up my chronic acne like flipping off a light switch. Since then, Curology has been great for maintenance, and has kept the breakouts few, far between, and manageable. If you’ve never gone to an in-person dermatologist, this might be worth a try. The medication I took was generic, had pretty inexpensive copays with my insurance plan, and really worked.

    • Thanks for the info, Jen! I’m hoping for that light switch moment to come to me soon haha.

  5. Hi Nancy. In your other reviews, you also test Korean skin care products. Maybe you are testing too many products on your skin at once.

    • Hey Sharon! That’s a good point. My skin is generally very hardy, and I patch test, so I don’t think it’s a huge factor. There have been two or three reactions before, though :'( It’s a risk I’m willing to take 🙂

      • I was thinking the exact same thing! Sometimes skin can flare up when too many products are introduced at once. .

  6. I signed up for curology about a week ago and I love it so far!!! I’m a little confused about my free trial though and my next shipment. I received my trial bottle on may 24th or 25th and it states that my next shipment will not be until July 3rd! I just cannot see my bottle lasting this lon, as I held it up to the light when I got it, and it is less then half way full. If I run out early, can I get my shipment earlier or being I’m on the trial, do I have to wait? Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

  7. I live in oregon and unfortunately they dont have this in my state, really wish they did

    • I live in Oregon and I had subscribed to Curology recently.

  8. Hi, not sure if your derm suggested this but you might consider certain types of birth control pills, some can keep your hormone levels more balanced than others. And drinking a LOT of water. Most people don’t drink enough water.

    • Hey Jessica! I discussed birth control pills for hormonal acne with the gynecologist, but ultimately chose not to. I’m revisiting the idea though. Good tip on the water! I don’t drink enough 🙂

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