- Answer some questions and upload pics of your bare face
- Consult with dermatologist online, who then prescribes a customized formula
- Receive prescription cream in the mail
- Have perfect skin
Okay, that last step isn’t guaranteed by PocketDerm, but the concept is that your skin will at least improve with access to prescription-strength active ingredients.
NOTE: PocketDerm has rebranded itself as Curology and eliminated the distinction between “Anti-Aging” and “Acne” goals. All ingredients are now fair game for inclusion in your Curology prescription–regardless of whether they’re anti-aging or acne.
PocketDerm originally began with just an Acne program. However, it recently began an Anti-Aging program and I eagerly signed up. The Anti-Aging program focuses on using customizable percentages of tretinoin (i.e., Retin-A) in combination with 4% niacinamide and 5% vitamin C (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate).
PocketDerm puts a dermatologist within logistical and financial reach for many people. At $49.95 every 90 days, it is more affordable and convenient than seeing my regular derm, who’s all the way across town. The cost covers a 90-day supply of prescription cream shipped from a compounding pharmacy and unlimited online communication with your assigned dermatologist. Before your next shipment, you can upload more pics and chat with the derm about your progress, who can tweak your formula by upping or lowering the percentage of tretinoin.
(The acne program is $19.95 a month
, and the cost covers a monthly supply.) September 2015 Edit: The supply is a 90-day supply (30 ml, same size as the Anti-Aging program). Not sure why PocketDerm did a monthly charge for acne vs. tri-monthly for aging, perhaps due to expecting more frequent consultation and formula tweaking when dealing with acne, which has many possible causes?
So what is my initial review? Well, let’s go step by step:
1. Answer some questions and upload pics of your bare face
Easy peasy! I uploaded some photos from my iPhone on the website. I also answered a few questions, including about my past experience with OTC and prescription retinoids. I expressed that my concerns are leftover red spots from acne, brown sunspots, and developing fine lines.
Here’s my “Before” photo, taken on Day 1 of using PocketDerm.
2. Consult with dermatologist online, who then prescribes a customized formula
I was assigned to Dr. Nancy Satur. She prescribed a formula with 0.08% tretinoin. She started me off at a relatively higher percentage because I had been using OTC retinol for a while with no irritation and had used Retin-A Micro (0.04% tretinoin) before that. (You can also request a specific prescription, such as Retin-A Micro, to fill at your own pharmacy, but I liked the idea of having a formula with niacinamide and vitamin C built in.)
Response times are pretty quick. My longest wait was a little over a day for my initial consult, but Dr. Satur had a long, detailed response and subsequent response times have been in less than a day.
Dr. Satur was surprisingly attentive and provided some detailed advice regarding hormonal (birth control) options that improve acne and also answered questions about how to incorporate PocketDerm into my routine.
3. Receive prescription cream in the mail
I received 10 ml of my customized formula 6 business days after it shipped (PocketDerm estimated 3-5 business days). The cream is packaged in a sturdy frosted plastic bottle with an easy-to-control pump. (Update: FYI, I received only 10 ml in my first shipment because I used a code for a free 30-day supply of the Anti-Aging formula. The regular amount is 30 ml shipped every 90 days.)
After applying toner and a hyaluronic acid serum, I wait 5 minutes and then apply 2 to 3 pumps (each pump is maybe a pea or smaller). The cream is very light and sinks in quickly and completely like a serum. I actually prefer this texture to Retin-A Micro, which feels heavier. It’s lightly moisturizing, but I always apply a moisturizer 3 minutes after PocketDerm.
FYI, the inactive ingredients are: water, glycerin, aloe vera leaf juice, PEG-100 myristate, sweet almond seed oil, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, tocopheryl acetate.
4. Have perfect skin
Still in progress! 😉 I’ve only used my PocketDerm for a week, applying every other night. I’ve experienced some light flaking around my nose and chin. Wearing foundation exacerbates flakiness, so I’ve been going lighter on my makeup routine. I’ll report back after more time using PocketDerm.
Interested in trying Curology (PocketDerm’s new name)? If you use my referral link, you can get a free month or 30-day supply (and I will receive a $10 credit if you sign up). If you’d prefer not to use the referral link, go to the normal homepage at https://curology.com/.