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.
When I signed up for PocketDerm Anti-Aging last November, my main concerns were fine lines, brown sunspots, and red marks left over from long-gone blemishes.
Fast forward to March: I developed a giant honker on my right cheek that didn’t go away and in the subsequent weeks, I increasingly developed more blemishes on my cheeks and jawline, minor at first but recently of the festering, tender-to-the-touch variety.
The original monster eventually flattened after two long months (and is now a dark reddish purple spot). But the rest of my face had turned into a nightmarish game of Whac-A-Mole–and I was losing.
The location and intensity of my breakouts makes me suspect that they’re hormonal. I tried a lot of over-the-counter treatments (benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, salicylic acid), but none produced consistent or impressive results and did nothing to prevent new spots.
Fed up, and 6 months into the Anti-Aging program, I contacted Dr. S and discussed the issues that had popped up (knee slap). After discussing my options, I asked to switch to the Acne program. (Btw, still loving that I can contact Dr. S and upload new photos anytime. She also didn’t just spit out a formula, instead taking into account how my skin handled the Anti-Aging formula and offering helpful information about non-prescription ways of reducing acne and the effects of different birth control options on acne.)
Each PocketDerm Acne formula uses 3 out of 4 possible active ingredients: tretinoin, clindamycin, azelaic acid, and niacinamide. My new prescription contains the first 3 ingredients, but I can’t say how effective it is yet because I just began using it.
Old (Anti-Aging): 0.08% tretinoin, 4% niacinamide, and 5% vitamin C (MAP)
New (Acne): 0.06% tretinoin, 1% clindamycin, and 6% azelaic acid
So my prescription still contains tretinoin, which is anti-aging and anti-acne as it unclogs pores and improves skin texture. In my skin though, I never saw a difference in my (very minor and very occasional until March) breakouts despite using it since November. I wanted to keep it nonetheless for the anti-aging benefits and to preserve some of the progress I’d made in getting accustomed to it. (That initial molting stage…do not want to repeat!)
The clindamycin is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
The azelaic acid is also anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, plus it treats hyperpigmentation and redness.
PocketDerm has fuller explanations of the active ingredients in the Acne formula here.
In switching from Anti-Aging to Acne, I’m losing the niacinamide and vitamin C in my old prescription. However, a fair amount of those ingredients is sprinkled throughout my routine already, and in any case, I hadn’t noticed any improvement to sunspots and old acne marks from those ingredients, so maybe my skin just doesn’t respond to them.
The switch to Acne also means a slight cost increase. Acne is $19.95/month, whereas Anti-Aging is $49.95/3 months. Well worth it if it works.
Stay tuned for an update once I’ve used my new formula for a while, and wish me luck.
Interested in trying Curology? 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/.