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  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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How to change your Curology formula

As your skincare needs change over time, your Curology provider can help you adjust your personalized formula.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
A Set of Cosmetic Products
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article



  • Finding a formula that works for your skin type isn’t always straightforward, especially if it’s your first time looking for one.

  • You may notice improvements in your skin by week 6-8 upon starting a new skincare regimen.

  • You shouldn’t expect to see immediate results upon beginning to use a new skin formula.

  • You may reach out to your licensed dermatology provider to discuss adjusting your formula to help you achieve your new skin goals.

  • You should apply your formula nightly or as instructed by your dermatology provider for desired results.

When you sign up for Curology, our hope is that your first personalized prescription formula will be the perfect match for your skin. But when it comes to skincare (or really anything else), you don’t always find the perfect match on your first try. So don’t panic if that’s the case! If your first formula isn’t right for you, we’ll work with you until we find one that helps you achieve both your short and long-term skin goals.

If you don’t notice any improvements by week 6-8, we recommend you chat with your dermatology provider about potentially changing your formula or trying a new approach.

And, even if your formula is working, there’s always room to adjust it to achieve better results. For instance, if your current formula is helping clear up your acne but you’re looking to tackle additional skin concerns, such as fine lines, you can always talk to your dermatology provider about adjusting your formula to achieve your new skin goals.

Whatever changes you’d like to make, our licensed dermatology providers are here to discuss your options with you.

What to expect in your first 6 weeks of Curology

No two skin journeys are alike, especially in the first few weeks of a new routine. Some Curology patients meet their match in the first week, while others may need to navigate some bumps in the road before they see results — and that’s totally normal. Some patients may adore their results and decide 6 months into their journey that they want to adjust their ingredients as new skin goals come up. At any point in your journey, your provider is here to help you adjust your formula .

But before you shake things up, it’s important you give your current formula a chance to experience its full potential. Doing so may help you determine whether you’ll continue to achieve better results with time.

If you’re less than 6 weeks into your current formula and are already thinking of exploring a change, we recommend you take the following measures first.

For one, you should give your personalized formula time to experience its full potential. Though some people may see significant changes after only a few weeks of using their skincare formula, that isn’t the case for everyone. So you shouldn't give up on your formula just because you don't see results as quickly as you’d hoped. Give your skin at least 6 weeks to adjust to your prescription.¹

And stick with it! Use your formula as prescribed by your licensed dermatology provider. Applying it less often or more often than was prescribed by your dermatology provider may result in undesirable results.

It may take some time to adjust to your prescription; irritation can be normal when adjusting to topical acne medication. Whether you’ve got mild irritation, drying, or a temporary increase in breakouts, try easing into your treatment with our pro tips for reducing irritation and reach out to your licensed dermatology provider to let them know what you’re experiencing so that they can offer advice and adjust your formula if needed.

Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your routine simple when adjusting to a new topical prescription. Consider keeping your routine to your personalized prescription formula(s), plus a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen*. Beyond that, additional products could do more harm than good by irritating or drying out your skin. We also recommend you check your skincare products to make sure they aren’t clogging your pores.

If you’ve tried these things and you’re still not seeing the results you’d hoped for, you can always talk to your dermatology provider about a formula change.

How to have the talk

Your dermatology provider prescribed your first formula based on what they learned from your skin survey, medical history, and photos, but it can be difficult to predict exactly how your skin will respond. Your skin may need something a little stronger, or a bit gentler — and the more you tell your provider about what’s going on, the easier it is to tweak your formula to help meet your goals.

Pictures can be worth a thousand words. So first, snap some new makeup-free selfies, and make sure you answer the following five questions in your message to your provider:

  1. How’s your skin reacting to your formula? Any dryness, irritation, or increased oiliness? Be as detailed as possible when describing how your skin is reacting to your current formula. Every detail matters—the information you deem unimportant may be the key to helping you attain your skin goals.

  2. How long have you been using your formula? And how often? (For example: nightly, every other night, whenever you remember—your provider won’t judge!) Are you true to your formula or do you occasionally add other skin products to your routine?

  3. What does your skincare routine look like? List out the full names of the products in your routine —or line up the products in your routine for a quick, clear photo. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you check the ingredients in your products to make sure they aren’t considered pore-clogging.²

  4. Can you think of any potential breakout triggers that might be contributing to your acne? Let your provider know if you think there’s a chance that hormonal changes, stress, diet, or other medications in your life might play a role.

  5. Is this your first formula, or have you previously tried other formulas or ingredients? As mentioned earlier, if this is your first formula, it’s difficult to predict how your skin will respond. However, if you’ve previously tried other formulas, you may have a rough idea of what works (and doesn’t work) for you. Bring your dermatology provider up to speed on your previous formulas and how your skin responded to them. That way, they can either make tweaks to a formula that showed some promise to improve its effectiveness or prescribe a new formula tailored to address your skin concerns.

What happens after you tell us about your skin concerns?

After trusting us with your information and sending us photos of your skin, what next?

Our licensed dermatology providers understand that factors such as excess oil, bacteria, an overload of stress hormones, and even the ingredients in the skincare products you use may be contributing to breakouts. With this in mind, they will evaluate your information and photos and work with you to prescribe a personalized formula that targets your skin concerns to help restore order in your skin.

Your Curology personalized prescription formula combines up to 3 clinically proven active ingredients to target your skin concerns. And while it may not produce instant results, you may start seeing some improvements by weeks 6-8.

Taking it to the next level: Formula changes after 6+ weeks

As much as we wish there was some magical formula that’d instantly cure your skin, there isn’t one. Once you find a formula that works, stay true to it. Resist the temptation to stop using your Curology formula once your skin clears out—doing so may result in your old acne returning. Instead, continue to apply your cream as directed to help keep your skin clear.

Remember, keeping your skin healthy is like going to the gym. You’ll need to put in the effort and be consistent to achieve positive changes in your body. This means you need to continue to apply your cream nightly or as recommended by your dermatology provider. You may find yourself seeing results above and beyond your expectations— after acne heals, most people continue to see improvement in hyperpigmentation, redness, and texture, which can take longer to clear up.

But it doesn’t need to stop there. The beauty of long-term relationships is that they grow and change over time. After a few months of treatment, you may decide you’re ready to take on new and more ambitious skin goals! You can always talk to your dermatology provider about tackling new concerns like skin texture, fine lines, or dark spots. Whatever it is you’d like to work on, just ask! We are with you all the way.

Get your personalized Curology formula

Your personalized prescription formula is prescribed to target your skin concerns with non-comedogenic and clinically proven ingredients. The best part is that we’ll deliver your skincare products right to your doorstep. And even if you later want to change your formula, you can count on the Curology team to tailor your new formula to address your new skin concerns.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

curology bottle
curology bottle

Try your personalized Curology formula** and consider our non-prescription products to round out your routine.


Can you change your custom formula’s ingredients?

Yes. You simply need to message your licensed dermatology provider about your new skin concerns. However, we recommend staying true to your current formula for at least six weeks before changing its ingredients.

How often should you apply your custom Curology formula?

You should apply your personalized Curology formula as directed by your dermatology provider. Most Curology formulas are applied nightly. Even so, your provider may recommend you start at a slower pace.

Does Curology provide the same formula to everyone?

Your licensed Curology provider will prescribe a formula containing up to three active ingredients, depending on your skin concerns. Basically, your formula will be customized to address your specific skin concerns.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Rodan, K., et al. Efficacy of a twice-daily, 3-step, over-the-counter skincare regimen for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. (2017, January 4).

  2. Waranuch, N., et al. Safety assessment on comedogenicity of dermatological products containing d-alpha tocopheryl acetate in Asian subjects: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communication. (2021, August 19).

Elise Griffin is a certified physician assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in physician assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in Jacksonville, FL.

**Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

**Restrictions apply. See website for full details and important safety information.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our thoughts on sun protection: *Sunscreen is only one part of UV protection—cute sun hats and shades are also recommended.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

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