Curology: The Online Dermatologist

Kamran Yunus/Staff Illustrator

Miguel Rodriguez
Staff Writer

For many of us, our looks are important. Generally, any problems people have with blemishes can be fixed through makeup, various creams and, if necessary, a visit to the dermatologist. Dermatology is the study of the skin, hair, nails and their diseases, and as such encompasses anything from acne to potential skin cancer, and of course treatment of blemishes. However, for various reasons, some people can’t visit a dermatologist.

Enter Curology, a website designed to provide people with a direct link to a dermatologist while eliminating face-to-face contact. Led by a board-certified dermatology team of nine, Curology looks promising. A subscription to Curology is paid via credit card and costs $19.95 per month. This website is a relatively new idea and, being such a drastic change from the norm, comes with new problems and advantages.

On the plus side, the website is beautifully laid out and easy to navigate. Right off the bat, a first-time user has the option to learn more or get started immediately. One tab shows what the team can treat, another shows what ingredients they use to treat and a third panel explains their “formulations.” The process tab gives an easy-to-follow, four-step walkthrough of what to do.

The user starts by taking a questionnaire to allow the healthcare provider to see their medical history, current skincare regimen and their “skincare goals.” Then, you upload at least three photographs of yourself for the dermatologist to examine. The dermatologist then determines the best mixture of ingredients for your condition and desired results. Lastly, you wait for the personalized medication to arrive by mail and apply as instructed.

With no need for a face-to-face interaction, a Curology appointment avoids the hassle of packing an appointment into your day, waiting months for the next available appointment and traveling outside the comfort of your own home. Each medication is personalized to the user, which can be more effective than an over-the-counter treatment.

On the other hand, Curology does raise some questions: What happens if you already have a regular dermatologist? How effective can it be, with a lack of face-to-face interaction? Is Curology capable of handling what a regular dermatologist can?

These questions and some others can actually be found in their support section. Curology actually admits that, in extreme situations, it is not capable of providing adequate care. For this, they constantly remind you that local dermatologists may be a better option, and they often provide easy-access services to find a local dermatologist.

It seems that Curology, like other services that bypass a face-to-face interaction with doctors, is more for convenience than a replacement. For non-serious afflictions like a very unsightly zit, Curology is much more effective, and quite possibly a more pleasant experience than physically going for a checkup. However, nothing can quite replace having a trained professional give you a once-over in person.