Deskside

We Found the Solution to Your Worst Acne Problems

And it comes from a really hot doctor.

By: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Anna-Alexia Basile

Living in a huge city like New York is pretty harsh on your skin, not only because of the high levels of pollution (seriously, what is floating around in the air out here?!), but because of our insane schedules we can barely find time to wash our face properly, much less visit a dermatologist on the regular. Dr. David Lortscher gets it, and he set out to solve his patients’ skincare woes without the hassle of a doctor’s office. “In most of the country, you have to wait 2-3 months to see a dermatologist, because there are so few of us, and the medications for acne—like Retin-A and clindamycin, that are super effective and safe—are often extremely unaffordable for patients. They were invented decades ago, so theres no reason they should be exorbitantly or prohibitively expensive.” Curology is his solution to all of those problems.

 

The online venture provides access to a team of dermatologists and nurse practitioners, and prescribes and delivers targeted treatments to thousands of users for (wait for it) only $20 a month. The idea came to him after seeing a patient who had suffered from acne for almost 8 years before coming in to see a professional. They were able to achieve results almost immediately, and by the second visit she revealed why she hadn’t considered coming in sooner. “She said that she’d never seen a dermatologist because she thought [it] was for rich people. That sort of stuck with me because it seems like something that everyone should be able to access.” Democratizing beauty is at the core of the company, since patients aren’t required to provide insurance information to receive either the consultation or a prescription treatment. It’s easy as uploading a no-makeup selfie, and in just a few days you have a customized topical cream delivered right to your door.

Dr. Lortscher believes that this type of digital healthcare is the future of his specialty, and hopefully healthcare in general. “This manner of treating people via Telehealth or connective care is going to continue to expand, [and] I think dermatology sort of leads the way. Many dermatologic conditions lend themselves to diagnosis by photograph, [like] acne. We can actually provide better care in some ways using technology. I can talk with my patient every day as opposed to every three months in a typical office setting. We can track progress with photos. There are no barriers in communication.”

 

For millions of twenty-, thirty- and even forty-something women (and men!), acne isn’t just a distant teenage memory, but an annoyingly present concern. Curology’s medical providers recommend a few simple steps to fight adult and hormonal acne in addition to their specialized medication, including diet, proper skincare routine, and type of birth control. “A lot of people don’t realize that the type of birth control they’re on could be exacerbating any skin conditions.” The creams contain a mix of three prescription-strength ingredients, ranging from Azelaic Acid, which fights dark spots and unclogs pores, to Tretinoin, the best ingredient to prevent wrinkles, stimulate collagen growth, AND fight acne. Dr. Lortscher also suggests researching your other skincare products via CosDNA.com. “[It’s] a website where you can check if any of your products have pore-clogging ingredients. You basically put in the name of your product or copy and paste the list of ingredients and make sure that there’s nothing comedogenic.”

 

While there are hundreds of new products released every month within the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry, it’s comforting to know that an actual healthcare professional is the one prescribing your anti-aging and acne cream. We’re all for the thrill of a trial-and-error approach, but it can’t hurt to have an expert weigh in for less than the cost of a monthly phone bill. We had to know if there are any skincare treatments out there that dermatologists wish we didn’t try. He explained that “many of us know that certain types [of] blue light therapy works for acne. I saw somebody in an airport using an app that just turns the screen of your iPhone blue and [was] holding it near their face, hoping that it would help with their skin. It’s just amazing the sort of things that some people put out there and claim as efficacious.” We promise, ordering Curology through your phone is a much more effective way to care for your skin!

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