Dark spot formula - routine guide

Dark spots usually become noticeably lighter after 8-12 weeks of consistent treatment and sun protection, but this varies from person to person. The best thing you can do is to thoroughly read your Treatment Plan and this routine guide. As always, reach out to your provider if you have questions—they’ll be happy to help!

Your recommended dark spot formula routine

The most important thing is to follow your provider’s instructions. For new patients, we typically recommend applying the formula as a limited spot treatment every day, morning and night. Use your fingertips or a cotton swab to apply formula only to the affected areas. In general, fingertips are best for clusters of dark spots or larger patches of hyperpigmentation, while cotton swabs work well if you have just a few small dark spots.

  • Wash with a gentle cleanser. Let your skin dry completely.
  • Use a sunscreen* or moisturizer with at least SPF 30
  • Apply a thin layer of your dark spot formula to dark spots on your face and neck. Leave it on for the day.
  • Wash with a gentle cleanser. Let your skin dry completely.
  • If you’d like, use the Curology moisturizer or a moisturizer of your choice 
  • Apply a thin layer of your dark spot formula to dark spots on your face and neck. Leave it on overnight.

Be careful of your fingernails when applying your dark spot formula (it can cause discoloration!). Avoid applying your formula on your eyelids, or around your eyes, nostrils, and mouth.

*If you’re using a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, apply sunscreen after the dark spot formula. If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, apply sunscreen before the dark spot formula.

What to cut from your routine

As your skin adjusts, try simplifying your routine for a few weeks. This will help reduce the risk of dryness and irritation, which could lead to darker hyperpigmentation. For starters, stop using:

  • AHA (e.g. glycolic acid or lactic acid)
  • BHA (e.g. salicylic acid)
  • Vitamin C
  • Retinols
  • Physical exfoliators (e.g. brushes and scrubs)

If you want to reintroduce these, use your best judgment and do so gradually as tolerated. Learn more about what to do with your current skincare products now that you’ll be using Curology: https://curology.com/guides/skincare/products-and-routine

When should you take breaks from the dark spot formula?

When used long-term, there is a small risk that hydroquinone can lead to permanent discoloration. The best way to avoid this is by taking breaks, so your provider will have you alternate between your dark spot formula and a second custom formula every few months. This new formula won’t contain hydroquinone, but will still be created for your skin goals. We’ll send your formulas to you when it’s time to switch—so no need to plan ahead! Just make sure to start using your new bottle when it arrives, even if there’s still formula left in your old bottle.

This is what your schedule might look like:
  • 3 months: dark spot formula
  • 2 months: alternate formula (which you should start using even if there is still cream left in your first bottle!)
  • 2 months: dark spot formula (we’ll send a fresh bottle)
  • 2 months: alternate formula (we’ll send a fresh bottle)

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