AHA & BHA recommendations
AHA is an abbreviation for alpha hydroxy acid. The most commonly used AHAs in skincare are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Some good choices for AHA products include:
- Pixi Glow Tonic
- Derma-E Overnight Peel with alpha hydroxy acids
- Skinceuticals C + AHA serum
BHA is an abbreviation for beta hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid, a commonly used ingredient in skincare, is a BHA.
Some good choices for BHA products include:
Should I use an AHA or BHA product?
If you’re consistently using your Curology medication as directed, there’s no need to use any other medicated products. However, if you enjoy using any of these products, it’s generally okay to continue using it with Curology after your skin adjusts to your formula. If your skin feels irritated, we recommended that you temporarily stop using the AHA or BHA product. As your skin adjusts, you may be able to gradually re-introduce the product.
It's important that you find a cleanser that doesn't irritate your skin. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser
- Vanicream Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser
- CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (this is great for oily skin and for removing makeup)
Want to take the guesswork out of choosing a cleanser? Upgrade to the bundled Curology set, which includes our cleanser & moisturizer (formulated to be a simple & effective part of any routine) alongside your custom formula. A full routine shipped right to your door.
It's okay to use a different cleanser as long as it isn't irritating your skin.
Acne cleansers or scrubs that contain benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA, such as glycolic acid or lactic acid), or a beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) are helpful, but they may cause some irritation. If your cleanser has one of these ingredients, we recommend switching to a gentle cleanser for 2-3 weeks until your skin has adjusted to your Curology medication.
Some people prefer to simply rinse their face with water and no cleanser. This is fine, especially for people with sensitive skin — it's not necessary to use a cleanser every time you wash your face.
Avoid cleansing your face with hand soaps (like SoftSoap), body washes, and harsh bar soaps (like Ivory, Dial, and Irish Spring).
For all the details, check out our Cleansers Guide.
If you are experiencing any dryness or irritation, adding a moisturizer to your routine can be a great way to soothe your skin.
Here are a few we love:
- EltaMD AM Therapy
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream (for dry skin)
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel (for oily skin)
Want to take the guesswork out of choosing a moisturizer? Upgrade to our bundled Curology set, which includes our cleanser & allows you to choose between our moisturizer and our rich moisturizer (all 3 have been formulated to be an effective and non-pore clogging part of any routine) alongside your custom formula. A full routine, shipped right to your door.
You can apply moisturizer in the morning and a few minutes before or after you apply your Curology medication in the evening.
If your medication contains tretinoin, we recommend using a moisturizer once or twice daily. If your medication does not contain tretinoin or if you have oily skin, a moisturizer is optional.
For all the details, check out our Moisturizers Guide.
To keep your skin looking young and healthy, we recommend using a daily sunscreen, moisturizer, or makeup with at least SPF 30.
There are lots of excellent options, and which sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal preference.
Some of our favorite physical sunscreens
By deflecting or blocking the sun's rays, physical sunscreens provide excellent protection. Examples include:
Some of our favorite chemical sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays to protect the skin and provide a cosmetically elegant feel and finish. Examples include:
- Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control SPF 30
- Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with Helioplex SPF 50
Learn more about the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens (and sunscreens in general) on our blog and by checking out our sunscreen guide.
Body wash recommendations
You may want to use a body wash with active acne-fighting ingredients if you’re looking to help prevent and treat body acne.
Here are some of our favorite products:
Want to take the guesswork out of choosing a body wash? Upgrade to the Curology acne body wash. This is a body wash that’s tough on acne yet gentle enough to use every day. The key ingredient is salicylic acid, which cleanses pores of acne-causing gunk, from old skin cells to dirt and oil. Our perfectly calibrated 2% formula does the job without tending to irritate healthy skin. It goes on smooth and leaves skin feeling clean and soft!
Hydrocolloid bandage recommendations
For larger inflamed lesions that need to heal, you can cover them with a hydrocolloid bandage overnight (or up to 24 hours) to help draw out the contents and speed healing. It can also help to prevent you from touching the lesion!
Here are some of our favorite products:
Want to take the guesswork out of choosing a spot patch? Upgrade to Curology’s emergency spot patches, which come in the form of a semi-transparent sticker dot. These little dots are in fact hydrocolloid bandages, an absorbent material that draws out oil and pus while maintaining a moist environment to encourage healing. Our spot patch is great for emergencies, but for long-term treatment, rely on your custom Curology formula to help meet your skin goals. Always apply spot patch first, custom cream second.