Skin not improving yet?

When treating acne and skin aging, dedication and patience are key.

While some members see results right away, it takes some time and patience for most of us to start seeing results.

When treating acne, we can't judge how a person is responding to prescription treatment until at least 6-8 weeks have passed (although most see improvement within the first 4-6 weeks). Treatment is an ongoing process with gradual improvement (and some setbacks) until the tendency to break out has passed. Note that this improvement period can vary greatly.

For skin aging prevention and treatment, some (but not all!) members have a bit of an adjustment period. Even after your skin has adjusted, it’s only after months of regular use (along with daily sunscreen) that most members see benefits.

There is, of course, a broad spectrum of results that may happen — from dramatic change within a few weeks, to very subtle change after a year. We’ve seen it all.

If it’s been 6-8 weeks without improvement, be sure to message your dermatology provider so that they can help make any necessary changes.

When beginning prescription treatment, some acne patients (and even some patients without pre-existing acne) may go through a “purging” period, where new acne appears. Your skin is likely adjusting to the medication - this may occur not just with Curology, but with prescriptions, you may receive from your local dermatologist, and, also, at times, with over-the-counter products with active ingredients.  

What’s purging? Why does my skin look worse?

Certain prescription ingredients like tretinoin and azelaic acid work partly by unclogging pores and this can mean an adjustment period for the skin, when you may see “initial breakouts” or “purging.” The pores are getting cleared out, and the skin cells are sloughing off as they should, but this can lead to these temporary breakouts.

You might see anything from small, superficial bumps to deep, inflamed pimples. It usually starts 1-2 weeks after beginning treatment with one of these ingredients, and it can last up to 8 weeks, but not to worry — once your skin adjusts, you should start seeing improvement! As this can take time, patience is key.

How to manage purging breakouts

  • Apply your cream every other night while your skin is adjusting
  • Use a gentle cleanser. Avoid anything irritating, like exfoliants (physical scrubs or chemical).
  • Make sure your skin is completely dry after cleansing before applying your Curology medication. This could mean waiting up to 20 minutes.
  • Apply a gentle moisturizer after your Curology medication (or even before your Curology medication, if you’re experiencing any dryness or irritation!).
  • If your acne is still getting worse, be sure to contact your medical provider. They are there to help you!

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