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Differin Gel vs. Curology

Differin Gel vs. Curology

Differin Gel (adapalene 0.1%) is a topical acne cream containing adapalene as an active ingredient and the only retinoid available OTC for acne treatment. A retinoid is simply a derivative of vitamin A. While Curology is a custom skincare brand that sends you a customized skin care formula for your specific needs. Your formula is developed by skin experts who create personalized treatments for various skin types.

Differin is great for treating occasional breakouts, while Curology focuses on long-term clear skin. If you want to treat current acne with maximum strength (1%-2%), then Differin may be the best option for you. But if you’re looking for a simple regimen that treats both your current acne and the signs of aging, like brown spots, wrinkles, and sun damage, then Curology may be the best thing for you.

Differin Gel targets acne and can be a great option for certain people. It isn’t necessarily the only treatment someone needs. Many people with regular or sensitive skin find over-the-counter medicines to be too harsh for their skin or don’t need such a strong formula. On the other end, Curology is unique in that it is customized to the person’s person’s specific skincare needs. You give one of their dermatology providers your health info, upload a selfie, and they prescribe something that will meet your unique needs with an understanding of your skin.

How Curology Works

Curology is a skincare service that offers a customized base cream with one or more specialized products mixed to help you achieve better skin. To get started, you fill out an online form and send in photos of your skin. A dermatologist will evaluate your photos and formulate a skincare serum with the ingredients that are best suited to treat your skin’s needs.

The base serum is designed to treat acne. It also has other ingredients that treat wrinkles, redness, and hyperpigmentation. The prescription cream is shipped out every 30 days for $19.95 per month. There is no initial fee for signing up for Curology, but there is a $4.95 fee if you decide to cancel your subscription.

Differin Gel vs. Curology


The Curology formula is customized by an expert provider to treat your unique skin care needs. For acne treatment, they use prescription-strength ingredients, including niacinamide, clindamycin, and tretinoin. It’s available as either a cream or gel, some come with a moisturizer others don’t. Curology is a skincare company that offers customized prescriptions for acne and anti-aging right to your doorstep.

How Differin Gel works

Differin Gel is an acne treatment approved by dermatologists to be used in treating acne. It works by unclogging pores and helping prevent new acne blemishes. This acne treatment is ideal if your main goal is to get rid of acne however people with extremely sensitive skin should not use Differin.

The Differin gel is retinol so it can cause skin breakouts. It will clear up in about a month after consistent use. It’s good for oily, combination, and normal skin types. Give it time before you deem it as bad.

Differin Gel vs. Curology

Differin Gel

Is Curology Consultation Services Time Consuming

You will be in for a surprise if you expect to spend a whole hour with the dermatologist. You only need 10 minutes with a skin care virtual consultant and your skincare needs will be addressed. You’ll learn the most about your skin, acne, and treatment during the session. You can ask questions at any time and receive support from your dermatologist throughout the treatment process. Curology dermatologists are available 24/7 and always free to contact—no appointment necessary

After they receive your questionnaire and photos, they get a board-certified dermatologist to look at those materials, and then a prescription skincare formula will be created based on your skin type and concerns.

With just a quick visit to your profile in the app, you can check on how your skin is doing and get help if there’s an issue. You’ll have access to Curology’s full suite through your monthly membership, which includes unlimited virtual consultations, daily product recommendations, and discounts on additional products you may want to try.

Common Ingredients of Curology

The commonly used active ingredients in Curology for treating acne are (azelaic acid, niacinamide, tretinoin, and zinc pyrithione ); it can take up to 12 weeks to show noticeable results when used continuously. However, this is bound to change if a customer is allergic to an ingredient since it’s custom-made.

Niacinamide: regulates sebum production, prevents collagen breakdown, inhibits melanin formation, and protects skin against UV-induced damage

Zinc Pyrithione is an antifungal and antibacterial ingredient that prevents acne from forming in the first place.

Azelaic acid: is a naturally occurring substance that helps fight bacteria and control the overproduction of cells, which can block pores. Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that is derived from rye, barley, and wheat or produced synthetically.

Tretinoin: is the active derivative of vitamin A and helps to speed the rate at which skin cell turnover occurs and unclog pores. Which helps decrease breakouts and signs of aging such as wrinkles, sunspots, and fine lines.

Common Ingredients of Differin Gel

The Differin Gel contains Adapalene, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Poloxamer 182, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer Homopolymer Type A, and Edetate Disodium. These 

are only some of the known ingredients in Differin gel. There are also other unlisted ones that may or may not cause allergic reactions.

Adapalene: The active ingredient in Differin Gel, helps the skin renew itself.

Benzoic acid: Differin Gel is formulated with this ingredient, to help make sure that when you stop using it you don’t experience rebound acne.

Polaxamer 182: This synthetic polymer ingredient is used to help create a smooth application.

Propylene Glycol: This humectant helps promote skin hydration.

Carbomer Homopolymer Type A: This ingredient helps to adjust the thickness or viscosity.

Edetate Disodium: This salt is an effective stabilizer.

Differin Gel vs. Curology

Reading through this article you can see that both Differin gel and Curology have their own set of pros and cons that they bring along with them. The price, performance, and experience are just three factors that you should consider when trying to make your mind up.

Both products have shown results, so you can’t really go wrong no matter which one you end up choosing. The major difference is that while Differin gel is an over-the-counter cream, Curology is custom-made. Differin gel is similar to Curology in that they are both used to treat and prevent acne.