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Proactiv, Curology, Hers, Apostrophy, or Lemonaid Health: Which Acne Treatment Is Best for You?

Acne is a serious skin condition that affects a significant portion of the population. About 60 million people in the United States have acne as teenagers, and a surprising 20% of these people continue suffering from acne into adulthood. Unfortunately, while teenage boys seem to have more severe acne cases, adult women tend to suffer from acne more than adult men. According to 2007 data from Science Daily, a little over 35% of women in their 30s still had acne as opposed to 20% of men in the same age range. About 26% of women in their 40s have acne according to the data, and the condition only affects 12% of men in their 40s.

Since it's been proven that acne is a skin condition that can follow people well into adulthood, several products and skin care systems have emerged on the market, promising favorable results. But which dtc anti-acne products are best? Here is a comparison of five major dtc acne fighting brands: Proactive, Curology, Hers, Apostrophy and Lemonaid Health -- to help you determine which skin care system would be best for you.


This skin care treatment has been around since the 1990s and has helped several high school and college students regain their confidence. The Proactiv kit usually contains facial wash, toner and a moisturizing acne treatment. However, there are specialty treatments like moisturizers with sunscreen or facial masks from the brand, as well as makeup products to keep your skin looking great all day long.

Proactiv is known for its benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid content. These ingredients work by cleaning the pores and exfoliating the skin, respectively. However, newer Proactiv products also contain adapalene, which is a form of vitamin A that removes dead skin from pores to prevent blockage.


Curology also has a three-step skin care process for you to follow each day. The second step in the routine is a customized formula that is designed for your skin's specific needs, whether you suffer from acne, clogged pores, wrinkles, skin texture or firmness. Before you get your Curology products, you'll have to take a quiz and send pictures to the medical staff to assess your skin at the beginning and during the treatment process.


If you need a simple skin care routine and want to make sure the products will help clear your breakouts. Hers is a program that offers two steps; one treatment for the morning and one at night. You can meet with a physician for a small fee so the doctor can formulate the best treatment for you. You'll have a follow-up session each time you purchase a refill of your skin care products to see the progress of your skin and reduce the chances of side effects. You can purchase products that are formulated to treat hyperpigmentation and anti-aging, but these items are available for separate purchase on the Hers website, and you can buy them anytime.


Apostrophe is one of the most affordable ways to get the acne treatment you need. To start your consultation, you'll have to pay $20, but this is refunded to you when you purchase your prescription. Apostrophe could be effective if you've tried lots of over-the-counter cleansers, toners and creams but haven't had much luck. You'll pay $90 for a three month supply of topical acne treatment, and between $25 and $90 for a three-month supply of oral medication. According to the website, Apostrophe will eventually introduce acne cleanser to its users. The product will contain benzoyl peroxide to kill and prevent acne bacteria. Apostrophe provides many of the common ingredients used in heavy-duty acne treatments, as well as some substances that can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Lemonaid Health

Lemonaid Health started to grow in popularity for providing affordable and convenient birth control for women. Thousands of women were having the birth control of their choice delivered to them at home in discreet packaging. While the pills are traditionally used to prevent pregnancy, balance a woman's hormones and even get rid of some PMS or PMDD symptoms, birth control pills can improve the skin as well. However, if you're already getting birth control from Lemonaid, you'll have to get a separate prescription for acne products. Topical and oral medications are provided for acne, but you'll have to send in a picture of your skin to the medical team. You'll usually get a response in less than three hours, which means you can start your new skin care regimen the same day as your consultation. You can visit the Lemonaid Health website to make your appointment or download the app so you'll never miss a message from your physician and you'll know when to pick up your medicine from the nearest pharmacy. Lemonaid also provides the option of having your medications mailed to you, so you can get your medical consultation and proper medications in the comfort of your own home.

In addition to acne treatments from Lemonaid Health, you can also receive treatment for other conditions that can sometimes lead to or exacerbate acne. For instance, you can get medications for low thyroid if you've already been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Lemonaid also offers medications for depression and anxiety. It's common for people who have suffered from acne for years to suffer from these mental conditions, so getting medication that treats your acne and balances your moods and emotions can be beneficial.

To sum everything up, here's a tldr (too long didn't read) that highlights the best features of each brand (below). Keep in mind that many of the companies mentioned here are under $100 a month, which is somewhat affordable when it comes to specialized skin care. However, you'll need to purchase the products from the company of your choice on a regular basis for best results:

Proactiv: This service starts at $19.95, depending on whether you receive a 30 or 90 day supply. You don't need a prescription and you get $5 off your introductory box.

Curology: You consultation with a skin care specialist is included in your prescription and shipping is free for 60 day plans. You get the first month free and prescription medications like tretinoin and clindamycin are available if necessary.

Hers: The skin care system has specialized morning and evening routine specifically for treating acne. Your consultation comes with your subscription, so there's a $5 medical fee. Shipping is free and you can also find anti-aging products from Hers, which makes the company more appealing for individuals who suffer from adult acne.

Apostrophy: The consultation only costs $20 and that amount goes toward your medication. This is an affordable option if you want to keep your skin care budget under $100. You can find both oral and topical medications to treat various forms of acne and soon you'll be able to purchase facial cleansers from the website.

Lemonaid Health: Lemonade Health provides quick service. Once you pay the consultation fee and request the medication you need, you'll hear from a doctor within three hours. You'll also find effective acne medications, as well as additional medicines and treatments for related conditions so you can improve your health and the condition of your skin at the same time.

As you likely know, using products that are both gentle and effective can keep your skin looking great while getting rid of breakouts and bacteria without causing dryness. Here's to your (skin) health!