proactiv vs curology

Proactiv vs. Curology: The Cheaper Acne Treatment is?

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Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Proactiv vs. Curology? Well, let’s start with this…

Although acne is an extremely common skin condition, it can be difficult to live with. Acne can have a devastating impact on your self-esteem and confidence levels. That’s why it’s essential to find an effective, clinically-proven treatment that really works.

Proactiv and Curology are both acne treatments that are backed up by real science. If you want clearer skin, but you’re not sure which product line is right for you, you’ll want to take the time to compare both options.

Proactiv vs. Curology: Acne Treatment Comparison


proactiv products

Proactiv takes a multi-faceted approach to treating acne. Instead of offering one type of treatment, they have three different treatments:

  • Proactiv: This is Proactiv’s original three-step treatment. It’s specifically designed to clear up skin and keep new breakouts from forming.
  • Proactiv MD: This line allows you to get prescription-strength products without visiting a dermatologist. This line includes a cleanser, a moisturizer, and SPF.
  • Proactiv+: This line utilizes Proactiv’s Smart Target technology, allowing it to deliver benzoyl peroxide directly to the skin’s pores. It’s designed to brighten and balance the skin.

When you sign up for Proactiv, you’ll be asked questions about your skin and its unique needs. From there, you’ll receive a recommendation for a product line so that you can find a solution that will give you the results you want.

See the full Proactiv product line at their website.



Curology members receive a custom formula that is created for you by a dermatologist. The formula will contain potent, prescription-strength ingredients that you can’t find on store shelves. In addition to your formula, you have the option of purchasing a cleanser and moisturizer through Curology. You can periodically consult with a dermatologist and have your skincare formula changed.

Both Proactiv and Curology use effective ingredients that can give you clearer, healthier-looking skin. However, because Proactiv has three different lines, it’s better suited to address a range of skincare needs. Whether you’re dealing with teenage acne or are struggling with acne and anti-aging concerns at the same time, Proactiv offers a well-rounded solution for your skin.

In addition, because Proactiv always gives you a full line of products, you won’t have to worry about finding other products that work for your skin. When you choose Proactiv, you won’t have to mix and match. You’ll have a full skincare routine, which means you can start working towards clear and healthy skin.

Ingredient Comparison

Both Proactiv and Curology are successful treatments because of the high-quality, clinically-proven ingredients that they contain.

Key ingredients that Proactiv uses include:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient can get rid of acne-causing bacteria, which can keep new breakouts from forming. Studies show that it is one of the safest and most effective acne-fighting ingredients [1].
  • Salicylic Acid: This ingredient is able to unclog your pores and exfoliate your skin. It can get rid of dull-looking skin and reveal the clear layer of skin underneath. It’s especially effective when used alongside benzoyl peroxide.
  • Adapalene: Also known as Differin, Adapalene is a topical retinoid. It’s able to decrease swelling and inflammation and encourage the growth of new skin cells. Not only is it a powerful acne-fighting ingredient, but it can also fight the signs of aging [2].
  • Avobenzone: This ingredient is typically found in sunscreens. It is able to absorb the full spectrum of UV rays. It can protect your skin from the sun, allowing your acne to heal.
  • Octisalate: This UV-ray fighting ingredient can help to protect your skin, but it can also keep sunscreen from leaving a white cast on your face.

Key ingredients Curology uses include:

  • Clindamycin: This is a topical antibiotic that can also kill acne-causing bacteria. It can also slow the growth of new bacteria.
  • Azelaic acid: This is a type of medication known as a dicarboxylic acid. It treats redness and can decrease the production of keratin, a natural substance that can cause acne to form.
  • Tretinoin: Like adapalene, this is a retinoid. It can clear acne and reduce the appearance of surface wrinkles on the skin.
  • Niacinamide: This is a topical form of vitamin b3. It reduces inflammation, which can help the skin to heal from acne. It can also give you brighter, healthier-looking skin.
  • Metronidazole: This antibiotic is used to stop the growth of bacteria and parasites, which means it’s an effective way to fight acne. It can also help people with fungal infections clear up their skin.

Price Comparison: Which Acne-Fighter is Cheaper?

The cost of Proactiv varies based on the system you choose. The original Proactiv Solution starts at $19.95 per month, while costs for ProactivMD and Proactiv+ start at $24.95 a month. No matter what system you choose, you’ll receive three products that will help you build a skincare routine.

Curology’s pricing varies based on the number of products you purchase. If you only purchase the bottle containing your custom solution, pricing begins at $19.95 a month. If you choose to purchase the full Curology set, you’ll be charged $59.90 every 60 days, which is equivalent to paying $29.95 per month.

Although the cost difference between Proactiv and Curology isn’t dramatic, it’s clear that Proactiv is the most affordable option. This is especially true if you choose the original Proactiv solution. If you’re trying to find a cost-effective way to deal with your acne, Proactiv is your best choice.

See all of the Proactiv pricing options at their website.

Summary: Which Acne Fighter Works Best?

Both Proactiv and Curology can help you to treat your acne and get clear healthy-looking skin. Both treatments use potent ingredients that are clinically proven to be effective. With that said, it’s clear that Proactiv has a number of advantages over Curology.

Because Proactiv offers three different systems, users can choose a system that reflects the unique needs of their skin. Proactiv provides users with a full skincare routine, which means they won’t have to shop for additional products. Proactiv is also more affordable than Curology.

Our Top Pick? We Recommend Starting with Proactiv…

If you’re looking for a complete skincare solution that will help you fight acne, you can’t go wrong with Proactiv. With a three-step Proactiv system, you’ll be able to see a real difference in your skin.


  3. Read our review of Proactiv for more info